How Can I Be Born Again?

 HOW CAN I BECOME
A CHRISTIAN?

John 3:3  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (ESV)



1. Understand and believe that God is the Creator of the Universe


God created us and has authority over us.

  • Colossians 1:16-17 "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
  • Hebrews 11:3 "By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”


We will give an answer for our lives.

  • Hebrews 9:27 "And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment"
  • Hebrews 4:13 "And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account."


2. Acknowledge and confess your sinfulness


God's Commandments are His perfect standard of Holiness.

  • Romans 3:19-20 "Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin."
  • Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
  • James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”


Admit that you are not good.  Turn away from you sin and turn towards Christ.

  • Psalm 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
  • Romans 3:10-12 “None is righteous, no, not one; [11] no one understands; no one seeks for God. [12] All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
  • 1 John 1:9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”


3. Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave

Realize that Salvation is by Faith (trusting in Jesus, loving and valuing Him more than anyone or anything) and not by works.

  • Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
  • Mark 12:28-31 “And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, ‘Which commandment is the most important of all?’ [29] Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. [30] And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ [31] The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”


Affirm that Jesus is God and is the Only Way of Salvation. Salvation is not possible by obedience in Judaism, not through Mohammed's revelation of Allah (Islam), not through Buddhism or Hinduism, not by good works, and not through Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormonism.  Salvation is only available through Jesus.

  • John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
  • Acts 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
  • 1 John 2:23 "No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also."


4. Call out to Jesus in prayer to be in charge of your life

Publicly place your trust and faith in Him.

  • Acts 16:30-31  Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” [31] And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
  • Romans 10:9-10 “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [10] For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
  • Romans 10:13 “For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”


Submit and yield to His Lordship.  Let Him be in control of your life.

  • Acts 2:37-38 “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ [38] And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • Matthew 16:24-26 “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. [25] For whoever would save his life(1) will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. [26] For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?’”

Now What? If you have chosen to believe that Jesus Christ is God, died on the cross, and rose from the grave and have truly yielded control of your life to Him, you are a Christian and follower of Jesus.  Here is what to do next…


Walk with Jesus in Fellowship with Other Believers

Proclaim Christ's Lordship over your life through Baptism

    • Acts 2:38 "And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’"

See “What does the Bible say about Baptism?” on TrustworthyWord.com


Read your Bible to grow in your knowledge and love of Christ

See “How to Study the Bible?” on TrustworthyWord.com


Pray consistently and daily to relate more with Jesus

See “What Does the Bible Say God is Like?” and “What Does the Bible Say about Christian Identity?” on TrustworthyWord.com


Connect with a biblically faithful church family

    • Hebrews 10:25-26 "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

See “What Does the Bible Say about Church Membership?” on TrustworthyWord.com


Speak and Demonstrate God's Love

    • Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

See “What Does the Bible Say about Love?” on TrustworthyWord.com


Listen to and Obey God's Commands

    • Hebrews 10:26-27 "For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries."
    • 1 Peter 1:15-16 "but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.’"

See “What Does the Bible Say about Sin?” and “What Does the Bible Say about Sanctification?” on TrustworthyWord.com


Common Objections to the Gospel


  1. What about people who’ve never heard about Jesus? Will they go to Hell?

What about other religions: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and tribal religions?  A person doesn’t go to Hell for failing to hear the Gospel, they go to hell for failing to obey God’s law.  Consider if a man jumped out of a plane without a parachute.  He doesn’t die primarily because he doesn’t have a parachute.  The reason he dies is because he violates the law of gravity…which brings him to his death.  If a person dies without Christ, it is because he has transgressed the law of God…ignorance is not excuse.  If we really care about those who have not heard about Jesus, we need to first come to Christ, and take His name, the only name which offers hope of salvation….to the ends of the earth.

  1. My god is a god of love and forgiveness who doesn’t send someone to hell.

This is an example of idolatry…a violation of the 2nd commandment.  Crafting a god of our own imagination, in our own image, or a god we are comfortable with.  We cannot separate God’s justice from God’s love.  He does judge the wicked and the immoral by their transgression of the law, and their sentence is eternal death and suffering in a very real Hell.  This same God, we learn from Romans 5:8, loved us so much, that while we were still rebels and enemies, sent His son to die for us.

