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New Testament Textual Critism and Historic Apologetics


Evidence of the New Testament

Most people have no idea the power of the evidence of the New Testament. Here you can learn of the scientific evidence.
No ancient book from history has even a tenth of the critical validity, history authentication or epistemic corroboration.

Dr. Lydia McGrew

Dr. McGrew has found the impossible. Her work has established that the details and congruency of the gospels including John which is outside the synoptics can not be accidental nor can it be prearranged by mankind. Given her methodology and epistemological training there can be no doubt that God indeed ordained the writing of the Gospels.

Textual Criticism Dan Wallace

The evidence of the New Testament history and authority is called "An embarrassment of riches". There is not a single book written in all of ancient history for which we have even a tenth of the evidence we do for the New Testament.

Dr. Keener on Acts

The Jesus is in the Details. So many verifiable details in the book of Acts. Acts speaks of the time of the Disciples and the history of Paul to this imprisonment in Rome before his execution.  Dr. Keener has written a 4 volume set on the book of Acts.

Bart Ehrman said

"Bruce Metzger is one of the great scholars of modern times, and I dedicated the book to him because he was both my inspiration for going into textual criticism and the person who trained me in the field. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And even though we may disagree on important religious questions – he is a firmly committed Christian and I am not – we are in complete agreement on a number of very important historical and textual questions. If he and I were put in a room and asked to hammer out a consensus statement on what we think the original text of the New Testament probably looked like, there would be very few points of disagreement – maybe one or two dozen places out of many thousands.  The position I argue for in ‘Misquoting Jesus’ does not actually stand at odds with Prof. Metzger’s position that the essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament."

Ehrman Project

Bart Ehrman has done great harm in distorting the facts. Here Textual Critics refute Ehrmans claims and set the record straight. We find the confidence we can have in the gospels is without equal.

Textual Critic Edward Andrews refutes Bart Ehrman

The facts from textual Critic Dr. Edward Andrews  This also brings you to the work being done on the USAV Bible translation and other materials from Dr. Andrews.

New Testament Textual Critism on Trial

The best discussion I have seen on the subject.

The Gospels

The Evidence

  • Paul died between 62 and 64 AD.

     BUT, to cease from the examples of old time, let us come to those who contended in the days nearest to us; let us take the noble examples of our own generation.   Through jealousy and envy the greatest and most righteous pillars of the Church were persecuted and contended unto death.   Let us set before our eyes the good apostles:   Peter, who because of unrighteous jealousy suffered not one or two but many trials, and having thus given his testimony went to the glorious place which was his due.   Through jealousy and strife Paul showed the way to the prize of endurance;   seven times he was in bonds, he was exiled, he was stoned, he was a herald both in the East and in the West, he gained the noble fame of his faith,   he taught righteousness to all the world, and when he had reached the limits of the West he gave his testimony before the rulers, and thus passed from the world and was taken up into the Holy Place,—the greatest example of endurance.(Clement I, 5:1-7, Lake)

Mindful of him, do ye by all means know that Jesus the Lord was truly born of Mary, being made of a woman; and was as truly crucified. For, says he, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of the Lord Jesus.” And He really suffered, and died, and rose again. For says [Paul], “If Christ should become passible, and should be the first to rise again from the dead.” And again, “In that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God.” Otherwise, what advantage would there be in [becoming subject to] bonds, if Christ has not died? what advantage in patience? what advantage in [enduring] stripes? And why such facts as the following: Peter was crucified; Paul and James were slain with the sword; John was banished to Patmos; Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews who killed the Lord? But, [in truth,] none of these sufferings were in vain; for the Lord was really crucified by the ungodly. 

Tertullian records the way that Paul was martyred in his Prescription Against Heretics (200 AD) indicating that the apostle had a similar death to that of John the Baptist, who was beheaded – Quintus Septimius Florens, Tertullian. “Prescription Against Heretics Chapter XXXVI.”

