The Gospels are historically reliable documents. Some of the main arguments and pieces of evidence pointing to the historical reliability of the Gospels are given in this lecture.
I. Historical Criticisms
A. Responding to the "KJV Only" Claims
1. Why the Majority Text became the majority
2. There is no single "Textus Receptus"
3. What about the Old Testament?
4. What about other languages?
5. Contrast Islam
B. Questions to Introduce Source Criticism
1. What is the Synoptic problem?
2. Why does it matter?
3. Why are the Gospels almost certainly literarily interrelated?
C. The Synoptic Problem
1. As an interpretive tool
2. As a historical tool
4. Two opposite uses
a. How tradition changed?
b. How tradition was guarded?
E. Are the Gospels Historically Reliable?
1. Were the first Christians interested in preserving reliable history?
a. The delay of the "parousia"
b. Early Christian Prophecy
2. Were Christians Able to Recover the Jesus of History?
a. Early Responses to Form Criticism
i. Short period of oral tradition
ii. Use of note-taking by rabbis
iii. Tendency to abbreviate
iv. Presence of hostile eye-witnesses
v. Existence of center of leadership
vi. Difficult sayings of Jesus
vii. Distinctions as in 1 Corinthians 7:10-12
b. Two More Recent Developments
i. The memorization hypothesis
ii. Flexible transmission within fixed limits