  1. Why is there so much suffering?

We all go through suffering.  All of us have been hurt by the sinfulness of others, the consequences of living in a fallen world, and by our own sinfulness.  We need to have faith in God, knowing and trusting that He is in control, and that His good plan includes an eternal rescue from sin, suffering, and death.   It is good to ask these deep questions, I would recommend www.gotquestions.org to dig deeply into this and similar tough questions.  Ultimately God sent this message here today to help save you from eternal suffering.  This is God’s love.

  1. I’m already saved.

God tells us to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith.  Have our lives changed?  Do we desire to hear God’s voice through the Bible?  Are we obedient to God’s commands?  Do we see the fruits of God’s Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) in our lives? (Galatians 5:22-24)  Or do we see the works of the flesh in our lives (sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these)? (Galatians 5:19-21)  Do we desperately seek Him in prayer?  Do we see righteousness being produced by God in our lives? Are we quick to forgive?  Do we love others?

SEE “How Can I Be Sure I Am a Christian?” on TrustworthyWord.com

When you see a doctor and you are sick, what does he do?  He assess the symptoms, shoots straight with you, and tells you about your disease and any possible cures.  The Bible clearly speaks to any symptoms of ongoing, unrepentant sin in our lives.  Matthew 7:21 “I never knew you.”  Test yourselves.

  1. I don’t believe in God.

Just because we don’t believe something doesn’t make it disappear.  Put on a blindfold and stand in front of a large truck on a highway, saying I don’t believe the truck exists.  I know there is no such thing as an atheist.  No such thing as an atheist at 25,000 ft in crazy turbulence. Look at a painting, do you say, look what coincidentally formed by chance over a ridiculously long period of time?  No. You see a painting.  You know there is a painter.  You see a building, you know there is a builder.  You see the Creation and you know there is a Creator.

  1. I don’t believe the Bible is God’s Word.

You are right the Bible was written by men.  When you write a letter, do you write, or does the pen?  Men are God’s instruments to write the Bible.  The Bible is the most accurate piece of literature in all of history…scientifically, historically, prophetically, archaeologically, and documentary or manuscript evidence.  Find an error.  We’ve searched.  We can’t find any.

  1. I confess my sins and say I’m sorry all the time.

Consider civil law.  If someone is guilty of a serious crime, when they come to trial, if they just say “I’m sorry” to the judge, do you think he’ll just let her go?  That’s not fair. Only a corrupt or unrighteous judge would let a guilty person free without a penalty.   The law has been broken. Justice demands a punishment.  We can’t just say we are sorry.  We can’t be “good enough” to overcome our crimes.  We need Jesus to pay for the penalty for our sin.

  1. I’ve lied, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.

On moral issues…it only takes one commission of a crime to be labeled a criminal.  One murder = a murderer.  One lie = liar.  One theft = a thief.  One lust = adulterer.  It is human nature to trivialize sin, but sin is serious.  God tells us in James 2:10 that anyone who is guilty of one sin is guilty of all sin.

  1. Christianity is narrow-minded.

The Bible is clear that there is only one way.  Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” In Acts 4:12 we learn that there is only one “name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”   I you don’t have the Son, don’t have the Father.  You’re right, without Jesus, no hope for your transgression of the law.  Jesus has the power to forgive sins…He openly offers that exclusive path to salvation to all who hear…would you reject Him?  Put your faith in Him?

  1. I don’t agree with you.

No one knows when they will face death. Did you know that 150,000 people die every 24 hours?  That is not a scare tactic, that is reality.  And after death there is guaranteed judgment.  Jesus speaks of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man who is in Hell becomes desperate to tell his family about Jesus.  Read Romans 2:4 – We plead with you to realize you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of judgment…don’t presume upon God’s patience and kindness.  Get right with the Lord.  Consider our motives…we just want you to know and love Jesus and find eternal life.  Paul in Romans 9 explains that he wishes he could sacrifice his own salvation for the salvation of someone else…but it doesn’t work that way.  You must decide.


