The Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are four accounts of Jesus’s life and teachings while on earth. But are they historically accurate?
New Testament scholar, Dr Peter Williams, presents a powerful case for the historical reliability of the Gospels. He compares different accounts of the same events, assesses how accurately the four biblical accounts reflect the cultural context of their day, considers how the texts were handed down throughout the centuries, and examines evidence from non-Christian sources.
Dr Williams applies a series of tests covering topics which range from geography to personal names, tax to language, and weights and measures to botany. His conclusion is clear: It is highly rational to trust the Gospels.
1. What Do Non-Christian Sources Say? 2. What Are the Four Gospels? 3. Did the Gospel Authors Know Their Stuff? 4. Undesigned Coincidences 5. Do We Have Jesus’s Actual Words? 6. Has the Text Changed? 7. What about Contradictions? 8. Who Would Make All This Up?
This book’s title, Can We Trust the Gospels?, is carefully chosen. It addresses the question by looking at evidence of the Gospels’ trustworthiness. The great thing about trust is that it is something we all understand to a degree because we all exercise it. … It is a version of [this] everyday sort of trust that we are going to consider in this book as we ask whether we can trust the accounts of Jesus’s life …
Trusting the Gospels is both the same as trusting other things and different. It is the same in that we often have to evaluate the credibility of people and things in daily life. It is different in that the Gospels contain accounts of miracles and of a man, Jesus Christ, who is presented as the supernatural Son of God who can rightfully claim ownership of our lives. But before we consider such claims, we need to ask whether the Gospels show the signs of trustworthiness we usually look for in things we believe.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter J. Williams (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the principal of Tyndale House, one of the world’s leading institutes for biblical research. Previously a senior lecturer in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen, he is the chair of the International Greek New Testament Project and a member of the ESV Translation Oversight Committee.