Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Book Preview: Can We Trust the Gospels? by Peter J. Williams

About the Author

Peter J. Williams (PhD, University of Cambridge) is the principal of Tyndale House and the consulting editor and coordinator of this project. He is also chair of the International Greek New Testament Project, which is producing the largest scholarly edition ever attempted of a single book of the New Testament, namely the Editio Critica Maior of John's Gospel. He is the author of Early Syriac Translation Technique and the Textual Criticism of the Greek Gospels.

About the Book

The Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—tell the story of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ while he was on earth. But how do Christians know if they are true? What evidence is there that the events actually happened? This accessible introduction to the historical and theological reliability of the four Gospels, written by New Testament scholar Peter J. Williams, presents evidence from a variety of non-Christian sources, assesses how accurately the 4 accounts reflect the cultural context of their time, compares different accounts of crucial events, and considers how these texts were handed down throughout the centuries. Written for the skeptic, the scholar, and everyone in between, this book answers common objections raised against the historicity of the Gospels in order to foster trust in God's Word.


“The wild and unscholarly yet widely accepted assertion by Richard Dawkins that the only difference between The Da Vinci Code and the Gospels is that the Gospels are ancient fiction while The Da Vinci Code is modern fiction deserves a measured and scholarly response. There is no one better qualified than Peter Williams to provide it, and this book is a masterly presentation of a compelling cumulative case that ‘all of history hangs on Jesus.’”

- John C. Lennox, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford

“This much-needed book provides a mine of information for Christians wanting to know more about the historical background to the Gospels and offers a series of challenges to those skeptical of what we can know about Jesus. Peter Williams has distilled a mass of information and thought into this short and accessible book, and it deserves careful reading both inside and outside the church.”

- Simon Gathercole, Reader in New Testament Studies, University of Cambridge

You can learn more about this book here.

Order your copy here.

Courage and Godspeed,

Related Posts

Video: Eyewitnesses to Jesus? New Evidence for the Authenticity of the Gospels featuring Dr. Peter J. Williams

Resources to Investigate the Reliability of the Gospels

New Testament Scholar Craig Blomberg on the Gospels


Gary said...

Does the author believe that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses?

Chad said...

Hello Gary,

He does indeed! Check out this presentation by Williams.


Gary said...

I'm not a Bible scholar so it would be silly for me to attempt to critique this gentleman's critique of the evidence for the authorship of the Gospels. But what I can say is that the majority of Bible scholars do not believe that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses or the associates of eyewitnesses. Even scholar NT Wright, an ardent believer in the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus, has stated that "I do not know who the authors of the Gospels were, nor does anyone else."

So who should non-experts like myself believe: The majority of experts or this one gentleman?

Gary said...

Here is a video in which NT Wright makes the above statement:

Chad said...

Hello Gary,

Thank you for the comments and the video link. You ask- "So who should non-experts like myself believe: The majority of experts or this one gentleman?"

Frankly, I would believe whoever presented the better arguments! Also, I would recommend cold-case homicide detective J. Warner Wallace's book to you Cold-Case Christianity. Wallace deals with the questions of authorship and his book is a lot of fun to read!

Take care

Gary said...

Hi Chad,

I've read Warner's book. He makes a lot of interesting points, but most of them are based on the assumption that the Gospels are eyewitness accounts. What if they are not? Answer: His entire argument that the resurrection has sufficient evidence to convince a jury of its historicity collapses.

I would suggest that a non-expert's opinion on the authorship of an ancient text is worthless. I believe that we should trust expert opinion on such a complicated issue. Some Christians will say that the majority of experts (NT scholars) are either liberal Christians or agnostics/atheists who have a bias against the supernatural. Let's suppose that is true. Let's then look to see if we can find NT scholars who did not have a bias against the supernatural yet do not believe that there is sufficient evidence to believe that the Gospels are eyewitness accounts. Is there such a group of scholars? Yes there is! Roman Catholic New Testament scholars! These scholars very much believe in the supernatural and the reality of miracles yet the majority of Roman Catholic NT scholars do not believe in the eyewitness authorship of the Gospels. Highly respected Roman Catholic NT scholar Raymond Brown wrote a two volume work on the Gospels, titled, "The Death of the Messiah". He goes into great detail why he and the majority of scholars do not believe that the Gospels are eyewitness accounts. In the same book, Brown also chastises liberals who discount the historicity of an event simply because it involves supernatural elements or involves miracles. Brown is not biased against the supernatural. In addition, Brown, like most Roman Catholic NT scholars believed (he is deceased) in the Virgin Birth and the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

So in reality, the only scholars who still believe in the eyewitness authorship of the Gospels are evangelicals and fundamentalist Protestants.

Gary said...


If you were to discover that the Gospels were not written by eyewitness nor the associates of eyewitnesses but by Christians living in far away lands who had never stepped foot in Palestine, would that change your mind about the reliability of the Gospels?