THE BOTTOM LINE?  There is no good objection for failing to follow Christ as your Lord.  Do you have a good reason for putting Him off any longer?


Check out these resources for more answers!

What Is Veneration? Is Mary Our Mother? Should Mary Be Venerated?

  

WHAT IS VENERATION?  
IS MARY OUR MOTHER?  
SHOULD MARY BE VENERATED?


The Catholic Blog - Helping people find answers to the most common questions about Catholicism with answers from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Bible. (www.catholic.blog )


Our word usage matters…what do we mean by the words we use?  

Are they accurate descriptions of our actions?


NOTE: The same word “venerate” is used to describe the Bible, images, Mary, saints, & angels.

Merriam-Webster’s Definitions: 

Veneration - “respect or awe inspired by the dignity, wisdom, dedication, or talent of a person”

Worship - “excessive admiration of or devotion to a person”

Adoration - “strong feelings of love or admiration”

Sacred - “worthy of religious veneration, holy, dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity”

Prayer - “an address (such as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought”

Genuflect - “to touch the knee to the floor or ground especially in worship”


“Is Mary our mother? Should Mary be venerated?” - Important Passages of The Catechism of the Catholic Church to Consider:

  • “the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith” (CCC 149)
  • “the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord’s Body” (CCC 103)
  • “Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore.” (CCC 1192)
  • “Through sacred images of of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and the saints, we venerate the persons represented” (CCC 1192)
  • “Jesus is Mary’s only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men” (CCC 501)


“Is Mary our mother? Should Mary be venerated?” - Important Scriptures to Consider:

  • Matthew 11:11 “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (ESV)
  • Ps 18:3 "I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, & I am saved from my enemies.” (ESV)
  • Psalm 71:16 “With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.” (ESV)
  • Psalm 72:18 “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.” (ESV)
  • Isaiah 26:13 “O LORD our God…your name alone we bring to remembrance.” (ESV)
  • Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)


“Is Mary our mother? Should Mary be venerated?” - Important Questions to Consider:

  • According the dictionary definitions, how different are the words “veneration”, “worship”, “adoration”, and “sacred”?
  • Where is the line crossed from “veneration” to “worship” or “adoration”?
  • What are the differences and similarities in Catholic practices of veneration to Mary and worship to God?  What protections are in place so people do not have more affection for Mary than Jesus?
  • Considering what Jesus said about John the Baptist in Matthew 11:11, why is he not given more honor than Mary in the Bible?  Why is Mary not referenced as “our Mother” in the Bible?
  • Does Psalm 71:16, 72:8 or Isaiah 26:13 focus on angels or saints?  Why not
  • Does the Bible use the word “veneration”? What does Philippians 4:8 say to do about things that are “worthy of praise”?  Do Catholic practices go beyond “thinking about these things”?
  • Does the Bible command the use of images, prayers, the Eucharist, or sacrifices in order to give honor to Mary, the saints, or angels?



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Evidence for Jesus

 EVIDENCE FOR JESUS: 
WAS JESUS' LIFE, DEATH, & DEITY REAL?

 INTERNAL EVIDENCE (inside the Bible) 

Attests to Jesus’ Deity, Existence & Death

Scriptural Consistency, Prophetic Claims, Eyewitness Accounts, Internal Consistency, Corroborating & Circumstantial Evidence Archaeological Congruence & Evidence, Scientific Evidence, Jesus' Claims of Deity, Disciples Claims of Deity Jesus Predicts His Death & Resurrection – Mk 8:31-33, 9:30-32; Mt 20:17-19


