The New Testament: Fact or Fiction?

A Greek Bible open to the well-known passage of John 3:16

The reliability of the New Testament is always under attack from one direction or another. In fact, God’s Word has been questioned from the very beginning. In the garden the serpent asked Eve, “Did God actually say?” Undoubtedly, God’s Word will continue to be under fire until the end of time.

While attacks against Scripture are unending, these attacks have been addressed in the past and continue to be answered. The following links will help you as you consider the reliability of the New Testament.

Which books should be included as a part of the New Testament canon? To put it another way, why are some writings included in the New Testament while others are rejected? 

Consider this article from got questions.org. In a simple and straightforward manner, this article explains how New Testament writings were recognized as Scripture. Of interest, “We believe that God was involved in each step of the process, for why would God go to such lengths to inspire His Word and then not preserve it? Why would He speak to us and then fail to guide us in recognizing His speech?” Read more.

Scott Kellum, a New Testament professor at Southeastern Baptist Seminary, tackles the question of why we have twenty-seven books in the New Testament. He sheds light on reasons that writings like the Gospel of Thomas and others are not included. Of note, Kellum says, “… almost before the ink was dry, the earliest Christians, including leading figures in the church such as the apostles Paul and Peter, considered contemporaneous Christian documents as Scripture on the same level as the OT. From this it is not too difficult to trace the emerging canonical consciousness with regard to the formation of the NT through the writings of the early church fathers in the late first century and early second century. In fact, prior to the year 150, the only NT book that was not named as authentic or not unequivocally cited as authoritative in the extant patristic writings is the tiny book of 3 John.” Read more.

Michael Kruger, president of Reformed Theological Seminary and New Testament professor, provides ten facts about the New Testament that every believer should know. Each of these facts links to an article with more detail. In exploring the possibility that an early church council decided which books to include in the New Testament canon, Kruger says, “The fact of the matter is that when we look into early church history there is no such council.  Sure, there are regional church councils that made declarations about the canon (Laodicea, Hippo, Carthage).   But these regional councils did not just ‘pick’ books they happened to like, but affirmed the books they believed had functioned as foundational documents for the Christian faith.  In other words, these councils were declaring the way things had been, not the way they wanted them to be.”Read more.

Don’t the Gospels contradict each another? How can I believe the New Testament if it can’t keep its own story straight? 

It has been suggested that the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are hopelessly contradictory. The account of the resurrection of Jesus is usually given as a prime example. In the following article, the details of the Gospel accounts of the resurrection are harmonized or placed together to reveal that no true contradiction exists. Consider this, “The gospel accounts of the resurrection are complementary, not contradictory. If the church had conspired in concocting the resurrection, then certainly they would have exercised care in developing very uniform accounts. Instead the resurrection reports provide just what is expected of multiple eyewitness accounts, varied and corroborating details.” Read more.

What does comparing the names of people in the New Testament with the names of people in other ancient works reveal about Scripture’s truthfulness? 

Dr. Peter Williams, warden of Tyndale House at the University of Cambridge, presents new research supporting the truthfulness of Scripture. He compares the number of times that people’s names occur in the New Testament with other ancient works from the New Testament era. This research provides more compelling reasons to believe in the truthfulness of Scripture. While it will take you just over an hour to watch, it will be an hour well spent.

 

What did Jesus believe about the Scriptures? 

Even some who claim to be Christians have lost confidence in the complete truthfulness of Scripture. In this powerful message, Kevin DeYoung, senior pastor at University Reformed Church, considers what Jesus Himself believed and taught about the Scriptures. I believe this message will strengthen your trust in God’s Word and give you a greater desire to read the Bible and be shaped by the God who really has spoken..