2Why do you believe the Bible? Because your parents told you to?Because your friend said so?Because some pastor said so?Because the Bible is true?
3What is the proper basis for your belief in the Bible ? What is the proper basis for ANY belief ?Evidence !!!
4Jury duty and Christian Faith Deciding whether the claim that “the Bible is true” is very much like deciding if someone is guilty of a crimeA jury must hear all evidence and decide if the evidence are trustworthy or not
5Case: Is Jesus the Son of God ? The sign that confirm Jesus is the Son of God is:Jesus’ resurrection from the deathNobody (not even prophets) has done thisMatt 16:4 “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. And there shall no sign be given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”1Co 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is worthless, and your faith is also worthless.
6Types of evidence in a trial Eyewitness testimonyIs the eyewitness reliable ? Biased ?Supporting testimonyCan you find a neutral party to confirm some part of the testimony ?Material evidenceAny clues that say it really happen that way?
7Evidence for Jesus is God The Eyewitness testimonies:Matthew, Mark, Luke and JohnAre they reliable eyewitnesses ?The Supporting testimonies:Jewish and Roman historians confirm many details about events in the BibleThe Material evidence:Archaeological evidence
8Eyewitness Testimonies to Jesus The 4 Gospels:MatthewMarkLukeJohnWhy should you believe any of these gospels ?
9Why believe: accounts are reliable Memories fadePeople who witnessed the event dieThe 4 gospels were written very early after Jesus’ death and resurrection:Mark: around 70 A.D.Matthew: around 80 A.D.Luke: around 80 A.D.John: around 90 A.D.
10An even earlier date for Luke A case can be made to date the Gospel of Luke before 60 AD (30 yrs after Jesus’ death)Gospel of Luke written AFTER ActsActs ENDS without telling us about Paul’s death in 66 ADAct probably written BEFORE Paul’s death in 66 ADGospel of Luke would then be written around 60 AD !
11Even earlier testimonies to Jesus Gospels were all written after Paul's letters !!!Paul's conversion occurred around A.DPaul's first meeting with the apostles in Jerusalem occurred around A.DPaul's ministry probably began in the late 40's ADPaul's letter probably written in the 50's A.D. (20 yrs after Jesus’ death)
12The importance of Time of writing Mark’sgospelJesus’ deathand resurrection30-33 A.D.70 A.D.40 yearsThere are still people ALIVE in 70 A.D. who were alive in A.D.If Mark was lying, he would be corrected for sure (compare to John Kerry’s Purple Heart fairy tale and the Speedboat Veterans’ objection)
13Writing Bible vs Julius Caesar’s bio Jesus diedEarliestSurvivingCopy MarkTacitusCaesar diedMark30 A.D.70 A.D.350 A.D.44 B.C.60 A.D.950 AD40 yrsEarliestSurvivingCopy Tacitus100 yrs
14Writing Bible vs Alexander’s bio Jesus diedEarliestSurvivingCopy Mark323 BCPlutarchAlex diedMark30 AD70 AD350 AD60 AD950 AD40 yrsEarliestSurvivingCopy Plutarch400 yrs !!!
15Why believe the Bible: reliable We have documented proof that the Bible is more reliable than historical documents on kings (Alexander, Julius Caesar):Bible records what has happened after a shorter period time (memory fades)Bible preserves the record for posterity better (that is important because if you lose the writing, the record will not get passed down)In fact: The Bible is the most reliable ancient document that we have today !!!
16Why believe the Bible: authorship Suppose… Just suppose you were to invent Christianity as a new religion…from your own fantasy…Who would you want as writers of the Gospels?Have the most prominent disciples of Jesus write the gospelsPeter, ThomasWell…What do you see in reality ?