Prophecies and Fulfillment of Christ

  1. Offspring of a Woman – Genesis 3:15, Luke 2:7, Revelation 12:5
  2. Offspring of Abraham – Genesis 18:18, Acts 3:25, Matthew 1:1, Luke 3:34
  3. Offspring of Isaac – Genesis 17:19, Matthew 1:2, Luke 3:34
  4. Offspring of Jacob – Numbers 24:17, Genesis 28:14, Luke 3:34, Matthew 1:2
  5. Descended from the Tribe of Judah – Genesis 49:10, Luke 3:33, Matthew 1:2-3
  6. Heir to the Throne of David – Isaiah 9:7, 11:1-5, 2 Samuel 7:13, Jeremiah 23:5, Matt1:1,6, Luke 1:32-33
  7. Born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:4-7
  8. Time of Birth – Daniel 9:25, Luke 2:1-2, 2:3-7
  9. Born of a Virgin – Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:26-35
  10. Slaughter of Infants – Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew 2:16-18
  11. Escape into Egypt – Hosea 11:1, Matthew 2:14-15
  12. A PROPHET, LIKE MOSES – Deuteronomy 18:15, John 1:45, 16:15, Acts 3:19-26
  13. Ministry in Galilee – Isaiah 9:1-2, Matthew 4:12-16
  14. Priest Like Melchizedek – Psalm 110:4, Zechariah 6:12-13, Hebrews 6:20, 5:5-6, 7:15-17
  15. Rejected by Jews – Isaiah 53:3, Psalm 2:2, John 1:11, 5:43, Luke 4:29, 17:25
  16. Characteristics – Isaiah 11:2, Psalm 45:7, Luke 2:52, 4:18
  17. Triumphal Entry – Zechariah 9:9, Isaiah 62:11, John 12:13-14, Matthew 21:1-11
  18. Betrayed by a Friend – Psalm 41:9, Mark 14:10
  19. Sold for 30 Pieces of Silver, Potter’s Field – Zechariah 11:12-13, Matthew 26:15, 27:6-7
  20. Judas’ Position Replaced – Psalm 109:7, Acts 1:18-20
  21. False Witnesses’ Accused Him – Psalm 27:12, Matthew 26:60-61
  22. Silent When Accused – Isaiah 53:5, Matthew 26:62-63
  23. Struck and Spit Upon – Isaiah 50:6, Mark 14:65
  24. Hated Without Cause – Psalm 69:4, John 15:23
  25. Suffered Vicariously – Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:16-17
  26. Hands and Feet Pierced – Psalm 22:16, John 20:27
  27. Crucified With Sinners – Isaiah 53:12, Matthew 27:38
  28. Mocked and Insulted – Psalm 22:6-8, Matthew 27:39-40
  29. Given Gall and Vinegar – Psalm 69:21, John 19:29
  30. Hears Prophetic Words Used As Mockery – Psalm 22:8, Matthew 27:43
  31. Prays for His Enemies – Psalm 109:4, Luke 23:34
  32. Side Pierced – Zechariah 12:10, John 19:34
  33. Soldiers Cast Lots for His Clothes – Psalm 22:18, Matthew 15:24
  34. Not a Bone to Be Broken – Psalm 34:20, John 19:33
  35. Buried With the Rich – Isaiah 53:9, Matthew 27:57-60
  36. Resurrection – Psalm 16:10, Matthew 28:9
  37. Ascension into Heaven – Psalm 68:18, Luke 24:50


Do you know the odds of Jesus fulfilling just 8 prophecies? It is 1 in 10 to the 17th power (1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000).


Do you know the odds of Jesus fulfilling just 48 prophecies? It is 1 in 10 to the 157th power, (or 1 in 10,00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). 


Consider the odds for all 300+ prophecies (www.accordingtothescriptures.org/prophecy/353prophecies.html )

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. 


That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. 


You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” 

- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by forty different human authors in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), on hundreds of subjects. And yet there is one consistent, non-contradictory theme that runs through it all: God’s redemption of humankind.”

Hank Hanegraaff in “Bible Reliability”

http://www.equip.org/articles/bible-reliability-m-a-p-s-to-guide-you-through-bible-reliability/


Is Jesus Really God’s Son?

Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. (Proverbs 12:17 ESV) 


If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:19 ESV) 


but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (1 Peter 3:15 ESV) 


  1. Baptism – Mark 1:9-11
  2. I AM Statements – Mark 14:62, John 4:26, 8:58, 18:6, Exodus 3:14, Isaiah 4:45
  3. Immanuel – Matthew 1:23
  4. See God – Matthew 5:8
  5. Seen Me, Seen Father – John 14:7
  6. Image of the Invisible God – John 1, Col 1:15-16
  7. Father and I Are One – John 10:30
  8. Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End – Revelation 1:8, 22:20
  9. Making Self Equal with God – John 5:18
  10. Shares God’s Glory – John 17:5-6
  11. He Is the New Temple – John 2:18-19
  12. He Is the Law Giver – Matthew 5-7
  13. Great High Priest – Hebrews 4:14


Was Jesus More Than Just a Good Man?

