The Gospels are the record of the life of Jesus Christ from his birth to his resurrection
and ascension. This means that they are very important in understanding the life
and message of Jesus and that evidence to support the accuracy of their accounts
is vital to Real Christianity.
The Gospels are mainly concerned with the period known as Jesus’ ministry, during
which he travelled around Galilee teaching and healing and made visits to Jerusalem
for the major festivals of Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles and the like. The accounts
cover not only Jesus’ teaching and actions but the context in which these occurred.
This makes it easier to understand what Jesus is saying.
The fact that there are four Gospels means that there are four different pictures
of Jesus. This gives depth and allows the reader to compare these accounts to assess
their accuracy. The Gospels contain not only Jesus’ sayings and actions, but also
the context of the episodes described. This allows the accuracy of the Gospels to
The evidence is that the Gospels contain accurate records of the words and actions
of Jesus. The archaeology of the Gospels shows that not only is there an accurate
description of the places and general lifestyle of Judea and Galilee at the time
of Jesus, but that even tiny details of life are described with great fidelity. This
is supported by a look at the detailed correspondences between the Gospels accounts.
The language of the Gospels also shows that they report events from the time and
place of Jesus’ ministry, and one can carry out a serious study of the date of writing
of the Gospels which show that there would have been plenty of eyewitnesses to correct
any errors in the reporting of events.
The importance of the Gospels comes from the fact that they report the words and
actions of Jesus of Nazareth. The message of Jesus is mainly validated by his resurrection
from the dead, but other evidence also shows that he was prophet who brought a message
from God. This evidence includes the way that Jesus brought a message which was at
odds with the philosophies around, the way that his message developed the teaching
of the Old Testament but never contradicted it, and the fact that Jesus made accurate
predictions of future events.
This picture shows the remains of a street in Jerusalem, excavated by archaeologists.
This street passed down the side of the wall which formed the western side of the
Temple Mount, on which the Jerusalem Temple was built. This street would have been
in use at the time of Jesus and it is likely that Jesus walked along it.
The stones in the foreground are stones from the Temple above, thrown down in the
destruction of the Temple. Jesus predicted this destruction in advance when he said
that not one stone of the Temple would be left standing on another. (Matthew 24:2)
The Gospels were written in Greek in the middle of the first century AD. The writers
(Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) had access to eyewitnesses, although only John was
an eyewitness to all the incidents he reports. The linguistic background to the Gospels
is exactly what one would expect of an accurate set of accounts of events in Judea
and Galilee in the first half of the first century AD and there is a strong correspondence
between the known archaeology of the area at the time and the accounts in the Gospels.
There is also a long list of undesigned coincidences in the Gospels; these also provide
evidence that the accounts of events in them is extremely accurate.
The Gospels were copied by scribes and the copies were themselves copied. Early on
the Gospels, along with the rest of the New Testament, were translated into a variety
of ancient languages such as Latin, Aramaic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian. As a
result there are thousands of manuscript copies of the text. This means that computer
databases are needed to analyse the text, but the analysis confirms that the modern
text of the Gospels is essentially unchanged since they were written.