Eusebius of Caesarea in his Church History (320 AD) says that when a general persecution was raised against the Christians by Nero, about A.D. 64, under pretense that they had set Rome on fire, both St. Paul and St. Peter then sealed the truth with their blood; the latter being crucified with his head downward; the former being beheaded, either in A.D. 64 or 65, and buried in the Via Ostiensis. He also wrote that the tombs of these two apostles, with their inscriptions, were extant in his time; and quotes as his authority a holy man of the name of Caius. – Caesarea, Eusebius. “Church History Book II Chapter 25:5–6.”

Jerome in his De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men) (392 AD) likewise confirms that Paul was beheaded at Rome – Saint, Jerome. “On Illustrious Men Chapter 5.”

64 ce

He was converted to faith in Jesus Christ about 33 ce, and he died, probably in Rome, circa 62–64 ce.

  • Paul is quoting the gospel of Luke. Which means Luke was written before 64 AD.

That means second Timothy was written prior to 64 AD.

That means first Timothy was written prior to that.

Both first and second Timothy assume authority by a person extremely close to Timothy as very personal and pertinent events are discussed about Timothy's life. Both are autographed in it's opening.

1 Timothy 5:18 reads

18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages

The first quote called uses here is from Deuteronomy.

The second quote is from Luke.

  • Now, Polycarp, Clement, and Papias all are contemporaries of the first century and every single one of them tells us the same thing occurred.


14. Papias gives also in his own work other accounts of the words of the Lord on the authority of Aristion who was mentioned above, and traditions as handed down by the presbyter John; to which we refer those who are fond of learning. But now we must add to the words of his which we have already quoted the tradition which he gives in regard to Mark, the author of the Gospel.

15. “This also the presbyter960 said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ.961173For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses,962 so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.” These things are related by Papias concerning Mark.

16. But concerning Matthew he writes as follows: “So then963 Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able.”964 And the same writer uses testimonies from the first Epistle of John965 and from that of Peter likewise.966 And he relates another story of a woman, who was accused of many sins before the Lord, which is contained in the Gospel according to the Hebrews.967 These things we have thought it necessary to observe in addition to what has been already stated.


1. And thus when the divine word had made its home among them,387 the power of 116Simon was quenched and immediately destroyed, together with the man himself.388 And so greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter’s hearers that they were not satisfied with hearing once only, and were not content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark,389 a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them. Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the man, and had thus become the occasion of the written Gospel which bears the name of Mark.390

2. And they say that Peter when he had learned, through a revelation of the Spirit, of that which had been done, was pleased with the zeal of the men, and that the work obtained the sanction of his authority for the purpose of being used in the churches." 393

4. Farther on he says: “But now, as the blessed presbyter said, since the Lord being the apostle of the Almighty, was sent to the Hebrews, Paul, as sent to the Gentiles, on account of his modesty did not subscribe himself an apostle of the Hebrews, through respect for the Lord, and because being a herald and apostle of the Gentiles he wrote to the Hebrews out of his superabundance.”

5. Again, in the same books, Clement gives the tradition of the earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following manner:

6. The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark1874 had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it.

7. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John, perceiving that the external1875 facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel.”1876 This is the account of Clement.


"I can even describe the place where the blessed Polycarp used to sit and discourse— his going out, too, and his coming in— his general mode of life and personal appearance, together with the discourses which he delivered to the people; also how he would speak of his familiar intercourse with John, and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord; and how he would call their words to remembrance. Whatsoever things he had heard from them respecting the Lord, both with regard to His miracles and His teaching, Polycarp having thus received information from the eye-witnesses of the Word of life, would recount them all in harmony with the Scriptures."

Matthew's gospel was written first then Mark then Luke.

We know where they were written We know to whom they were written and we know why they were written.

There's no disagreement.

There's not even anyone questioning the authorship of the gospels until more than 300 years after they were written.

So all the evidence we have, every single bit of it is not only unanimous but all points to the writings of the gospels in the order of Matthew then Mark then Luke and finally John.

So if Luke was written third and was written before 1st Timothy then at the very latest we're looking at the mid 50s.

Paul uses Luke as an authoritative source.

Therefore Matthew and Mark had to be written before this placing them as early as the early '40s.

You can actually view the earliest manuscripts we have at this at the center for study of New Testament manuscripts. 

