Skeptics and believers approach the Bible unlike any other book in history. Some see the Bible as a mesh of legends, and the other perceives the Bible as the written Word of God. Both cannot be approaching the Bible correctly. Skeptics find the writers of the Bible guilty until proven innocent. As long as they perceive alternate possibilities, they doubt and disbelieve. Speculating possible alternatives without considering what is most probable is neither reasonable nor honest.
People are reasonable and fair to admit names attributed to written works as conclusive evidence of authorship unless there is evidence to the contrary. However, in the case of the Bible, skeptics do not apply this respect. For skeptics and critics, the biblical writers are guilty until proven innocent.
A Necessary Cause for the Bible
The simple premises supporting the origin of the New Testament are that it exists. The NT existed since before our grandfathers’ grandfathers, and the writings came into existence somehow at some specific time. The New Testament claims authorship by God via named apostles and prophets who followed Jesus of Nazareth.
Disqualified from Honestly Examining the Bible
Many feel it necessary to criticize the Bible more harshly since it does offend consciences. Many conjecture, speculate, and then accuse the authors of the NT of being frauds impersonating the apostles and prophets. Why approach any writing accusing them of fraud based on speculation and without allegation of a witness? This is prejudice.
Prejudice disqualifies a person from examining fairly and impartially. Prejudice keeps one from judging simply upon the merits of evidence. For the authors of the New Testament to be frauds, then the originators must have conspired together to lie, which this is a complete contradiction to the morals of the faith that they would have supposedly made up. This again leaves the opponent of the New Testament without grounds to criticize the NT. The opponent replies with slander, reviling, and defamation of the New Testament authors, and this undermines their credibility. Such men make themselves enemies of New Testament Christianity when they forgo any witnesses.
Respect for the Bible
Early Christians universally accepted the authorship of the New Testament writings. Not even the early opponents and apostates questioned the New Testament collection or authors. Such opponents as Celsus, Trypho, Lucian, Porphyry, Hierocles, Julian and Peregrinus do not contradict the names of the authors of the New Testament.
All the writers of the New Testament were and continue to be subject to historians, archaeologists, geographers, philosophers, and statesmen of the authors’ time until now. However, in all of antiquity, there is not a hint of contradictory testimony against the named writers of the Bible from any pagan, Jew, or apostate. These opponents could have and yet did not contradict the miracles that Jesus did or His resurrection. Today’s skeptics appeal to Celsus, although Celsus confessed that Jesus did miracles. Opponents and the defenders of the Bible would be well served by reading the words of the earliest opponents, so that no one makes these early opponents advocates against them.
Skeptics dismiss believers and the plausibility of the Christian faith. They contradict themselves choosing to hear only another skeptic who may consider confessing faith in Jesus’s miracles and resurrection. What happens if a skeptic did affirm the miracles and resurrection of Jesus? If a skeptic did, would he not be numbered with the believers? This again is a convenient position for the opponent of the Christian faith who would not honestly consider a convert from their own thinking.
Considering the Converts
Almost half of the New Testament is written by a hostile witness turned believer — the persecuting Saul became the apostle Paul. Jesus’s brothers and apostles were also skeptics of the resurrection who then believed based on evidence. Jesus’s closest followers were willing to give their lives for their faith in Christ’s resurrection. There were a number of witnesses such as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus who are still notable witnesses having been converted from unbelief. Thousands who lived with Jesus converted after Jesus died. Such notable witnesses whose existence and testimony have never been contradicted by any opponents of antiquity.
Those approaching the Bible looking for faults do so prejudging the Book. The whole of the skeptics methods is to cause doubt by speculation and conjecturing about possibilities. The practice of opponents is to defame from prejudice. How should the honest person approach the Bible? How should the honest person prejudge the writers of the Bible?
I agree with you post. Scriptures give us guidance in this matter. It is there we learn that if the Gospel be hid, it’s those who are lost and their eyes being blinded by the god of this world.
Ephraim is joined to idols, leave him alone, said in Hosea to God’s people.
I believe this is to be the position we should take to those who fit this condition.
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