What Were the Disciples Saying About Jesus Prior to Writing the Gospels?

Here is another article along the same themes of what I have written before. James Wallace is a friend and great inspiration to me. He just spoke on our campus here this past Fall.  In my opinion, the only correction is where he says ‘Paul converted to Christianity’… I have argued elsewhere that we don’t have a ‘Christianity’ as a seperate religion or an ‘offical’ religion at this period. Did Paul become a follower of Jesus? Yes! Paul had a ‘call.’ But he didn’t ‘convert’ from Judaism to Christianity. Anyway, other than that, this is a good article.

What Were the Disciples Saying About Jesus Prior to Writing the Gospels? By James Warner Wallace

Last weekend I had the great honor of speaking several times at Southern Evangelical Seminary’s National Apologetics Conference. The highlight of my time there (aside from hanging out with my dear friends, Frank and Stephanie Turek) was the panel discussion where I joined Gary Habermas, Ted Wright, Joseph Bergeron, and Bryant Wood to talk about the historicity and deity of Jesus. We discussed the transmission of the New Testament documents and the period of time prior to the creation of these documents. The Biblical eyewitnesses didn’t immediately write down their observations about Jesus. Following the resurrection, many years passed before the first Gospel was penned. In this “tunnel period” between the resurrection of Jesus and the authorship of the first Gospels, the eyewitnesses communicated their observations orally. What precisely were the disciples saying about Jesus prior to writing the Gospels? Were their oral statements consistent with the Gospel accounts? How can we determine what they said about Jesus? As it turns out, we have an evidential record of the earliest statements about Jesus. They’re embedded in the writings of the Apostle Paul.

Paul was converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus, where Jesus appeared to him and radically changed the course of Paul’s life. Formerly a devout Jew charged with identifying and destroying the fledgling Christians, Paul became a committed follower of Jesus and eventually penned more New Testament books than any other author. Most scholars think Jesus appeared to Paul within two to three years of Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (if, for sake of clarity, we date the resurrection of Jesus at 33AD, Paul would have been converted between 34-35AD). Paul ultimately traveled as a missionary and wrote about the historicity and deity of Jesus.

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