WHI-1304 | The Historical Reliability of the Four Gospels

Sunday, 03 Apr 2016

On this program we continue our series on the Resurrection of Jesus. For the next three programs Michael Horton interviews special guest, Michael Licona, who is a New Testament scholar, historian, and Christian apologist. He is a professor at Houston Baptist University and the author of the excellent work, The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, which will be unpacked in these interviews.

How can we be sure that the various claims about Jesus recorded in the four gospels represent genuine eyewitness reports? How can we be sure that they were written in the crucial eyewitness period? Join us for this broadcast of the White Horse Inn as we seek to answer these important questions and more as we continue our series, The Resurrection.


Host Quote
“So Cicero, as highly educated as he was in philosophy and in rhetoric and everything, he had his own secretary who penned these letters and letters that had correspondence between him and Brutus’ secretary. So Brutus would have a secretary who would respond to Cicero and write to Cicero, but they wrote to one another through these secretaries and yet they were both highly educated. When we come to Paul in the New Testament, you have Paul’s most admired piece of literature attributed to him, Romans, his letter to the church at Rome. And in chapter 16:22, it says, ‘I Tertius who write this letter send you my greetings.’ So Tertius wrote this letter. So it could very well be the case that Paul had very lengthy discussions with Tertius. Tertius interviewed him, took down all these things and then Tertius constructed Romans and Paul read it and approved of it and said, wow, Tertius you make me look good. Thank you so much. And Paul signs off for this thing but it’s written by Paul.
“So, there’s good reason to think that Paul and Cicero could use it, why wouldn’t Matthew, Mark, Luke and John use some sort of a secretary to help them pen their gospels? At that point it gets pretty difficult to say something like [Bart] Ehrman and others would say that, well, the gospel authors couldn’t have written those things because they weren’t educated men, with the exception of possibly Luke. They weren’t educated. They were fishermen, or Matthew being a tax collector, they couldn’t have written gospels like that. Well, they could have had secretaries doing these things.”
– Michael Licona


Term to Learn
“Apostolic Inspiration”
The operation of the Holy Spirit after the day of Pentecost differed from that which the prophets in their official capacity enjoyed. The Holy Spirit came upon the prophets as a supernatural power and worked upon them from without. His action on them was frequently repeated but was not continuous. The distinction between His activity and the mental activity of the prophets themselves was made to stand out rather clearly. On the day of Pentecost, however, He took up His abode in the hearts of the apostles and began to work upon them from within. Since He made their hearts His permanent abode, His action on them was no more intermittent but continuous, but even in their case the supernatural work of inspiration was limited to those occasions on which they served as organs of revelation. But because of the more inward character of all the Spirit’s work, the distinction between His ordinary and His extraordinary work was not so perceptible.
The supernatural does not stand out as clearly in the case of the apostles as it did in the case of the prophets. Notwithstanding this fact, however, the New Testament contains several significant indications of the fact that the apostles were inspired in their positive oral teachings. Christ solemnly promised them the Holy Spirit in their teaching and preaching (Matt. 10:19, 20; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11, 12; 21:14, 15; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). In the Acts of the Apostles we are told repeatedly that they taught “being full of,” or “filled with” the Holy Spirit. Moreover, it appears from the Epistles that in teaching the churches they conceived of their word as being in very deed the word of God, and therefore as authoritative (1 Cor. 2:4, 13; 1 Thess. 2:13).
(Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 148)


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