Why the Historical Jesus is the Best Starting Place for Apologetics

By Logan Judy

There are myriad apologetic arguments that have been employed for evidential Christian apologetics. But generally speaking, the best starting point out of all them is the Argument for the Historical Jesus.

What is the Argument for the Historical Jesus?

In its simplest form, this argument is claiming that Jesus was a real man, and was not a myth as some atheists claim.  This claim is often paired with the claim that the Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus of history are the same person, not just in reference but in fact, historicity, and substance.  The more substantive form of the argument aims to eventually bring the unbeliever to a point of belief in the Christian faith.  The progression I recommend is as follows:

  1. Jesus of Nazareth was a real person who lived and died in first-century Palestine.
  2. Jesus claimed to be God
  3. Jesus’s claim to be God was founded on his rising from the dead
  4. Evidence, in the Bible as well as outside of it, supports the resurrection of Jesus
  5. Given 1 through 4, Jesus’s claim to be God is supported.

There are other progressions that could be used to arrive at the same conclusion.  However, many of them are not as close to universally applicable as the Argument for the Historical Jesus.  A note to keep in mind: these items do not necessarily apply if your discussion is about theism generally and not Christianity specifically.  But I do believe that when your discussion pertains to Christianity specifically, the historical Jesus is the best approach with most people…

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