It’s amazing how many people today have no idea how to go about proving that Jesus was truly was the Son of God and that the New Testament documents are reliable. In fact most people you ask especially those in the denominations will tell you that they cant give you proof but that they just know from their heart of hearts that there is God and that Jesus is his son. They will usually start telling you some personal experience they had which usually involves some strong emotions or a certain feeling that convinced them that Word of God is true. This is called subjectivism where one appeals to their feelings. How one may feel at any given time doesn’t proof anything. If one could prove that there was a God based solely upon a feeling then any religion or any man made doctrine no matter how absurd could be proven to be true. God never intended for us to just to feel like he exist or to feel like his Word is true. No, instead we can adequately prove that the Word of God is a historically accurate by reasoning from both internal and external evidences.

            The Word of God is not some myth nor was it based upon some mans teachings. The Word of God was recorded by historical eyewitnesses and is grounded upon events that took place in history. People today don’t have any problems believing that George Washington was our first president. How do we know that this is true? We didn’t personally live during that time. The reason why we know that it’s true is because of the testimony of those who lived during that time. If we are going to believe that George Washington was the first president based off of reliable historical eyewitnesses they we need to believe the historical eyewitnesses of the Bible as well. We know that Luke wrote the book of Luke and Acts to the Theophilus claiming what he had written was an orderly account of all things that had been fulfilled (Luke 1:1-4). This is significant because Theophilus was an official in the imperial network of the Roman empire, probably a governor, and he would have access to polices and records to check and see if Luke was accurate in his writings or not. Luke records many details about historical events, which have been proven to be right on with all external evidences that have surfaced so far.

            We can prove that the New Testament documents are historical accurate when it talks about the life and death of Jesus Christ but first proving from external sources that there was a Jesus as described by the Word of God. First, lets take a look at five early pagan writers. Thallus writing around 52AD recognizes Jesus existence by trying to explain away the darkness that occurred and Jesus crucifixion (Mark 15:33). He argued that the abnormal darkness alleged to have accompanied the death of Christ was a purely natural phenomenon and coincidence.  Mara Bar-Serapion writing around 73AD asked the question, “what advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?” (Please note that the date of this writing is in question and could have been written as late as the third century.) Cornelius Tacitus writing around 112AD about the reign of Nero 54 – 68AD told how the Christians were made scapegoats for the Great Fire of 64AD. It was rumored that Nero was the one who started the fire to gain glory by rebuilding the city. Notice what Cornelius says, “consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus”. Pliny the younger writing around 112AD extracted some information from Christians by torture. He wrote, “ they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang an anthem to Christ as God, and bound themselves by a solemn oath not to commit any wicked deed”. Finally our fifth writer Suetonius writing around 120AD about the life of Claudius shows that Jesus did exist. He said, “ as the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome. These five writers agree with the writers of the New Testament that there was a Jesus Christ. There are also two very early Jewish sources that confirm Jesus to be a real person in the first century. The Talmud (70 to 200AD) contains many references to Christ all of which are hostile to the cause of Christ. Nonetheless they prove the existence of Jesus. According to their writings Jesus of Nazareth was a transgressor in Israel who practiced magic, scorned the words of the wise, led people astray, and said he had not come to destroy the law but to add to it. Flavius Josephus (around 70AD) wrote about many of the New Testament people such as Pilate, the Caesars, the Herods, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, Annas, Caiaphas, Felix, Festus, Jesus brother James and John the Baptist. He also wrote about Jesus notice what he says. “And there arose about this time, a wise man, if indeed we should call him a man; for he was a doer of marvelous deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure. He won over many Jews and also many Greeks.” “This man was the Messiah. And when Piliate had condemned him to the cross at the instigation of our own leaders, those who had loved him form the first did not cease. For he appeared to them on the third day alive again, as the holy prophets had predicted and said many other wonderful things about him. And even now the race of Christians, so named after him, has not yet died out.”  When you combine the five Pagan writers with these two early Jewish sources it should be clear that there was a Jesus who did many works and was crucified. Since these sources prove that the New Testament writer were writing the truth about Jesus then we should also accept everything they write about Jesus including his miracles and the fact that he was the Son of God.

