Can you believe the New Testament?

Introduction


Horror of horrors! Someone had broken into my future parent-in-laws home! The evidence? Simple enough:

My future wife (Lyn is her name) at that time was preparing our wedding in Los Angeles. She had gone shopping with her mom, but as her teeth started to hurt (all her wisdom teeth had been removed two days prior) they came back home earlier than anticipated. The first clue that something was wrong:

My future parent-in-law's bedroom door was open. Generally they kept it closed to refrain complete freedom to their cat.

The second clue:

Lyn found a whole bunch of items the thieves tried to steal collected in her room.

The third clue:

Her bedroom window had been broken.

When the police finally arrived at their home, they found other evidence:

- My mother-in-law's bedroom window was left wide open.

- Her cat was found outside wandering around the house.

- Some jewelry was found missing.

Although the police was unable to find corrobative evidence from the neighbors, they were able to determine the following:

1. The purpose of the break-in was theft.

2. The thieves must have been living in the neighbourhood, as they broke in during the daytime, and seemed to know when anyone was home (they had broken in before).

3. The thieves broke in via Lyn's bedroom window and had planned to leave through that same window, as all items to be stolen had been collected into my future's wife's bedroom.

4. As these items were left behind, it meant that when my mother-in-law and Lyn arrived home, they were still in the house and had to quickly escape through the back of the house, via my parent-in-law's bedroom, in order to avoid detection.

Although there were no first hand witnesses, this scenario seemed the only plausible one.

Just like the police officers were able to come up with this only plausible scenario based on the gathered evidence, we are now going to gather evidence concerning the New Testament, in order for us to come up with a conclusion concerning whether or not the New Testament is reliable.

Just like any historical document, the New Testament should be tested by the same criteria one tests any ancient writings. These tests are like putting a crime scene together, as all the pieces of the puzzle have to fit. If one piece doesn't fit, one faces a problem and needs to consider other plausible scenarios. There can be only one conclusion and this is why one has to carefully and diligently examine every piece of evidence.

The criteria to determine the reliability of any ancient document are:

1. The Bibliographical Test, consists of examining the textual transmission from the original to the text we have nowadays.

2. The Internal Evidence Test determines whether the document in itself is credible.

3. The External Evidence Test examines other historical documents and whether they confirm or deny the document in question.

Basically the purpose of this study is to discover how reliable the New Testament books are. The verdict will be yours to make. But let us first start with a word of prayer:

"Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you asking for your guidance. I am so confused with the many opinions found in this world. I would like to find the truth, your truth. As I am contemplating your New Testament Scriptures, I ask your help in finding out if they contain truth or fables. You are the only One who can help me with this. Fill me with your Spirit and guide my steps in such a way that I will know without any hesitations whether your New Testament is true and reliable. Thank you Father for being my guide.

In Jesus' name. Amen."

Let us now turn to the evidence:

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