<< Previous | Index | Next >>"CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS" Our Dependence Upon The New Testament INTRODUCTION 1. We have seen the evidence from UNBIASED SOURCES that establishes Jesus of Nazareth... a. As a person of history b. Who lived and died in the First Century A.D. 2. But we also pointed out that such sources tell us nothing about... a. Who He was b. What He did ...to earn such a reputation that, centuries later, His teachings and life still has so much influence in our society 3. For the Christian, the only record which describes in any detail the life and death of Jesus is the NEW TESTAMENT a. But as a HISTORICAL DOCUMENT, is it reliable? b. Can we trust it to be accurate in relating facts of history con- cerning Jesus, His life, death and resurrection? c. Can we even have confidence that what we have today in the form of the New Testament is an accurate copy of that penned by the original authors? 4. These are some of the questions we shall attempt to answer as we begin to examine "THE HISTORICAL RELIABILITY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT" [But first, for CHRISTIANS to appreciate the importance of this subject, it may help to demonstrate how dependent our faith is on the reliability of the New Testament as a historical document...] I. WHY DO WE BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD? A. THE "ANSWERS" WE MOST LIKELY WOULD GIVE ARE... 1. "Because of the miracles He did" 2. "Because He fulfilled hundreds of the Messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament" 3. "Because He rose from the dead" B. BUT WHERE DOES ONE LEARN ABOUT THESE THINGS? 1. Where do we read about His miracles? THE NEW TESTAMENT! 2. Who says that He fulfilled the Messianic prophecies? THE AUTHORS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT! 3. What evidence is there for the resurrection of Jesus Christ? AGAIN, IT IS PRIMARILY IN THE NEW TESTAMENT! II. WHAT IF IT WERE SHOWN CONCERNING THE NEW TESTAMENT... A. THAT IT WAS WRITTEN OVER 100 YEARS AFTER THE EVENTS SUPPOSEDLY HAPPENED? 1. Then the New Testament was not written by eyewitnesses, nor by those whose names are connected with it (Paul, Peter, etc.)! 2. It was the general consensus of many scholars in the last century that the New Testament was in fact composed during the Second Century A.D., not the First 3. If such is true, then the New Testament is a FORGERY! B. THAT IT IS FILLED WITH ERRORS IN REFERENCE TO GEOGRAPHY, PEOPLE, AND EVENTS? 1. Then how could we trust the authors of the New Testament to be accurate in describing supernatural events, when they were careless with describing the natural ones? 2. This would make the New Testament an UNRELIABLE RECORD! C. THAT THE MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE IS VERY SCARCE, AND A THOUSAND YEARS REMOVED FROM THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS? 1. Then we would have no way of testing the accuracy of the copyists, who for hundreds of years preserved the New Testament only by making copies by hand 2. Then our faith in Jesus would be based upon shallow ground, upon a document which is historically questionable! III. OUR FAITH IN JESUS IS DEPENDENT ON THE NEW TESTAMENT BEING RELIABLE AS A HISTORICAL DOCUMENT! A. "BLIND FAITH" MAY SEEM ADEQUATE FOR SOME... 1. For children who believe whatever their parents say 2. For people who are never placed in an environment where their faith is challenged (like state universities) 3. For people who are not trying to convince others to trust in Jesus for their salvation B. BUT IF WE DESIRE TO HAVE A "STRONG FAITH" FOR OURSELVES AND OTHERS... 1. Then we need to understand our dependency upon the New Testament 2. We need to know how to demonstrate the evidence which supports it as a reliable, historical document! CONCLUSION 1. Hopefully, we now appreciate the need to carefully examine the evidence for the historical reliability of the New Testament 2. In doing so, we shall apply the same kind of tests applied to any ancient document to determine its reliability! 3. The next study will examine what is the "ACID TEST" for any ancient document claiming to be a historical record of certain events...
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The Executable Outlines Series, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2001
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