The Apostles Wrote the Gospels as Eyewitness Accounts

by J Warner Wallace

When you write a book seeking to evaluate the Gospels as eyewitness accounts, you shouldn’t be surprised to find some critics will attack the premise that the Gospels are eyewitness accounts in the first place. Several skeptics have either emailed me or posted comments questioning whether or not the Gospels are truly eyewitness accounts. After all, the accounts are not written as first-person narratives, and there are no direct statements in the Gospels suggesting they were written by people at the scene. Luke, for example, slips into first-person narrative for portions of his account in the Book of Acts, why don’t the other Gospel authors do something similar when writing their own “eyewitness accounts”? Why don’t these authors simply identify themselves more directly so we can understand their specific role as eyewitnesses? It’s certainly true the authors of the Gospels take a reserved and humble approach to their own identity within the narrative, and this is not uncommon in ancient literature of the time. But there are several good reasons to believe the Gospels are, in fact, eyewitness accounts:

Attributed Statements
The New Testament authors repeatedly referred to themselves as eyewitnesses, even if they did not make overt statements including their names. In the last chapter of John’s Gospel, the author tells us he is testifying and his testimony is true. Language such as this presumes the author has seen something he can describe as eyewitness testimony. In addition, the authors of 1 John and 2 Peter identify themselves as eyewitnesses who directly observed Jesus, and were not inventing clever stories (1 John 1:1,3 and 2 Peter 1:16). While Luke clearly states he is not an eyewitness to the events in his gospel, he does tell us he is relying on the true eyewitnesses for his information (Luke 1:1). These cumulative statements are consistent with the notion the authors of the Gospels saw themselves as eyewitnesses who were recording history…

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The Apostles Wrote the Gospels as Eyewitness Accounts | Cold Case Christianity