The Bible: Why Eyewitnesses Matter

Christianity is just a bunch of ancient myths and the Bible was put together around a campfire. 

Ever hear that?  It’s a common assertion leveled against those who actually believe the Bible.  Trouble is, it’s entirely untenable.  

At Derwood Bible Church we’ve just started a series on the book of Acts, which chronicles the history of the early Christian church.  It is striking how Luke, the author, is determined to establish the historicity of his accounts.  In his own words, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.  A highly trained medical doctor, Luke leaves no stone unturned to ensure his readers know that his historical presentation is established upon eyewitness accounts. 

He begins his account referencing Christ’s resurrection:  [Jesus] presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days. The Apostle Paul elsewhere mentions Him appearing to a crowd of 500.  When Peter preaches, he simply assumes everyone knows about Jesus' life and ministry:  Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know.  

Luke often cites those who were eyewitnesses. Consider these phrases, found in the first two chapters alone: as they were looking on…out of their sight…and while they were gazing…this Jesus will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven…you crucified…of that we all are witnesses…this Jesus whom you crucified.

To say the Biblical accounts were old myths strewn together overlooks the obvious, not to mention the painstaking measures taken by the authors and scribes to ensure accuracy of content and transmission.  The Biblical text itself – and the authors – simply do not allow for such a glaring caricature.  It is understood that the miraculous nature of some Biblical accounts can be challenging to accept, and of course the authors wrote within the framework of ANE historians.   But a blanket statement that the Bible is a collection of fairy tales loosely preserved and over exaggerated is to ignore plain facts and the intent of the authors.  The Christian message is taken by faith, of course, but it is built upon well documented and assimilated historical events.  It is for this reason the Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church:  I passed on to you that which was of first importance:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again, according to the Scriptures.  He boldly declared all of Christianity to be wrapped up in one historical event:  the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

And that makes no sense if it didn’t actually happen.  Not to mention overwhelmingly attested to. 

- Pastor Colin