17Believing the Bible: authorship Matthew: one of Jesus’ disciples who was a tax collector (a traitor to Jews !)Mark: follower of Peter – he is not even a disciple of Jesus !Luke: follower of Paul – he is not even a Jew (Greek) !!!John: one of Jesus’ disciples – the youngest (inexperienced) disciple of Jesus
18Believing the Bible: authorship If you want to invent a fake religion, you might as well make it look very good by having prominent disciples (like Peter or Thomas) to write the gospelsGreat news: there are gospels that are called:Gospel of ThomasGospel of PeterBad news: these books have been removed from the Bible…
19“Gospel” of Thomas (150 AD) Note the late date of writing (less reliable) !!!Gospel of Thomas is loved by “gnostics”Gnostics emphasized the humanity of JesusA verse from gospel of Thomas:Simon Peter said to them, "Make Mary leave us, for females don't deserve life"Jesus said, "Look, I will guide her to make her male.... For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven"
20“Gospel” of Peter (120 AD)Some verses from this “gospel” (concerning Jesus’ resurrection):...they saw three men come out of the tomb, two of them sustaining the other one, and a cross following after them... The head of the two they saw had heads that reached up to heaven, but the head of him that was led by them went beyond heavenThe resurrected Jesus was HUGE
21Why believe the Bible: content Suppose… Just suppose you were to invent Christianity as a new religion…from your own fantasy…How would you portrait Jesus’ disciples – the founders of the new Christian faith ?As: pure, brave, friendly… like Saints !!!…All the usual good qualities ofcourse – who would want to follow bad examples in life ?What do you see in reality ?
22Why believe the Bible: content How are the disciples described in the Bible…Bickering and backstabbingMat 20:21 And He said to her, What do you desire? She said to Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit in Your kingdom, the one on Your right hand and the other on the left.CowardsEveryone ran away when Jesus was arrestedPeter denied Jesus 3 timesUnbelieving: Thomas !
23Why believe the Bible: content Why are the disciples described in the Bible in such a bad light ???…Because it was the truth(The naked truth is not always pretty and clean !!!)
25Why believe: The Empty Tomb We have historical writing from non-Christians in the Jewish Talmud confirming Jesus’ death by crucifixion on Passover:It is taught: On the eve of Passover they hung Yeshu (Jesus)… in “Talmud Sanhedrin 43a”We have historical writings (many: Paul’s letters, gospels, etc) confirming the apostle’s teaching of Jesus’ resurrection – What can we conclude ?
26Why believe: The Empty Tomb Fact: “Jesus did die” (from non-Bible source)Jesus’ disciples were preaching He has resurrectedSo what’s the best way to make the apostles shut up on their preaching of Jesus’ resurrection ?Show them the dead body of Jesus !!!What did the Jewish Leaders did instead:Matt 28:12-13 …they gave enough silver to the soldiers (who were guarding the tomb), saying, “Say that His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept”.WHY couldn’t they do it ? The Tomb was EMPTY !!!
27Why believe the Bible: Testimonies “Put your money where you mouth is”:Talk is cheap (preaching the gospel is cheap)Are you willing to back up your message with “money” ?Some men are willing to give up their life for a false religion that they believe is trueNO (sane) man is willing to give up his life for a religion that he KNOWS is false !!!If Christian faith is a lie, WHO would know ?
28Why believe the Bible: Testimonies If the Christian faith is a lie, then those who started the Christian religion who know:Jesus’ 11 apostles (Peter, Matthew, John..)Saul of Tarsus (Paul)James (brother of Jesus) who was the head of the Church in JerusalemSo if any one who knows whether the Christian religion is a lie, it would be these people !!!Did they “put their money where their mouth (faith) was” ???
29Why believe the Bible: Testimonies No sane person will die for a religion that they know is a lie:Peter was crucified (head down) in Rome.Paul was decapitated in Rome around 66 A.D.James (the brother of Jesus) was stoned to death in JerusalemWhat is even more amazing:Paul had once persecuted Christians (his own letters)Before Jesus’ resurrection, James did not believe (John 7:5) (Try imagine if you were Jesus’ brother)
30Why believe the Bible: Testimonies All the disciples, Paul and James needed to do to escape death was to deny Jesus !!!Those who denied that they were or had been Christians…these I thought should be discharged – (A letter by Pliny – a Roman governor)Why didn’t they do it ?Matthew 10:33 “But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in Heaven.”If Jesus has not resurrected, they would know !Do you think they believed that Jesus was still dead ?