Photographs and translations of the document can be viewed online here.

For further evidence consider the gospel of John chapter 5 verses 1 through 3 and the placement of time and throughout these three verses.

Verse 1 is in the past tense verse 2 is in the present tense and verse 3 is in the past tense.

John says the pool of Bethesda is in existence. That means it was in existence at the time of the writing of the book of John because John was written to the Hebrews who lived in Jerusalem and they would know quite well whether or not that pool was in existence at that time or not.

It was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans.

You can research anything I'm saying here for yourself.

We know when Paul died.

We know that Paul quotes Luke.

You can view the earliest manuscripts of this for yourself.


This is how we know we had the New Testament canon long before the council of Nicaea (325 AD)

Across the top we have  
Ignatius          50-117
Polycarp     69-155
Maricon            85 – 160
Valentinus       100-180
Justin Martyr    100-165
Irenaeus     120-200
Clement    ?-101
Tertullian  150-220
Muratorian Canon    170
Origen     185-253
Eusebius    260-339

Codex Sinaiticus.jpg

320 AD

Codex  contains  about half of the Greek Old Testament (or Septuagint) survived, along with a complete New Testament, the entire Deuterocanonical books, the Epistle of Barnabas and portions of The Shepherd of Hermas.

Codex Vaticanus.jpg

325 AD

Codex Vaticanus : New Testament begins at fol. 618. Owing to the loss of the final quinterns, a portion of the Pauline Epistles is missing: Hebrews 9:14-13:25, the Pastoral Letters, Epistle to Philemon; also the Apocalypse. It is possible that there may also be some extra-canonical writings missing, like the Epistle of Clement. The order of the New Testament books is as follows: Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Catholic Epistles, St. Paul to the Romans, Corinthians (I-II), Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Thessalonians (I-II), Hebrews.

All of the above predates the Counsil of Nicaea


Anonymous Gospels?

Dan McClellan
Assigning Authorship to the Anonymous Gospels

A case from a PhD in theology & religion Honorary Fellow, Cadbury Centre

Refuting Dan McClellan

Write a title here. Click to edit.

It is true that none of the Gospels name their authors.  Does this mean anonymous? Did I place my name in this segment? Am I writing anonymously? 

He makes a big deal concerning John but leaves out a few key pieces of evidence. His primary evidence also is lacking. 

Speaking in first person plural is not uncommon. It is inclusive to the audience and in no way requires a group of writers. I use this often in my writing as a way to gain connection with the audience or to show a connection that already exists. This is consistent with both 1st & 2nd John.  John does name himself directly in Revelation 1:4.  Given the early evidence that John wrote the epistles and revelation we have a base of context, style, and literary skill by which we can evaluate the writer of the Gospel.  The consistency is quite strong on a number of fronts. The theology is very consistent. John is the only one who refers to God as "Logos". This occurs not only in the gospel but also in 1 John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13.  His skill with Greek is not great  

This is constant throughout all His writings. Moreover John is both extraordinarily compassionate and loving while simultaneously strict and direct. This again is very consistent throughout the writing of Johns works. 

The consistency is such that given 10 Greek writers we could easily take all ten of them and instantly pick out which was written by John.

The use of a specific verse from John 21 does not do the context justice. 

"20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.". 

McClellan says 

"Now the first person to assign traditional authorship to all four gospels as we know them today was Irenaeus of Lyons around 10 CE" 

This is worded very carefully.  Using this wording he can avoid Clement of Rome who is quoted by Eusebius .

"The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it.

7. When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. But, last of all, John, perceiving that the externa facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel."

 This is the account of Clement."

Furthermore he walks right past wat was actually said by Irenaeus.  

:For, while I was yet a boy, I saw you in Lower Asia with Polycarp, distinguishing yourself in the royal court, and endeavouring to gain his approbation. For I have a more vivid recollection of what occurred at that time than of recent events (inasmuch as the experiences of childhood, keeping pace with the growth of the soul, become incorporated with it); so that I can even describe the place where the blessed Polycarp used to sit and discourse — his going out, too, and his coming in — his general mode of life and personal appearance, together with the discourses which he delivered to the people; also how he would speak of his familiar intercourse with John, and with the rest of those who had seen the Lord; and how he would call their words to remembrance. Whatsoever things he had heard from them respecting the Lord, both with regard to His miracles and His teaching, Polycarp having thus received [information] from the eye-witnesses of the Word of life, would recount them all in harmony with the Scriptures.


