Does History Reliably Prove the Bible’s Gospels?

by Sheri Bell

Historical Reliability Confirms the Gospels.

The historical reliability of the Bible can be tested by the same criteria by which all historical documents are tested. The Christian faith, after all, is tied to specific historical events that can be confirmed through multiple sources. It is not, as one critics assert, “just a bunch of made-up stories.”

Donald Hagner, professor emeritus of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, explains the connection between the Christian faith and real historical events this way:

“True Christianity, the Christianity of the New Testament documents, is absolutely dependent on history. At the heart of the New Testament faith is the assertion that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5;19). The incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a real event in time and space, i.e., as historical realities, are the indispensable foundations of the Christian faith. To my mind, then, Christianity is best defined as the recitation of, the celebration of, and the participation in God’s acts in history, which as the New Testament writings emphasize have found their culmination in Jesus Christ.

Three specific tests that scholars, researchers, and archaeologists use to determine a document’s authenticity include the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test. As the original autographs of the New Testament books have not been found, scholars must examine the early handwritten copies of these Scriptures. Do they stand up to the question of “Is this really true?” Or are Christians simply clinging to “blind faith”?

I like what Dr. Steven Collins says in the start of his talk titled “Confirming the Bible Through Archaeology“:

If the realities of the events and the world presented to us on the pages on the Bible didn’t actually occur, then where in the world do we get off on trying to believe and place our lives on the invisible stuff? If you can’t trust the Bible for what you can see and test and dig up, then all of that other stuff, how would you put your trust in that? I don’t think it would be a smart bet to do it!”

In this blog post, let’s look briefly at how the Gospels fit into history: when they were likely written, and some of the historical events, persons, and cultural details that historians trust as verified by external sources…

Does History Reliably Prove the Bible’s Gospels?