Article - Jesus Was a Historical Man (part 1)
There is more evidence for the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth (c. 4 B.C. – A.D. 30) than any other person of antiquity. Even our dating system centers on Jesus’ existence (B.C. means “before Christ” and A.D. is a Latin phrase anno domini meaning “in the year of our Lord”). This article will consider the primary source of evidence, namely, the New Testament (written c. A.D. 45-95, consisting of 27 books). There are over 5,500 Greek manuscripts and thousands of copies of the New Testament dating as early as A.D. 130 that attest to the fact that Jesus was a man who lived on the earth and was the Son of God. The New Testament was written by at least 8 inspired writers who with their combined efforts make reference to Jesus over 1500 times. Most of these writers were with Jesus for many years (namely, Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter and Jude). They knew Jesus personally, and as reliable eyewitnesses, they wrote about Him as early as fifteen years after His resurrection. James (Jesus’ brother and perhaps the earliest New Testament writer) was considered a historical person not only by the New Testament but by the first century A.D. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (c. A.D. 37-100). James wrote around A.D. 45 the following: “James, a servant of God and of the LORD JESUS CHRIST, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: greetings” (James 1:1). John, one of Jesus’ twelve apostles, wrote around A.D. 95: “I…in tribulation…was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of JESUS CHRIST” (Revelation 1:9). Another writer of the New Testament by the name of Paul (former enemy of Christ and Christianity and a later eyewitness) wrote around A.D. 56: “…CHRIST died…was buried…rose again the third day…was seen by over five hundred brethren at once…He was seen by me also” (I Corinthians 15:3-8). The New Testament evidence is more than adequate to establish the undeniable fact that Jesus existed and was/is the Son of God.
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