How did the writers of the New Testament know what to say

and how do we know they got it right?

  • In the gospels, the disciples often did not understand.
  • In Galatians 2:11 – 14, Paul records an incident when Peter did not get it just right.
  • Asserting the Bible is true because we believe it to be the Word of God is circular logic.
  • Many people believe that the Bible contains the ideas of well-meaning people, but that they were as fallible as anyone else.
  • How do we make a case for the Bible being the Word of God, not the best efforts of men?

Promises Recorded

  1. John claimed that Jesus promised them accurate memories.
    • John 14:25 – 26 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you, but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
    • John 16:12 – 13 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.”
  2. Matthew claimed that, when Jesus sent the Twelve out, He promised them help in saying the right thing (Matthew 10:19 – 20): “But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak.  For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
  3. Luke claimed that Jesus promised His disciples help in what to say as they spread the Good News (Luke 12:11 – 12): “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
  4. Mark claimed that Jesus promised the Twelve help in what to say as the destruction of Jerusalem approached (Mark 13:11): “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand or premeditate what you will speak.  But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak but the Holy Spirit.”

Claims Made

  1. Luke
    • Attributed several of the sermons in Acts to the Holy Spirit: Acts 2:4, 4:8, 4:31, 6:10, 13:9.
    • Recorded miracles by the apostles and others as proof of their endorsement by God: Acts 2:3 – 8, 3:12 – 16, 5:12, 6:8, 8:6, 9:40 – 42, 13:12, 14:3.
  2. Paul
    • Ephesians 3:1 – 7, For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles, if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has not been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs of the same body and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.
    • Galatians 1:11 – 12 “But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel that was preached by me is not according to man.  For I neither received it from man nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
    • 1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
    • 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing because when you received the Word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, bat as it is in truth, the Word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
    • 1 Corinthians 2:10 But God has revealed them [the mystery, v7] to us through His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
    • 2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
  3. Peter: 1 Peter 1:12 To them [prophets of old] it was revealed that not to themselves but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit from heaven – things into which angels long to look.
  4. John: Revelation 1:1 (and repeatedly throughout) The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show His servants, things which must shortly take place.  And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.
  • If we claim that the New Testament is a product of human thinking, then we must reject it entirely as a fraud. We would have no means of determining which parts are good advice and which parts are the product of deception (intended or not)
  • During the time of the writing of the New Testament, the church had no central organization and no distribution network. The various books and letters were sent to specific people or small groups in specific places.
  • In order to be spread, the recipients would be the only ones through which distribution could be accomplished.
  • The recipients knew the writers and had observed their various abilities to perform miracles. The miraculous events are recorded in Acts.
  • If the author had been known to the audience years before and they thought he was crazy or fraudulent, they would not distribute the letter.
  • If the author had been known to the audience as a very nice person and good teacher, but not miraculous, the recipients would probably destroy the letter in order to preserve the reputation of a good man who, obviously, was having some severe delusions. Certainly, they would not distribute that which they knew was a fraud.
  • The fact that these letters were distributed implies the endorsement of those who distributed them, those who had first-hand knowledge of the validity of the claims.