McClellan begin s by telling us that Matthew was not written in Hebrew (Aramaic) and gives no reason why this is not true. The fact is that in the southern  tip of India there is a group of Christians dating back to 1st century. They received the word form Thomas. Now tradition holds that Barnabus took the original Gospel of Matthew to Thomas who was in India. 

Eusebius, the Bishop of Caesarea, records Apostle Bartholomew’s name in his Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius in the early 4th century. He points out that Pantaenus visited India in the 2nd century and found a hand-written copy of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew.

The story of Pantaneus’s visit to India is of great importance. In the first place, it tells us that a Christian community existed at that time. The discovery of the Gospel of Matthew in Hebrew suggests that the earliest Christians in India were Jewish believers.,52%20and%20baptized%20their%20forefathers.

Sayings Gospels?

Are there not the sayings of Jesus within these gospels? Is it reasonable to to believe that Papias was speaking to these sayings? Matthew in fact has more direct sayings of Jesus than any other gospel.  Can we dismiss Papias based on an interpretation of what he meant by "sayings gospel" while we know that these are full of sayings of the Christ? 

Heres what Paias says 

:3 “But I shall not hesitate also to put down for you along with my interpretations whatsoever things I have at any time learned carefully from the elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those that speak much, but in those that teach the truth; not in those that relate strange commandments, but in those that deliver the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and springing from the truth itself."

This is not at all a preference of living voices to written accounts as McClellan asserts. 

This also is not people who knew people who knew people who knew people who knew Jesus. This is Papias who was taught by the Apostle John. 

Now we examine the account of Judas' death. These two accounts are not contradictory at all but in fact make sense put together. 

Judas betrayed Jesus. He became terribly depressed and neglected his own care. He grew big from seeking pleasure in food. He was thus large and stank. He eventually hung himself. As the corpse bloated and rotted it fell from the tree and burst upon the ground.  There is no reason whatsoever to assume Papias had any issue with the Gospel of Matthew. 

From this point he goes on to make a case of why the authorship is assigned as it is. The problem with this idea as given is in the book of Hebrews which we do not know who wrote it.  It has been attributed to everyone from Paul to Priscilla to Apollos to Barnabus and many others.  If these gospels were  anonymous we would see something resembling what we have in the book of Hebrews but we see nothing of the sort. 

Next McClellan says that we already had a gospel of Peter which is false. 

Papias writings are considered 110-140 while the apocryphal gospel of peter is dated to mid to late second century. 

Next we find a mistake by McClellan. He tells us that the author of Luke also wrote Acts and identifies themselves.  He fails to mention that Luke directly identifies himself as Luke in the book of Acts. 

This is a direct contradiction of the opening statement given. 

As per the norm we see only 1/2 the facts given, we see instead of an open and honest evaluation, we see misdirection, false statements, and omission of hard facts. 

Who Wrote The Gospels? How do we Know? What does the Evidence say?

St Augustine, Contra Faustum Manichaeum 383 AD

Authorship of the New Testament.

