Why the Gospels Were Written Much Earlier than We Thought

By Misty Callahan

In his book Cold Case Christianity, J. Warner Wallace writes, “As a skeptic, I believed that the Gospels were penned in the second century and were similarly worthless. If they were written that late, they were not eyewitness accounts.”  However, as J. Warner Wallace came to learn (as well as I during my own investigation), there are many reasons to believe that the gospels were written much earlier than the second century. The closer the date of their writing to the actual historical events, the more we can trust them as reliable.

Dinner Among Friends

This past weekend, I was laid up sick as a dog. For whatever reason, between sips of tea and soup, I thought back to a few months ago when I had dinner with a group of friends. During the dinner, one friend gently said to me, “I don’t believe in the Christian gospels because they were written hundreds of years after the events.”

Now, this is an objection that I’ve heard from time to time. Some older schools of thought did, in fact, place the gospel writings at a much later date. In fact, when I was an agnostic, I too, believed that the gospels were written much later even though I didn’t connect the later date with “unreliability”.

When I embarked on my own study of these things I learned that while many respectable skeptics still place the dates of the gospels much later for particular reasons (for example, some say that the gospels are later because none of the writers specifically claim authorship. Others say that the accounts have too many miraculous events and therefore show that they were “corrupted” by myths) many more are turning around on this and placing the gospels a lot earlier than previously thought.

While J. Warner Wallace is very thorough on this subject in his book, Cold Case Christianity, here are just a few of the good reasons to believe that the gospels were written earlier than previously believed…

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