Post Author: Bill Pratt
Continuing from part 4, we will now ask further questions of the writers of the New Testament (NT ) documents.
Question 2: Do we have multiple witnesses or just one? The more witnesses, the better, because one person could make a mistake, but if several people are saying the same thing, it’s more convincing.
In the NT, we have 27 books written by 9 eyewitnesses or contemporaries of eyewitnesses. Five of these books contain eyewitness accounts of the resurrected Jesus: Matthew, Mark, John, 1 Corinthians (written by Paul), and 1 Peter. Additionally, Luke based his writings (Gospel of Luke and Acts) on eyewitness testimony.
So, we have at least 6 individuals all telling the same story about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. As Dr. Norman Geisler and Dr. Frank Turek state in their book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, “Six sane, sober eyewitnesses, who refuse to recant their testimony even under threat of death, would convict anyone of anything in a court of law. . . . Such eyewitness testimony yields a verdict that is beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Question 3: Are the eyewitnesses trustworthy? Can we believe what they are reporting? There are several ways to check this out. First, did the witnesses include embarrassing details about themselves in their accounts?
If I was making a story up about myself and my friends, I certainly wouldn’t include embarrassing details about us. Remember, the alleged goal of the apostles was to gain power and wealth by starting a new religion. Making themselves look bad in their written documents would not have been an effective way to get this done, but that is exactly what happened.
They are uncaring when they fall asleep while Jesus is praying in the garden of Gethsemane.
Peter is rebuked by Jesus and even called “Satan” in Mark 8:33.
They are cowards who hide during Jesus’ crucifixion; Peter even denies him three times right after saying he wouldn’t!
They are doubters who, after being taught many times that Jesus would be resurrected, still didn’t believe it when it occurred.
They allowed Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin (the very group that sent Jesus to his death), to bury him instead of burying him themselves. This list could go on and on. Needless to say, the writers of the NT pass this test with flying colors. There are several more points on which we can test the trustworthiness of the NT writers. We will discuss those next!