How can we be sure of the authorship of any book, if we doubt the apostolic origin of those books which are attributed to the apostles by the Church which the apostles themselves founded, and which occupies so conspicuous a place in all lands, and if at the same time we acknowledge as the undoubted production of the apostles what is brought forward by heretics in opposition to the Church, whose authors, from whom they derive their name, lived long after the apostles? And do we not see in profane literature that there are well-known authors under whose names many things have been published after their time which have been rejected, either from inconsistency with their ascertained writings, or from their not having been known in the lifetime of the authors, so as to be banded down with the confirmatory statement of the authors themselves, or of their friends? To give a single example, were not some books published lately under the name of the distinguished physician Hippocrates, which were not received as authoritative by physicians? And this decision remained unaltered in spite of some similarity in style and matter: for, when compared to the genuine writings of Hippocrates, these books were found to be inferior; besides that they were not recognized as his at the time when his authorship of his genuine productions was ascertained. Those books, again, from a comparison with which the productions of questionable origin were rejected, are with certainty attributed to Hippocrates; and any one who denies their authorship is answered only by ridicule, simply because there is a succession of testimonies to the books from the time of Hippocrates to the present day, which makes it unreasonable either now or hereafter to have any doubt on the subject. How do we know the authorship of the works of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Varro, and other similar writers, but by the unbroken chain of evidence? So also with the numerous commentaries on the ecclesiastical books, which have no canonical authority, and yet show a desire of usefulness and a spirit of inquiry. How is the authorship ascertained in each case, except by the author's having brought his work into public notice as much as possible in his own lifetime, and, by the transmission of the information from one to another in continuous order, the belief becoming more certain as it becomes more general, up to our own day; so that, when we are questioned as to the authorship of any book, we have no difficulty in answering?


In a brick wall each brick supports all the surrounding bricks. To cast doubt upon one requires us to doubt all those that support the one we seek to discredit.  To refute Ignatius I must discredit those that refer to him directly and those that knew him and wrote of him from authority of knowledge.  This wall of faith is built upon the foundation of the Gospels and cannot be refuted.

The way that critics describe anonymity is a personal name attached to the original document. Lets examine that for a moment. 

First they tell us that one major issue with describing the text as "inerrant" is that we do not have the  originals. If this is an issue for inerrancy then it is also an issue for anonymity.  They cannot have it both ways. 

Second they are applying the strictest possible requirements for authorship. These requirements are so very strict that applying these same criteria to any other document be for 1500 AD we arrive with almost zero verifiable authorship in the history of mankind. 

Finally to do so is to dismiss ALL the evidence we have for authorship.

Every single page we have that bears the first page of any gospel also bears the name of the author. We have no first page of any gospel that is not also titled with the name Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Not a single one. 

King James Only?

Textus Receptus

Textus Receptus is a translation from byzantine into Greek from a Dutch scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam . What is interesting is that he rushed the job and was not satisfied with the work he had produced o he did it again, and again, and again,  creating 5 different translations into Greek.  After this, Dutch scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam  rewrote the receptus 4 more times. Then Theodore Beza rewrote Ersmaus work 9 times. 

"By the time the King James translators got to work on their new Bible version, the Textus Receptus had gone through over a dozen extensive edits and corrections. They relied on Beza’s work but not exclusively, nor did they always agree with it. There are roughly 200 places in the New Testament where the King James translators parted ways with Beza’s rendering, instead relying on earlier editions of the Textus Receptus. They also relied on earlier English translations, the third edition of the Bishop’s Bible (1602) being the foundational English version from which they worked."

There is this idea that the KJV translators were some devoutly spiritual God lead men of Apostolic faith and renown. No, they were college professors and deans.  They were the best scholars of the time. The were from Cambridge and Oxford. Here is the list.

The kJV only advocates will always refer back to the 1611 KJV as the authoritative word of God as there are more than 30 KJV translations. Here you can veiw the 1611 bible and try to read it for yourself. Most KJV 1611 advocates could never read this olde english.

Finally we see that the 1611 KJV also had included the apocrypha. Here is a list of apocraphal books included.

Newton said: 'This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from th

Isaac Newton-

'This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being ... This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God.'


The Bible

63779 Cross References

40 authors

3 languages

7 cultures

3 continents

over 3500 years

Written by 6,500 contributors, the Encyclopedia Americana includes over 9,000 bibliographies, 150,000 cross-references, 1,000+ tables, 1,200 maps, and almost 4,500 black-and-white line art and color images.

At 30 volumes it dwarfs the Bibles page count. It took more than 20 years to complete. 

So how does the bible have more than 1/3 of the cross references that the entire Encyclopedia Americana does and yet less than 1/10th the size? 

The Encyclopedia is intentionally built as a cross reference tool and designed for  referencing, the bible was written by those who did not know one another, lived in very different times, places, and cultures. 

This is impossible without God. 

Men cannot do this. 

 Proof of a Painter



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