When you look to the Bible for evidence, aren’t you just using circular reasoning? –The Bible is true because Jesus said so, and Jesus is God because the Bible says so.  How does this make the Bible different from any other ancient religious text or mythical account?

Some of the writings in the New Testament are like depositions or sworn statements of eye-witnesses.  Some were actually given in court! Read the account in Acts 4:1-22 where two of Jesus’ disciples are called before the Sanhedrin, which, among other functions, served as the Jewish high court:

The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadduccees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people.  They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.  They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.  But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand.  The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.  Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family.  They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them:  “By what power or what name did you do this?”  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them:  “Rulers and elders of the people!  If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel:  It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.  He [Jesus] is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’  Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”  But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.  “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked.  “Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it.  But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn these men to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”  Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John replied, “Judge yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.  For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  After further threats they let them go.  They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened.  For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.

If you have ever read a police report, or a transcript of a trial, or other accounts given by witnesses to events, they are relating things that they saw, heard, and otherwise experienced.  Now, I practiced law as a criminal trial attorney for about 11 years.  There were many factors I looked at to determine the reliability of the record.  What opportunity did the witness have to actually see the event, where were they, did they have an unobstructed view, could they hear what was happening?  Then I looked at other factors:  How soon after the event was their report written, did they have any bias or reason to lie, etc.?  These same questions can be asked of the biblical accounts of the resurrection.  As we go through the materials in later posts, notice how many of the records are eye-witness accounts, results of investigation and/or court testimony.


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