  1. Virgin Birth – Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:26-35
  2. Fulfillment of Prophecies – Ps 22, Isaiah 53:1-12
  3. Angels Worship Him – Hebrews 1:6
  4. Reception of Worship – John 9:38, 20:28
  5. Transfiguration – Matthew 17:1-13
  6. Claim of Disciples – John 20:28-29 – Thomas
  7. Without Sin – Hebrews 4:15
  8. Forgives Sin – John 9:2-6
  9. Raising Others from the Dead – John 11:1-46
  10. 10.Resurrection and Ascension – Mt 28:1-15, Acts 1:4-11, Luke 23 & 24


EXTERNAL EVIDENCE (outside the Bible) 

Attests to Jesus’ Deity, Existence & Death

Manuscript & Bibliographical Evidence, Eyewitness Accounts, Corroborating & Circumstantial Evidence, Archaeological  Evidence, & Scientific Evidence

Below quotes from: Paul Maier in Did Jesus Really Exist? & Joseph and Josephus www.4truth.net ,also: The Case for the Real Jesus by: Lee Strobel


“there is more evidence that Jesus of Nazareth certainly lived than for most famous figures of the ancient past” Paul L. Maier, The Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History, Western Michigan University


The Manuscript & Bibliographical Evidence: Ancient Works vs. Bible


Author

Work

Date Written

Earliest Manuscripts

Time Gap

Number of Manuscripts

Homer

Iliad

800 BC

c. 400 BC

400

1,757

Herodotus

History

480–425 BC

10th C

1,350

109

Sophocles

Plays

496–406 BC

3rd C BC

100-200

193

Plato

Tetralogies

400 BC

895

1,300

210

Caesar

Gallic Wars

100-44 BC

9th C

950

251

Livy

History of Rome

59 BC–AD 17

Early 5th C

400

150

Tacitus

Annals

AD 100

1st half:850, 2nd: 1050 (AD 1100)

750–950

2 + 31 15thC

Pliny, the Elder

Natural History

AD 49–79

5th C fragment: 1; Rem. 14–15th C

400 (750)

200

Thucydides

History

460–400 BC

3rd C BC (AD 900)

200 (1,350)

96

Demosthenes

Speeches

300 BC

Some fragments from 1 C. BC. (AD 1100)

1,100+ (1,400)

340

New Testament


AD 50–100

AD 130 (or less)

40

5,795

NOTE: This does not even show the Old Testament manuscript evidence (Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Massoretic, etc) or the thousands of other New Testament manuscripts available in other languages and ancient time periods (24,000+ total NT manuscripts, 5795 Greek mss, 8,000-10,000 Latin mss, 8,000 Ethiopic, Slavic & Armenian).

www.equip.org/articles/the-bibliographical-test-updated/#christian-books-2

www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/bib-docu.html


“We have more than 14,000 manuscripts and fragments of the Old Testament of three main types: (a) approximately 10,000 from the Cairo Geniza (storeroom) find of 1897, dating back as far as about AD. 800; (b) about 190 from the Dead Sea Scrolls find of 1947-1955, the oldest dating back to 250-200 B.C.; and (c) at least 4,314 assorted other copies. The short time between the original Old Testament manuscripts (completed around 400 B.C.) and the first extensive copies (about 250 B.C.) — coupled with the more than 14,000 copies that have been discovered — ensures the trustworthiness of the Old Testament text. The earliest quoted verses (Num. 6:24-26) date from 800-700 B.C.” 

www.equip.org/articles/bible-reliability-m-a-p-s-to-guide-you-through-bible-reliability