             The first century Christians believed that the information found in the New Testament documents were true because they were willing die for that truth. In fact F.F. Bruce tells us that at the turn of the century that the Romans sent out military police to confiscate the writings of the New Testament, and that the church of Christ would not give them up. This is great proof that the New Testament documents are true. Otherwise, so many people would not risk their lives for it. Another proof can be found in the early writings of those deemed the apostolic fathers from 90 to 160AD. These were men who sat at the feet of the apostles or at the feet of those who did. They quoted from nearly every book of the Bible showing that the New Testament documents had been completed by the end of the first century. It also shows that that a great number of people believed that these words were the Word of God.

            Our next proof of the reliability of the New Testament is found in the number of manuscripts and their date. A manuscript is a copy of the original letter for letter. We do not have any originals of the New Testament today. A manuscript is deemed more reliable the closer it was copied to the original date. Lets first examine five early non-biblical historical writings that are considered by scholars to be reliable. Caesar’s Gallic Wars was written between 58 to 50 B.C. and we only have ten good manuscripts with the oldest one dating back to the ninth century. The Roman History of Livy was written between  59 B.C. to 17AD and we have 35 manuscripts with the oldest one dating to the fourth century. Histories of Tacitus was written between 100 to 155 AD and we have two manuscripts with the oldest one dating to the ninth century. The Annals of Tacitus s was written about 100 AD and we have twelve manuscripts with the oldest one dating back to the eleventh century. The history of Thucydies was written between 460 to 400 B.C. and we have eight manuscripts with the oldest one dating to 900AD. I want to emphasize that scholars agree that these historical records are reliable even though some these manuscripts are 1300 years removed from the originals and are few in number. These historical records don’t even come close to the manuscript evidence of the Bible. There are about 5000 copies of the New Testament documents in whole or in part with the oldest one dating back to 350AD. That is only about 250 years removed from the originals. This is more than enough proof to show the reliability of the New Testament documents and we should believe what they say. F. F. Bruce made the following statement, “If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt”.

            Now lets move on to proving that Jesus is the Son of God. All of Christianity hinges upon Jesus resurrection from the dead. If it can be proved logically that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. It would prove the Jesus truly was the Son of God (Rom. 1:4) and that everything he said was true. First of all, we know that he died on the cross and was proclaimed dead. This can be proven in the fact that when Jesus side was pierced (Jn. 19:34) water and blood came out. The separation of water and blood only occurs after someone is dead. This alone proves the theory wrong that states Jesus just passed out and then latter woke up in the tomb. The Jews wanted to make sure that the disciples would not steal Jesus body so they talked Pilate into securing the tomb with soldiers (Mat. 27:62-66). These soldiers took their job seriously because if they failed it wasn’t uncommon for them to be punished by death. At this point we can surmise that no one would be able get past these soldiers whether friend or foe. It certainly wouldn’t make sense for Jesus enemies to steal his body because his dead body still being in the tomb on the third day would have proved that Jesus was just a mere man. I have already refuted the theory that Jesus somehow had passed out and woke up in the tomb. However, I want to offer even more evidence that even if this were true, which it is not, that Jesus could of never made it out of the tomb. You must understand how the body was prepared. First of all the arms would be wrapped next to the body and then the body would be wrapped from toe to shoulder and about 100 pounds of aloes, spices and myrrh would be poured into the folds of the linen. This would harden and make the linen garment stiff. A napkin would be tied around the head to complete the covering. We read that Lazarus was prepared in a similar manner and he had to have help to get out of his burial linen (Jn. 11:44). This would be the first hurdle for Jesus to overcome. The next amazing feat he would have to pull off in his weakened condition is to somehow slide open that stone covering the entrance. This stone would take at least two very strong men from the outside to move and there is no way a man by himself could open it from the inside. Then to top it all off, he would have to accomplish all of  this without the Roman soldiers noticing. As you can see there is no way this could have happened. There is only one logical conclusion that can be made. Jesus was raised from the dead as clamed by the New Testament. On the third day the tomb was empty and the stone was rolled back by an angel, which was witnessed by the soldiers as the stood in fear (Mat. 28:1-4). The tomb was open but Jesus was not to be found. It is significant that his grave clothes were lying intact undisturbed (John 20:5-6) showing that he had been raised right through those garments and out of the tomb before it was opened. Another important fact to point out is that Jesus had predicted that he would rise up on the third day and it was common knowledge that he had said this and now it had come to pass.

