Galatians 1:6-12; Luke 19:28-44
Read National Geographic article on the Gospel of Judas

I. The Sources Of The Gospel

Luke was a physician- Col. 4:14 Luke was an inquisitive, detail oriented, intelligent man.
Luke’s narrative was just that: a report about factual occurrences.
He did not seek to compose a fictional account.
He did not write with symbolism as the energizing force.
He wrote about the history of Christ.

A. Human Sources

1. Luke says that many had already written about Jesus.
Luke may have been alluding to Matthew’s account, and Mark’s account.
2. Luke had other sources as well. See 1:2
Luke sought out eyewitnesses.

a. autoptes, ow-top’-tace; self-seeing, i.e. an eye-witness
b. A medical term from Dr. Luke.
c. From autoptes, we get the word autopsy.
d. A personal, first hand investigation. Seeing for yourself.

3. Not just those who had seen Jesus personally.

a. But those who had been ministers to Him and with Him.
b. huperetes, hoop-ay-ret’-ace;- an under-oarsman, a subordinate
c. Also a medical term.
Used of those who assisted the principal Physician in a case

4. These are the ones that Luke sought out in order to verify the facts re. Jesus
5. This may have taken years.
No doubt, it took a great deal of time to find and interview all these people
In Luke, we have the accounts of the announcements of the births of both John the Baptist, and of Jesus.
No doubt, Luke sought out Elizabeth, mother of John.
He sought out Mary, mother of Jesus.

6. Other verses that support this kind of authentic research re. the N.T

a. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
b. 1 John 1:1-4

II. The Method Of Writing The Gospel

A. Luke checked his facts V. 1:3

Luke 1:3 However, it occurred to me that it would be well to recheck all these accounts from first to last and after thorough investigation to pass this summary on to you, TLB

1. It wasn’t that Luke knew all the facts from the beginning,..

a. It was that he got his facts, starting with the beginning.
b. Then he checked them. He investigated to make sure they were accurate.

B. Luke was led of God in his narrative.

1. Luke investigated everything from the beginning, chronologically speaking.
2. But he was also led by God in his investigative reporting.

a. 2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,
b. 2 Pet 1:20,21 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

3. Luke’s investigative reporting was an unbiased, spirit led investigation

III. The Purpose Of Writing The Gospel

Why all this effort? What was the purpose behind this kind of work?

1. Answered in verse 1:4
2. That Theophilus would have assurance that what he believed in was true

a. epiginosko, ep-ig-in-oce’-ko; to become fully acquainted with.
b. Much more than just intellectual conviction.
c. It is conviction that not only settles the mind, but the heart and soul.

3. Luke wanted Theophilus to have more than just oral teaching regarding Jesus

a. “in which you were instructed”-Katecheo catechism, verbal instruction.

i. Theophilus had been taught verbally about Jesus Christ.
ii. Luke sought to verify through investigative reporting, that which Theophilus had been taught.
iii. He sought to write it down so that the facts about Jesus would not become unclear over time.
iv. Evidently, Theophilus had no reliable document about Jesus

4. This was all done that Theophilus would have a verifiable, written document about the life of Jesus, and having such evidence, he would have a faith that he could base his life on.

IV. Christianity is a religion based upon verifiable, historical facts.

A. The accuracy of the Bible is unparalleled by any other ancient document.

1. Prophecy continues to be fulfilled in our lifetimes.

a. No prophecy mentioned in the gospels of Mary, Thomas Judas, etc.

2. Archeologists continue to discover truths which the Bible spoke of centuries ago.
3. Science continues to discover truths about man and creation, that the Bible spoke of thousands of years ago.
4. Ancient secular historians have written about the person of Jesus Christ.
5. Secular modern day historians have verified the accuracy of the biblical record.

a. “Luke has been found repeatedly to be historically accurate”, leading Sir William Ramsey, who doubted the historicity of Acts, to concede “Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness”

Some interesting Biblical facts

1. An inscription to Erastus (mentioned by Paul in Rom 16.23) found in Corinth in 1929
2. An inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate was discovered in 1961
3. Inscription mentioning Nazareth, previously questioned if it even existed in the first century, found 1962. Excavations at present day Nazareth show it was a site of veneration by Christians since early times, thus supporting its authenticity.
4. The pools of Siloam (Jn 9.7) and Bethesda (Jn 5.2) have both been uncovered in Jerusalem.
5. Gospel of John– John’s geography is so accurate, he even distinguishes Cana in Galilee from Cana in Sidon (2.1) and Bethany beyond the Jordan (1.28) from Bethany near Jerusalem (11.18).
6. The New Testament is the most frequently copied and widely circulated book of
antiquity. There are now more then 5300 known Greek manuscripts and over 24,000 in various languages.
7. It is now widely acknowledged that the earliest books were written by a generation after Jesus (Mark, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians all c 50 AD). Matthew, Luke, Acts and the Pauline letters are all widely dated around 50-70 AD.
8. As WF Albright notes, this time period is “too slight to permit any appreciable corruption of the essential centre and even of the specific wording of the saying of Jesus”
9. For example, there had never been any historical record of the court where Jesus Christ was tried by Pilate – called the “Gabbatha” or pavement in John 19:13. Many said, “It’s a myth. See … the Bible is not historical.”
William F. Albright, in The Archeology of Palestine, shows that this court was the court of the Tower of Antonia, which was the Roman military headquarters of Rome in Jerusalem. The court was destroyed between 66 A.D. – 70 A.D. during the siege of Jerusalem. It was left buried when the city was rebuilt in the time of Hadrian, and not discovered until recently.

NT in comparison to other ancient texts
Book Written Earliest Copy Time Differential Copies
N T. ad 50-100 ad 125 25-75 years 24 000
Iliad by Homer 900 bc 400 bc 500 years 643
History by Pliny ad 61-113 ad 850 750 years 7
Suetonius ad 75-160 ad 950 800 years 8
Gospel of Judas 180 ad 300-400 120-220 years 1

  • Only 40 lines or 400 words of the N.T. are in doubt, compared to 764 lines of the Iliad.
  • That’s 5% compared to 0.5% textual corruption in the New Testament.
  • Not one doctrine of the New Testament is put into question, plus given the amount of manuscripts we can be certain the true reading of every doubtful passage is preserved.
  • From all the works of the Early Church Fathers in the second and third centuries the entire New Testament could be reconstructed except for 11 verses.

Credible in that

1. All the writers were either eye-witnesses or acquired accounts from eye-witnesses (Luke 1.1-3, 2 Pet 1.16, 1 John 1.3, John 19.35)
2. Appeals are made to contemporaries that they themselves knew the truth of what was being said or could find it out (Acts 2.22, Acts 26.24-28, 1 Cor 15.6)
3. Stories circulated within a generation of events where they could have been rejected by those who would know that the accounts were false.

“The logical conclusion is that the case for the reliability of the New Testament is infinitely stronger than that for any other record of antiquity” – Howard Vos

Luke 19:41, 42 41Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace!

  • The Gospel of Judas says peace comes through death, separation of the soul from the body
  • Jesus says that peace come through Him.

Even with all the tangible evidence re. the N.T and Jesus, one must still be WILLING to believe
John 7:16, 17 16£Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.