How Do We Know the Gospels Are Inspired?

Greg offers reasons we can know the gospels are the inspired Word of God both from objective and personal standpoints. 



00:06 So here's a question that has stumped me a little bit because I wasn't exactly

00:13 sure the best way to answer it. The question is: Is there a good way to show

00:17 that the gospels are inspired? Now I believe they are inspired. I believe in

00:23 the inerrancy of God's word, and I actually have an approach to show

00:29 that the Bible is inspired, and I give six different reasons that the Bible has

00:35 the mark of the supernatural on it. It claims to be a book by God to men and

00:41 taken as a whole it gives reasons we can see – issues, or elements, or evidences that

00:50 it is what it claims to be. God is involved in bringing this to men. It's

00:54 not merely a human document. But the question really is about the gospels

00:57 proper. And the reason I pause there is because I do not try to demonstrate that

01:05 the gospels are inspired. That is, that God is the one responsible for having

01:12 written the gospels, essentially, and therefore they're reliable. I don't think

01:17 that's the best way to go about making the case for Christianity. I don't

01:23 want to try to persuade someone in a sense, independently – these books are

01:29 spoken by God and therefore then we ought to believe what they have to say,

01:33 okay? I take a different approach and frankly, most of my my colleagues in the

01:41 business, so to speak, take the same approach that I take, okay? We don't

01:45 invite people to consider the inspiration of the gospels. Rather, we try

01:50 to demonstrate that the gospels are historically reliable documents about

01:56 the life and death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

02:03 The reason we do that is because there is a separate, in a certain sense,

02:09 secular canon of tests that can be used of any documents from the past to

02:16 see if those documents reflect or report accurate history. And so this then

02:22 becomes a secular kind of enterprise, not a religious enterprise which actually

02:29 turns out to be more persuasive for a lot of people. If they're asked to

02:32 believe some religious truth, well that's what they're resisting already, but if we

02:36 say here's how secular historians go about the task of determining what

02:41 documents from the past are actually historically sound, and it turns out that

02:47 the gospels are that, okay now we've got a whole different situation. And in fact,

02:52 in The Story of Reality I have a couple of chapters that deal with this very

02:57 issue, okay, and it makes it very plain and easily accessible.

03:00 I don't want to go into those details right now, but I just want to point out

03:03 that the key here is to show that the gospels are historically reliable

03:09 because when we look at the history that they reliably record, what do we have? We

03:15 have this incredible history of Jesus of Nazareth who teaches profound things,

03:20 does profound things, dies on a cross, three days later the tomb is empty, He's

03:26 risen from the dead. Wow, if that's historically reliable, you see how that

03:30 can make our case? And in fact, the early Christians who were, I should say the

03:35 early skeptics who became Christians, were not convinced about

03:41 Jesus because somebody had an argument why the New Testament or the gospels

03:46 were divinely inspired. They weren't even written yet. What they

03:50 had was a testimony of the disciples who were eyewitnesses of the events that

03:55 Jesus had died and risen again, and they saw Him, and they ate with Him, and they

04:01 talked with Him, and they were willing to stake their life upon that, and therefore

04:04 their testimony was persuasive, okay. We can do the same

04:08 thing, alright? So I think the key here is not to argue that

04:14 the gospel accounts are inspired by God because then that invites all kinds of

04:21 objections about apparent contradictions. If instead what we say is they were

04:26 historically reliable, well historically reliable accounts, parallel accounts, do

04:31 have apparent contradictions. That's ordinary. So that wouldn't be a problem

04:35 for us at this point, okay? And in that way they come to trust the content of

04:42 the gospels. What they say actually happened with Jesus, and now we have a

04:48 grounds to make the case that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Okay, one post script:

04:54 As I was thinking about this, I realized there is a way that I use to help people

05:02 to discover that the gospels are inspired by God. I have them read them.

05:10 Just think of not only all the Christians you know but yourself. If you

05:16 believe that the gospels are God's inspired word, did you come to believe

05:21 that because some Christian gave you a great argument for that particular fact?

05:27 No, most people who are Christians and believe the gospels are inspired believe

05:34 it because they encountered the gospels and the Jesus in the gospels, and as they

05:41 read, and as they engage, and as they thought about it, something happened, and

05:46 they were persuaded that this was not just the words of man but the words of

05:54 God Himself. That's the most powerful way to persuade someone that the gospels are

06:01 in fact God's word.


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Greg Koukl