Saturday, March 10, 2018

Defending The Traditional Dating Of The New Testament Books

  • Defining The Issues:
          -Liberal critics have attempted to cast doubt on the claims of Christianity by insisting that the books of the New Testament were written by pseudonymous authors hundreds of years after traditionally ascribed dates. It is claimed that the early church intentionally omitted writings which have now been referred to as lost books of the Bible. However, the vast majority of apocryphal Christian literature came long after the apostles were deceased. It has been said that the New Testament is so frequently cited by the early Christians that all but eleven verses appear in their writings. 
  • Early External Source Verification Of The Letters Of Paul:
          -"Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:15-16)
           *Peter assigns the same status to Paul's letters as the Old Testament. Both are considered by him to be inspired Scripture. It is also possible that he included the four gospels when he referred to "the other Scriptures." Paul's epistles were already being circulated around the Middle East and Asia Minor as the apostles lived.
  • External Source Verification For Luke And Acts:
          -"And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house." (Luke 10:7)
          -"For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” (1 Timothy 5:18)
           *The Apostle Paul quoted from Luke's gospel in 1 Timothy 5:18, which gives reason to believe that both the one gospel and Acts were written at early dates by the traditionally ascribed author.
  • Early Manuscript Fragment Of John's Gospel Narrative:
          -We have a fragment of John 18 preserved on papyrus that has been dated to roughly A.D. 100.
  • On The Historical Reliability Of The Text Of The Gospels:
          -"Even liberal bishop John A. T. Robinson argued in his Redating the New Testament that the entire New Testament was written and in circulation between 40 and 65 A.D. And liberal Peter Stuhlmacher of Tubingen, trained in Bultmann’s critical methodology of form criticism, says, “As a Western scripture scholar, I am inclined to doubt these [Gospel] stories, but as historian, I am obligated to take them as reliable…The biblical texts as they stand are the best hypothesis we have until now to explain what really happened.” (
  • Challenging The Assertion That Athanasius Is The Earliest Known Source To Provide A Full List Of New Testament Books In His Festal Letter In A.D. 367:
          -"So too our Lord Jesus Christ…sent his apostles as priests carrying well-wrought trumpets. First Matthew sounded the priestly trumpet in his Gospel, Mark also, and Luke, and John, each gave forth a strain on their priestly trumpets. Peter moreover sounds with the two trumpets of his Epistles; James also and Jude. Still the number is incomplete, and John gives forth the trumpet sound through his Epistles [and Apocalypse]; and Luke while describing the deeds of the apostles. Latest of all, moreover, that one comes who said, “I think that God has set us forth as the apostles last of all” (1 Cor 4:9), and thundering on the fourteen trumpets of his Epistles he threw down, even to their very foundations, the wall of Jericho, that is to say, all the instruments of idolatry and the dogmas of the philosophers. (Origen, Hom. Josh. 7.1, as cited in Metzger, The New Testament Canon, 139, cited by Michael J. Kruger)

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