Investigating and Defending the Gospels #2 

Learn How to “Infer” 

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 12, In the year of our Lord, 2015


  1. What is the difference between implying and inferring? 
  2. What is the difference between possible and reasonable? 
  3. Concerning Jesus of Nazareth: 
    1. What happened to Him?
    2. How do we account for His empty tomb?
  4. Now consider seven possibilities for the Gospel Accounts. 


  1. The Disciples Were Wrong 
    1. Skeptics believe that Jesus survived the crucifixion.
    2. How do you know whether a body is dead or not?
      1. Cold to the touch
      2. Rigor Mortis
      3. Blood pools in the body
    3. Injured people respond
    4. Could not the disciples, who
      1. removed the body from the cross,
      2. took the body to the tomb, and
      3. wrapped the body
      4. not know whether the body was dead or not?
    5. John 19.34 – blood and water
      1. What did this indicate?
      2. What about the piercing with the spear?
    6. Other problems with this option:
      1. Unfriendly extra-biblical sources affirm Jesus died.
      2. Would the Romans have allowed removal of a live body?
      3. How could Jesus have stopped the blood loss from beatings, crucifixion, and the spear?
      4. After His resurrection Jesus appeared normal.
      5. He is not on the Earth after the ascension.
  2. The Disciples Were Lying 
    1. Skeptics claim the disciples stole the body.
      1. Cf. Matt 28.11–15
      2. Accounts for empty tomb, but not transformed disciples
    2. The more people involved in a conspiracy, the more unlikely it is true
    3. What benefit did they derive by lying?
    4. Other problems with this option:
      1. Matt 27.62–66 – The Jews made the tomb secure
      2. The locals could confirm the falsehood of the message
      3. The disciples had no motive (And how did they act after His crucifixion?)
      4. How could their own lies transform them?
  3. The Disciples Were Delusional 
    1. Skeptics claim the disciples were so grief-stricken they imagined seeing Jesus
    2. We tend to remember people good traits only, but not collectively dream up post-death appearances
    3. Other problems with this option:
      1. Group hallucinations have not been documented
      2. The disciples were not inclined to believe He was alive
        1. Luke 24
        2. Mark 16.9–13
      3. John 20.24–29 – Thomas did not believe the other disciples
      4. Mass hallucination does not explain the missing body
  4. The Disciples Were Fooled 
    1. Skeptics believe an impostor fooled the disciples
    2. Requires additional set of conspirators
    3. Other problems with this option:
      1. An impostor had to imitate Jesus perfectly
        1. 1Jo 1.1–4
      2. An impostor would have to improvise miracles
        1. Acts 1.1–3
  5. The Disciples Were Influenced 
    1. Skeptics believe one disciple claimed a vision, then others were influenced and fashioned their own
    2. Problems with this option:
      1. Does not account for other witnesses and of large numbers at once
        1. 1Co 15
      2. Does not explain the empty tomb
  6. The Disciples Accounts Were Distorted 
    1. Skeptics believe that what the disciples taught originally were distorted by the church later
    2. Problems with this option:
      1. Where is the proof of the actual original teachings?
      2. The disciples reported on the resurrection immediately (as in Acts 2).
  7. The Disciples Were Accurate 
    1. Jesus truly rose from the dead and the Gospel accounts speak the truth about His whole ministry
    2. For the skeptic the problem is the involvement of the supernatural.