Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

Today’s post, as well as several posts to come, are excerpts from my new book, Can We Trust the Gospels? Investigating the Reliability of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Influence of the Internet can also be seen in the basic format of this book. Millions of web sites use a F.A.Q. page—Frequently Asked Questions—to respond to the most common inquiries from visitors. Can We Trust the Gospels? is an extended F.A.Q. It is structured by a series of basic questions about the Gospels:

• Can we know what the original Gospel manuscripts really said?
• Did the evangelists know Jesus personally?
• When were the Gospels written?
• What sources did the Gospel writers use?
• Did early Christian oral tradition reliably pass down the truth about Jesus?
• What are the New Testament Gospels?
• What difference does it make that there are four Gospels?
• Are there contradictions in the Gospels?
• If the Gospels are theology, can they be history?
• Do miracles undermine the reliability of the Gospels?
• Do historical sources from the era of the Gospels support their reliability?
• Does archeology support the reliability of the Gospels?
• Did the political agenda of the early church influence the content of the Gospels?
• Why do we have only four Gospels in the Bible?
• Can we trust the Gospels after all?

The pages ahead contain answers that are the result of more than three decades of investigation, involving hundreds of hours of seminary teaching, thousands of hours of thinking, and myriads of pages of reading. For the sake of my intended audience, I have condensed all of this into relatively few pages. You won’t find complex arguments with elaborate footnotes in this book, even though many of my conclusions grow out of such complexity and elaboration. If you’re looking for more data than I can provide here, I’ll try to point you in helpful directions through the footnotes.
My hope is that, as you read this book, you will come to believe that you can trust the biblical Gospels. Even as Luke wrote the third Gospel so that his readers might “know the truth” concerning Jesus (Luke 1:4), so have I written this book.

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