Some scholars say the New Testament writers invented many of the details of Jesus’ life and sayings and that they put words in His mouth. Is this true?
Answer: Some modern scholars are inclined to dismiss much of the New Testament, especially the Gospels, as inventions of the authors rather than real history. Many people embrace this idea because they don’t want to be under the authority of what Jesus said, and so they claim His words were not His words at all, but invented by the Gospel writers to meet some social or political need. But what does the evidence show?
In the writings of the New Testament the authors give no hint they are trying to invent anything, but just the opposite:
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us, and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).
“And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe” (John 19:35).
“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea” (Luke 3:1).
“I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely, for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him, for this thing was not done in a corner” (Acts 26:25-26).
“Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know” (Acts 2:22).
“For we are not as many, which corrupt the Word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17).
If the biblical writers invented their accounts, then they were the cleverest liars on earth; yet their writings have inspired many to great honesty and noble conduct. Surely it takes more faith to believe they were liars than that they were telling the truth!