Class: Investigating and Defending the Gospels #11: Are the Gospels eyewitness accounts?


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Purpose: That we might know how to show people that the Gospel accounts come from eyewitnesses

Investigating and Defending the Gospels #11

Are the Gospels eyewitness accounts? 

I use Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace for the main ideas

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • December 16, In the year of our Lord, 2016


  1. If the Gospels were written in the 2nd or 3rd centuries,
    1. we cannot accept them as eyewitnesses.
    2. If we can establish that they were written in the first century,
      1. they become more reliable as eyewitness accounts.
      2. Therefore, they wrote the truth.
  2. At the Council of Laodicea (ad 363–364), the church leaders in attendance
    1. recognized 26 Books of the New Testament, leaving out Revelation.
    2. What we want to know is:
      1. Were the Gospels written closer to the events they portray, or
      2. were they written closer to the time of the Council of Laodicea?
  3. This would include other New Testament writings, including Revelation.
    1. Peter claimed to witness the ministry of Jesus:
      1. 1Pe 5.1
      2. 2Pe 1.16
    2. John claimed to witness the ministry of Jesus:
      1. 1Jo 1.1–4
    3. Paul claimed to witness the resurrected Jesus:
      1. 1Co 15


  1. The Gospels Were Closer in Time to Jesus than to the Council of Laodicea
    1. New Testament does not show the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.
      1. This happened in ad 70.
      2. Would not New Testament writers include this to confirm the prediction of Jesus?
    2. Luke said nothing of the deaths of Peter and Paul.
      1. He recorded the deaths of others in the Book of Acts.
      2. However, Luke wrote primarily of Paul and Peter.
    3. Luke said nothing of the death of James, a prime leader in the Jerusalem church.
      1. He wrote of the death of James the apostle.
      2. He wrote of the death of Stephen.
    4. Luke wrote his Gospel account before writing Acts.
      1. Acts 1.1–2
      2. If Acts was early enough not to record the significant events already mentioned, then Luke goes even further toward the time of Christ.
    5. Paul quoted the Gospel According to Luke.
      1. 1Ti 5.17–18
      2. Luke 10.7