Christian apologists have offered a variety of reasons for why we should judge the Gospels as trustworthy. I particularly appreciate Peter J. Williams’ succinct Can We Trust the Gospels, in which he (1) presents the testimony of ancient non-Christian sources concerning the Christian movement, (2) demonstrates that the Gospel authors displayed familiarity with the times and places of which they wrote, (3) illustrates the undesigned coincidences by which the Gospel accounts complement each other in the details which they provide, (4) defends the accuracy of the Gospels in reporting Jesus’ words, (5) addresses the preservation of the texts over the centuries, (6) explains Jesus’ deliberate use of superficial contradictions as a polemical tool to encourage his audience to think more deeply, etc.1 Other scholars helpfully address the canonization process, which resulted in the inclusion of our four Gospels into our modern Bibles.2 These are solid arguments which should encourage both believers and potential believers to trust the Gospel accounts and teachings.

In this short blog, however, I want to consider two specific reasons for judging the Gospels as trustworthy.

Foremost for me is that the Gospels are trustworthy because I know that my God is trustworthy; he is the living and true God, who raised Jesus from the dead and rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:8–10). My God speaks truthfully (John 17:17) and his Word is perfect, sure, righteous, and pure (Psa. 19:7–14). He has spoken through his apostles and prophets in such a way that the Scriptures are inerrant in the original writings and infallible in all that they assert (2 Tim. 3:16–17; 2 Pet. 1:20–21).3 Bottom-line: as I trust God, I also trust his Scriptures.

However, the apostles also asserted that their writings should be taken as trustworthy because they were eyewitnesses to the life and teachings of Jesus (e.g., 1 Pet. 5:1; 1 John 1:1–4). Indeed, we intuitively give credence to such, as we read the Gospels. It is this aspect of trustworthiness—which only minimally claims super-natural empowerment—that I am particularly concerned with defending on this web site. Accordingly, as is stated on the home page, I contend that the earlier we can reasonably date the first Gospel, the more trustworthy we will inherently find the witness testimony of all of the Gospels. Further, I assert that this aspect of trustworthiness would have been apparent to the apostles themselves, based on contemporary concerns over witness memories, and would have served as a motivating factor for the prompt publication of the Gospels. In addition, if we establish that the Gospels were written early, then we can likewise affirm that the books were written by those who were indeed witnesses or near-witnesses to the events and dialogues which have been recorded for our benefit, rather than some unknown third generation follower of Jesus.

  1. Peter J. Williams, Can We Trust the Gospels? (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018). ↩︎
  2. Michael J Kruger, The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2013). ↩︎
  3. Others have expressed this affirmation more completely: ↩︎

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