 "The interval, then, between the dates of original composition and the earliest extant evidence becomes so small as to be in fact negligible, and the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general integrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established." -Sir Frederic G. Kenyon, The Bible and Archaeology

former director and principal librarian of the British Museum


CHRISTIAN HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

Early Church Fathers (ccel.org) all of the early church pastors and leaders establish consistency of the message and personal testimony and witness of the apostles and disciples of Christ


Justin Martyr (early Christian convert): “Born of pagan parents around A.D. 100 in Nablus (between Judea and Galilee), Justin tried and abandoned various philosophical schools until he found in Christianity the one true teaching. As a native of the Holy Land, Justin mentions sites associated with Jesus, such as the Bethlehem grotto in which he was born, and even such details as Jesus working as an apprentice carpenter in the shop of his foster father Joseph, where they specialized in producing such agricultural implements as yokes for oxen and plows.” (Paul Maier in http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbjesus.aspx?pageid=8589952895)


JEWISH HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

Sacred Jewish Writings spell Jesus’ name accurately in Amaraic (the spoken language of the day, “Yeshua Hannotzri”—Joshua (Jesus) of Nazareth), writing of his arrest warrant in the Mishna (earliest collection of writings in the Talmud) “He shall be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and lured Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf. Anyone who knows where he is, let him declare it to the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.”

The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) “confirms Jesus' crucifixion on the eve of Passover and the accusations against Christ of practicing sorcery and encouraging Jewish apostasy.”


Jewish History: Flavius Josephus a famous Jewish historian mentions "Jesus who is called the Christ" twice in his Jewish Antiquities. In the second of these, he tells of the death of Jesus' half-brother James the Just of Jerusalem (20:200). In the longest first-century non-biblical reference to Christ, 

Josephus writes:  “At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.” (18:63)


SECULAR HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

Cornelius Tacitus, “one of the most reliable source historians of first-century Rome, wrote in his Annals a year-by-year account of events in the Roman Empire under the early Caesars. Among the highlights that he reports for the year A.D. 64 was the great fire of Rome. People blamed the emperor Nero for this conflagration since it happened ‘on his watch,’ but in order to save himself, Nero switched the blame to ‘the Christians,’ which is the first time they appear in secular history. Careful historian that he was, Tacitus then explains who ‘the Christians’ were: ‘Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus’ (15:44). He then goes on to report the horrors that were inflicted on the Christians in what became their first Roman persecution.”


“Tacitus, it should be emphasized, was not some Christian historian who was trying to prove that Jesus Christ really lived, but a pagan who despised Christians as a ‘disease,’ a term he uses later in the passage. Had Jesus never even existed, he would have been the first to expose that pathetic phantom on whom such cultists placed their trust. Were no other references to Jesus available, this passage alone would have been sufficient to establish his historicity. Skeptics realize this, and so have tried every imaginable means to discredit this passage—but to no avail. Manuscript analysis and computer studies have never found any reason to call this sentence into question, nor its context.”


Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus also recorded events of the first century in his famous Lives of the Twelve Caesars. He, too, regarded the Christians as a sect "professing a new and mischievous religious belief" (Nero 16) and doubtless cited "Chrestus" (Claudius 25). 

Pliny the Younger “was the Roman governor of Bithynia—today, the northwestern corner of Turkey—and about the year 110 he wrote the emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.), asking what to do about the Christians, a ‘wretched cult’ whom he mentions eight times in his letter. Christ himself is cited three times, the most famous instance referring to Christians ‘...who met on a fixed day to chant verses alternately among themselves in honor of Christ, as if to a god...’ (Letter No. 96). Trajan's response, interestingly enough, suggests that Christians not be hunted out. (Ibid., No. 97). But again, if Christ were only a mythical character, these hostile sources would have been the first to emblazon that fact in derision.”


Below references are from: www.gotquestions.org/did-Jesus-exist.html

Julius Africanus “quotes the historian Thallus in a discussion of the darkness which followed the crucifixion of Christ (Extant Writings, 18).”


Lucian of Samosata “was a second-century Greek writer who admits that Jesus was worshiped by Christians, introduced new teachings, and was crucified for them. He said that Jesus' teachings included the brotherhood of believers, the importance of conversion, and the importance of denying other gods. Christians lived according to Jesus’ laws, believed themselves to be immortal, and were characterized by contempt for death, voluntary self-devotion, and renunciation of material goods.”


