More on the reliability of the gospels

This post from Saints and Skeptics, is worth sharing in that it deals with 10 points that deal with the reliability of the gospels. Let me share a few worthwhile quotes to whet your appetite.

Point #1 says,

The first Christians had the motivation to keep their memories of Jesus intact, they had the means for accessing good information about Jesus, and the evidence is that they were trying to faithfully preserve a reliable history of his life and teachings.

That’s one of the biggest issues that needs to be addressed: what motivated the disciples to tell their stories? J. Warner Wallace points out in his book Cold Case Christianity, that there are three motivations that cause people to lie: money, power, and sex (relationships). The disciples of Jesus died impoverished, persecuted, and, usually, alone, which is a definite indicator that what they told about Jesus is true, because while a person may die unwittingly for a lie, no one will willingly die for a lie.

Point #3 states,

We know that memorisation was an important part of Jewish education, and especially the education of a Rabbi’s disciples. If Jesus’ students followed the customs of their day, they would have memorised many of their master’s teachings. Writing supplemented and aided this process of memorisation. Wax and leaf-ink tablets could be used for note taking. There was also a sophisticated scribal culture in Israel, and particularly in Jerusalem.

We often discount the practice of memorization, partly because we live in an age of instantaneous information with smartphones and computers, but in a culture where paper was a premium, the human memory, a memory that didn’t have to deal with the flashy distractions of modern life, was dependable and had the supplement of rote learning.

Point #6 makes one of the most salient points,

Gerd Thiessen in The Shadow of the Galilean points out that many texts in the Gospels demonstrate knowledge of Palestine in third decade of the first century. For example Matthew 11v 7 demonstrates knowledge that Herod Antipas stamped the image of a reed on his coins; Matthew 15 v 26 can only be understood when we know that that the Jews of Galilee made bread for the rich of Tyre. Unless one had knowledge of the locality, one might wonder how John the Baptist could baptise in the Jordanian wilderness.

The fact that the gospel writers demonstrate intimate familiarity with the surroundings they are describing is one of the best evidences for the truth of their claims. Something that I pointed out in an earlier post is that there are 10 more reasons we can believe the gospels, as well as the fact that if the gospels are late, they’re false.

It’s an interesting post, so check it out.

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