There are many scholars who collectively deny the words of Christ. However, if we apply historical criteria to determine something authentic and reliable to the Bible, then we can safely conclude that the Bible is factual and true. I think today’s scholars are making claims based on human bias instead of a careful study of Biblical content.
In studying the Bible, we have to recognize that the Gospel writers utilized oral and written sources when they composed their accounts. One Gospel writer, a trained medical doctor, took great pains in making sure his account was accurate. He interviewed many witnesses of Jesus’ words and miracles. Since there are four accounts of the life and death of Jesus, there will be some differences. Each witness will give a varying degree of information. Yet, it is very important to note that the scriptures are not contradictory.
First of all, the information age had not yet arrived in first century Palestine. Our modern “snapshot-tape recording” criteria of literal accuracy was not the case two thousand years ago. Paraphrasing was widely accepted since most information was shared orally. The Gospel writers did not write to satisfy modern historical curiosity, but to save people by bringing them into a relationship with the Savior. Like a beautiful painting or vivid poetry, the Gospels serve to move our hearts and souls. The author and painter was God himself. The Bible is God speaking directly to us. His Word becomes so important, that he simply could not leave the process in human hands. He carefully guided and preserved each word that appears in the Gospels.
There is a lot the Gospels don’t tell us which bothers our rational, historical mind. However, the Gospels tell us all that we need to know. Aside from accepting the Bible as a very reliable historical document there is another factor to consider and that is faith. The Gospels force us to look at Jesus Christ, the Savior, and ask, “Who is he? Was he a lunatic? Was he a liar? Was he just a legend? Or, was he the Lord his followers proclaimed him to be?”
The evidence which addresses the mind, and the Spirit of God which addresses the heart, both point to the last of these alternatives as the only possible answer. We can take comfort in knowing that it is Jesus who will reveal himself as Lord based not on our human understanding, but by the transforming power of God’s Word. Our heart-knowledge will grasp the fact that God was in control of the writing of the Gospels and is still active in reaching the lost to an eternal, saving relationship with him.
** This question and answer was inspired from the book, “Letters from a Skeptic” by Dr. Gregory A Boyd and Edward K. Boyd, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1994.