            Another way to prove that Jesus was raised from the dead was in the fact that he told his disciples that he must go to the Father before he could send the Holy Spirit to guide them into all truth (John 14:26, 16:7, 12-13). Now if I can show that the Holy Spirit came to the apostles, then I can show that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead and return to the Father. The New Testament claims that many saw Christ alive after his death on the cross. Even though his apostles had ate and drank with him after he arose from the dead (Acts 10:41). They still did not understand that the kingdom would not be a physical one (Acts 1:6). The resurrected Jesus tells them they will receive the Holy Spirit there at Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). Jesus ascends to the Father (Acts  1:9) and on the day of Pentecost these men received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). The proof that the Holy Spirit came on them is found in the fact that they had drastically changed from the way they were shortly after the death of Jesus. Before, the apostles were scared and they were greatly lacking in unity and understanding. Starting at Pentecost they were now preaching Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection boldly to the people. They had changed from men of fear to men of power (Acts 4:13). There is only one logical reason that could of brought about such a change in the apostles. The Holy Spirit had brought about this change just as the New Testaments claims (Acts 2:1ff, 1Cor. 2:10-13, Eph. 3:3-5, 2 Pet. 1:3-4). There simply wasn’t enough time for the apostles to have made the change themselves. This leaves us with only one logical conclusion that Jesus was raised from the dead and that he sent the Holy Spirit as promised when he went to the Father.

            Another logical proof of Jesus resurrection can be found in the conversion of Saul. Saul did not like the Christianity movement at all. In fact he became a true fanatic at trying to destroy Christianity (Gal. 1:13-14). He even went outside of Jerusalem to try and bring down Christianity (Acts 9:1-2). Saul had everything going for him. He was outstanding as a Pharisee (Ph. 3:5). He knew the law well as he studied under one of the most well know teachers Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He had great power as seen in his persecution against the church (Acts 9:1-2, 26:12). Now the question becomes who in the world could of converted Saul? It certainly wasn’t his friends because he was there hero. It certainly could not of been a Christian because he wouldn’t have anything to do with them. No the only thing that make logical sense is that he was converted to Christianity by the direct appearance of the resurrected Jesus Christ as stated in Acts 9. Saul changed from an admired man with power and wealth to a man on the run with little money proclaiming a message he used to persecute people for. Only Jesus could of brought about such a change in a man like Saul.

            Another proof that Jesus was the Son of God was in the fact that he claimed that no one could take his life but he had the power to lay it down (John 10:17-18). He specified that he would die by crucifixion (Mat. 20:19, John 3:14, 8:28, 12:32-33). Many attempts were made on his life from childhood to adulthood (Mat. 2:13-21, Luke 4:16-30, John 8:59). However, they were always unsuccessful because it wasn’t his time to die yet (John 2:4, 7:6). It was his destiny to die upon the cross. Crucifixion usually took 36 to 72 hours for someone to die from starvation or exhaustion. However, Jesus died in six hours (Mark 15:25-37). Pilate was surprised that he was already dead (Mark 15:44). Jesus had control over when he died and expressed when he was about to die in John 19:30. All this shows us that he was more than just a man. He predicted how he would die and displayed that he had the power to take his life, as he died only six hours after being on the cross.  

            In conclusion the evidence is overwhelming proving that the Bible is based upon historical events by creditable witnesses who confirm all that happened in the life of Christ and in the first century church. Since we know the Bible is reliable, we should accept all that the New Testament writer says as truth. I have made several logical arguments, which prove that Jesus did exist, and that he was crucified, buried and raised from the dead. Every Christian should take great comfort in knowing that God and Christianity can be proven from history and from logically examining the facts of the New Testament documents.


Cougan Collins


Study Guide Historical Christian Evidences by Edward C.  Wharton .