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God revealed to Israel the promise of a Redeemer in the moral standard of the law and prophets. The fulfilling of that promise was documented in the New Testament. The writing in the Old Testament was fulfilled, causing the records that document the life of the Redeemer Messiah, the acts of His apostles and the apostolic epistles.
However, can we trust in the written in the New Testament? Because that approximately 2000 years have elapsed since that the things that relates were written, how can we be sure about its authenticity? According to military historian C. Sanders, there are three basic tests used by historians to determine the authenticity of an ancient book: Internal evidence, external evidence and bibliographical evidence. In the New Testament, we can find these evidences:
1. INTERNAL EVIDENCE: Internal evidence consists in the trust in the writers, as the written in the analyzed text. The narratives of Jesus’ life were written by eyewitnesses or referential witnesses. Matthew and John were eyewitnesses (Mathew 10:2-3 y John 21:24). Mark and Luke were referential witnesses; Mark could receive it from Peter (1 Peter 5:13), while Luke through a hard investigation (Luke 1:1-4). Luke was an eyewitness to much of what he wrote in the book of Acts, which confirmed the authority of Paul (Acts 1:1, 9:3-5, 15) Peter else confirmed the authority of Paul and considered “scriptures” his writings (2 Peter 3:15-16). James’s Epistle was written by James, brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55). The epistles of Peter, John and Judah, were written by these apostles, and Revelation was written by John the apostle.
2. EXTERNAL EVIDENCE: This test consists in to analyze others historical and archaeological materials. Several authors wrote about Jesus as an historical person, among them are Tacitus, Josephus, Pliny the Younger and Suetonius. There are some archaeological confirmations of the New Testament. For example, Luke refers to the Temple of Diana in Ephesus, which was excavated in 1803. Regarding Jesus, at present, experts consider His real existence, based on the works of Christian writers and in several Roman and Jews historians.
3. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL EVIDENCE: Whereas we do not have the original manuscripts of the oldest documents, it is important to investigate how many primitive copies there are and what too close the originals are in the time. There are about 8000 manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate and at least 1000 other primitive versions. Add to these approximately 5000 Greek manuscripts and 13000 handwritten copies of portions of the New Testament. The number of manuscripts of the New Testament that we have at our disposal is overwhelmingly greater than any other works of ancient literature. The earliest manuscripts of the New Testament were written much closer to the date of original writing than for any other piece of ancient literature.
Among the most important manuscripts we can mention: Manuscript John Ryland (130 B.C.), Papyrus Bodmer II (150-200 B.C.), Diatessaron (160 B.C.), Papyrus Chester Beatty (200 B.C.), Codex Vaticanus (325-350 B.C.), Codex Sinaiticus (331 B.C.), Codex Alexandrinus (400 B.C.), Codex Ephraimicus (400 B.C.), Codex Bezae (450 B.C.), Codex Washington (450 B.C.).
There are non-Christian sources that attest to the miracles of Christ. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
The Talmud, written in the century V B.C., attributed the miracles of Jesus to the witchcraft. Babylonian Talmud also confirms the crucifixion of Jesus on Passover afternoon. Opponents of the gospel do not deny that Jesus did miracles, but only present alternative explanations to them.
After the examination, there is not doubt that the New Testament contains many more bases to demonstrate that their content is really the Word of God. However it contains enough information, the written was revealed to them: “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The New Testament is a record of the saving life of the Son of God, His life, death, resurrection, ascension and continuation of His work in redeeming of the world. It is also the fulfilling of the prophecies of the Old Testament.
There will always be those who we believe in the authenticity of the written in the New Testament and there will always be those who consider it fable and legend. What does it mean to you? Is Jesus a legendary or fraud character? Or is He the Son of God, the Redeemer of our lives? To those who we believe that He is our Saver and Redeemer is preserved the Salvation and the eternal life (“For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil” John 3:16-19).