Since the individual books of the Bible are my primary sources of information, in support of the resurrection, I do have to defend why I think we can trust those books historically. This will be a brief defense. Much more could be said to support the historicity of the Bible.
According to historians the closer the writings are to the actual event, the less likely they would have legendary events. When were the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John written? The typical objection to the accuracy of the Bible is they were written after 70 AD and therefore include legendary elements.
Many scholars date the writings of the Gospels somewhere between 70 AD and 100 AD. Jesus was crucified around 33 AD therefore, with the passing of 40-70 years, critics say the writers added their own legendary aspects to the historical accounts. They created a myth; a bogus account.
One of the main reasons for dating the Gospels after 70 AD is because of a prediction Jesus made in 3 of the Gospels. Here in Luke 21:5-6 (NIV)we read, “Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 ‘As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.’”
This prophecy was also recorded by Matthew and Mark. Jesus gave a future prediction concerning the complete destruction of the Jewish Temple. He said the stones of this great building would be torn down. And guess what happened? In AD 70 the Jewish temple was completely destroyed by Roman armies; utterly flattened just as Jesus said. If the writers of the three accounts had written these words before AD 70, then the Bible would have solid evidence for an incredible supernatural prophecy or prediction by Jesus.
However, instead of acknowledging a miracle, these scholars conclude the impossibility of Jesus predicting the temple’s destruction so accurately. Thus they say the writers recorded their accounts after AD 70. And what can we conclude about these writers? They reject the supernatural; they believe miracles are impossible. And if there are no miracles, then Jesus couldn’t have made his prediction. So how do we answer this objection?
The deaths of key disciples such as Stephen in Acts 7 and James in Acts 12 were described in the book of Acts. A description of Paul’s death in 68 AD and Peter’s death around the same time would have been important because of the key roles they had in the early church and importance to the book of Acts. Yet, Acts concludes with Paul in prison in Rome and Peter in Jerusalem and says nothing about their deaths.
So if we date Dr. Luke’s second book, the book of Acts, around 64-68; just before Paul and Peter’s deaths, then the Gospel of Luke, his first book, must have been written years earlier. If we date the book of Luke around 60 AD then it was written 30 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. By historical standards this is incredibly close to the historical event. And the vast majority of scholars say the Gospels Matthew and Mark were written prior to Luke; possibly written in the mid to late 50’s.
Another interesting proof is the fact that Luke records the prophecy of Jesus proclaiming that the temple would be completely destroyed and yet, if Acts was written after 70 AD, why didn’t Luke include the destruction of the temple? Wouldn’t you think he would have proudly included in the book of Acts the destruction of the temple as a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy? This event would have confirmed the very words of Jesus. Yet, instead Acts makes no mention of the destruction of the temple. It is only logical to conclude that Luke wrote the book of Acts well before 70 AD; well before the destruction of the temple and before the death of Paul and Peter.
If you take into account the small time period after the death of Jesus, the writers had no time to develop a legend. Roman historian Sherwin-White argues, “Tests suggest that even two generations are too short a span to allow the mythical tendency to prevail over a hard historical core.” If one generation is approximately 30-35 years, then two generations would be 60-70 years before legendary additions are even possible. Luke was written about 20-30 years after the death of Jesus. According to historians, this is too short a time period for legendary additions. And even if I use the late date of some scholars, the time span is still too small for the writers to create a myth; historians say too much of the historical core information would be available.
The writings of the Bible qualify as excellent source material. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John will be used to make my case for the resurrection. Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus and were eyewitnesses of the events. Mark got his material through the experiences of disciple Peter and Luke spent time and interviewed the Apostle Paul for much of his information. Next I will begin to present positive evidence for the historicity of the resurrection.
For additional evidence for the reliability of the Bible see my series “Is God the Author of the Bible?”
 Wilkins, Michael & Moreland, JP editors, “Jesus Under Fire,” Zondervan Publishing, 1995 Pg. 154
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