Mara Bar-Serapion “confirms that Jesus was thought to be a wise and virtuous man, was considered by many to be the king of Israel, was put to death by the Jews, and lived on in the teachings of His followers.”


“Then we have all the Gnostic writings (The Gospel of Truth, The Apocryphon of John, The Gospel of Thomas, The Treatise on Resurrection, etc.) that all mention Jesus. … In fact, we can almost reconstruct the gospel just from early non-Christian sources: Jesus was called the Christ (Josephus), did “magic,” led Israel into new teachings, and was hanged on Passover for them (Babylonian Talmud) in Judea (Tacitus), but claimed to be God and would return (Eliezar), which his followers believed, worshiping Him as God (Pliny the Younger).” 


ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE


bibleplaces.com – photographs & descriptions of archaeological sites that evidence and corroborate the Bible

blog.bibleplaces.com – ongoing discoveries and archaeological updates


“TOP TEN BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLGY DISCOVERIES”

from the Biblical Archeology Society by James Brashler, Jane Cahill West, Ze’ev Meshel, John Monson, Hershel Shanks, Suzanne F. Singer, Lawrence E. Stager, James F. Strange

(Available from http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/free-ebooks/ )


  1. The Nag Hammadi Library - Codices Shed New Light on Early Christian History
  2. The New ‘Ain Dara Temple: Closest Solomonic Parallel
  3. The Tel Dan (“David”) Stela
  4. Mona Lisa of the Galilee
  5. “Yahweh and His Asherah” The Kuntillet ‘Ajrud Ostraca
  6. St. Peter’s House: Has the House Where Jesus Stayed in Capernaum Been Found?
  7. The Siloam Pool: Where Jesus Cured the Blind Man
  8. Ashkelon’s Arched Gate: When Canaanites and Philistines Ruled Ashkelon
  9. Jerusalem’s Stepped-Stone Structure: Jerusalem in David and Solomon’s Time
  10. Jerusalem’s Babylonian Siege Tower: Remains of the Babylonian Siege


More Amazing Archaeological Discoveries

A Common Flood Story, The Code of Hammurabi, The Nuzi Tablets, The Existence of Hittites, The Merneptah Stele, Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically, Shishak’s Invasion of Judah, The Moabite Stone, Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, Burial Plaque of King Uzziah,  Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription, The Sennacherib Prism, The Cylinder of Cyrus the Great 

(Available from: http://www.equip.org/articles/biblical-archaeology-factual-evidence-to-support-the-historicity-of-the-bible/ )


RESOURCES FOR FUTURE STUDY


What does God say through the Bible?

www.gotquestions.org –  almost 400,000 answers to life, spiritual, and Bible questions.


Is Christianity True?

  • I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist – by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek, shows how there is more evidence for Christianity than evolution/naturalism
  • The Case for Christ – by Lee Strobel – simply explains much of the evidence for Christianity
  • Scientific Facts in the Bible: 100 Reasons to Believe the Bible is Supernatural in Origin by Ray Comfort
  • The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell


Creation vs. Evolution

  • www.evolutionvsgod.com – A 38-minute video, with over 1.7 million views, of interviews with atheist professors and scholars concerning their beliefs in evolution.
  • answersingenesis.org - Provides answers to questions about the Bible regarding issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth
  • www.reasons.org - explains scientific discoveries and shows how they continue to evidence the truthfulness of Scripture
  • Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion & Naturalism by Alvin Plantiga


Archaeological Evidence

bibleplaces.com – blog.bibleplaces.com -   www.biblicalarchaeology.org/free-ebooks


Comparison of Christianity with other World Religions

www.4truth.net – A reasoned approach to Christianity


Additional Resources

  • Life's Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy by Ronald H. Nash
  • Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics by William Lane Craig
  • Who Made God? And Answers to Over 100 Other Tough Questions of Faith by  Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler
  • Reasons for Faith: Making a Case for the Christian Faith Norman L. Geisler and Chad V. Meister

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