32Supporting Evidence from Non-Christians A testimony in a trial is strongest when the witness has nothing to gain from the outcomeGospels are testimonies of ChristiansLuckily, we find plenty of supporting evidence from non-Christian historiansNote: these historians did not intend to write about Jesus. They wrote about Jesus because of the Christian movement spawn by Jesus’ resurrection
33Some famous ancient historians Josephus: ( AD), Jewish historianAntiquities: on the Jewish historyWar: on the Jewish-Roman warTacitus: (~110 AD), Roman historianAnnals: History of Rome from begin till 66 ADSuetonius: (~60 AD), Roman historianLives of the Caesars: on Roman emperorsPliny: (~ AD), Roman governorWrote letters to his Emperor and friendBTW: we learn Roman history from writings by Tacitus, Suetonius and Plutarch
34Josephus on Jesus A neutral party confirms: Jewish Historian Josephus (100 AD) on Jesus:Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man…He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles…. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross…A neutral party confirms:Jesus lived (as historical as George Washington !)Pilate livedJesus was crucified
35Josephus on James and Jesus Antiquities, Book 20, Chapter 9Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned...Historical facts (confirms Bible):Jesus lived and had a brother named JamesJesus was called “Christ” (Messiah) by His followers
36Josephus confirms Pilate Antiquities, Book 18 , Chapter 3But now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws.Jewish Historian agrees with the Bible:Mat 27:2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
37Tacitus wrote about Jesus Annals, Book XVConsequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name (Christians) had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.
38Tacitus on Christians Annals, Book XV Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
39Method of taking census confirmed Luke’s description on the census was criticized as inaccurate in the past:Luk 2:1 And it happened in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.Luk 2:3 And all went to be registered, each to his own city.Critics said the way the census was taken was absurd and therefore wrong
40Method of taking census confirmed Archaeology proves Luke right !A papyrus dated around 104 A.D. by C.Vibius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt:The enrollment by household being at hand, it is necessary to notify all who for any cause soever are outside their nomes (administrative divisions of Egypt) to return to their domestic hearths, that they may also accomplish the customary dispensation of enrollment and continue steadfastly in the husbandry that belongs to them.”
41Extreme accuracy of Luke Luke mentioned minor details that was not important in the story; which checks out:Acts 18:2--- There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had been expelled from Italy as a result of Claudius Caesar's order to deport all Jews from Rome.Luke did not even care to tell us WHY they were expelled from Rome… (clearly because it was not important because everyone KNEW why !!!)
42Suetonius corroborates Luke In “Life of Claudius” Suetonius wrote:As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome.Even this small detail CHECKS OUT !!!If Luke was accurate in minor details, how accurate do you think he is with the main story?Luke 1:3 “Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning..”
43Testimony of a former atheist William Ramsay in his book “St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen”:I began with a mind unfavorable to it [Acts]More recently, I found myself often brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor.It was gradually borne in upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth
45Biblical People found by Archaeology Luke 3:1 And in the fifteenth year of the government of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch…TIBERIEUM(PON)TIUS PILATUS(PRAEF)ECTUS IUDA(EAE)
46Biblical People found by Archaeology Act 13:6-7 And when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain conjurer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-jesus; who was with the proconsul of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man.In 1877, an inscription was found near Paphos, bearing Sergius Paulus's name and title of proconsul.
47Stones confirming Biblical events That crucifixion was used by Romans in Jesus’ time to execute criminals
48Closing Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence ofthings not seen.1Peter 3:15 be ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason of the hope in you, with meekness and fearGod did not ask us to have BLIND faithYou have just seen the overwhelmingevidence to know the Bible is factual !!!
49For more information Good book: My website: “The Case for Christ” by Lee StrobelChurch library has a copy of the audio bookMy website:Contains the Powerpoint of this presentation