a. Overall structure of the Bible; languages2. How the New Testament got to us
b. What the Bible claims for itself: A divinely inspired book, not a magical book or an object of worship
c. Shows the signs of how it reached us -- and thatís a good thing.
d. Itís OK to ask questions. Truth is neither "liberal" nor "conservative" -- itís just truth.
a. Textual criticism vs. higher criticism3. Some widespread misconceptions and sources of misconceptions
c. Manuscript copying
d. Translations: Vulgate (Latin), c 400; KJV, 1611; RSV, 1950s
e. Newer translations; manuscript scholarship
a. "Jesus never really existed"4. Did the Resurrection happen?
b. "The NT story evolved for a long time before being written down"
c. "People in ancient times were foolish and gullible"
d. "Science has proved miracles are impossible"
e. Scholars who make up their minds in advance (Metzgerís critique of Jesus Seminar)
f. Hypotheses and conjectures get mistaken for proven facts
g. Sensationalism: odd claims get disproportionate publicity
a. Miracles are not random acts of magic; they are messages from God.5. How to approach Jesus
b. If you assume a priori that it couldnít happen, you wonít know if it did.
c. This cannot be settled by scientific experiment. Instead, we must weigh the evidence.
d. Undeniable facts: Rise of early church; Gospels got written; Christians died for their faith; (crucially) dead body of Jesus was never found, even though many had motives for wanting to find and exhibit it.
e. If not the resurrection, then what? (Alternatives one by one.)
a. Are the Gospels a reasonably good record of what Jesus did and taught?
b. What do you think of the character of Jesus?
c. What does He demand of you?
d. (Last of all) What is His attitude toward the Scriptures?
[ Previous | Contents | Next ]