Can We Trust the Gospels?

by Mark D. Roberts

The most important question I believe that anyone can ask in their life is ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’. Straight away we are confronted with lots of questions. ‘How do I find out about Jesus?’, ‘Can an ancient bible really give historically reliable evidence?’ Roberts has put together an excellent, very readable, and accessible book without losing any of the quality of scholarship in the process. In 1981, the late scholar F.F. Bruce published a book on the reliability of the New Testament called ‘The New Testament documents: Are they reliable?’. The book became a classic of its time for understanding the world of the New Testament, and how it came to be written. In 2007, Harvard scholar Mark D. Roberts penned an excellent piece of work which serves a similar purpose for the generation of the ‘noughties’. One of the challenges that any writer faces on this issue, is that it can be a very dry, academic and lifeless subject to write about when placed in the wrong hands (Reminds me of some of the less enjoyable Psychology lectures I sat through at Uni!). It can require an immense level of previous knowledge about ancient history to comprehend some of the issues at stake. However, Roberts has put together an excellent, very readable, and accessible book without losing any of the quality of scholarship in the process. It is very easy to doubt the reliability of the gospel accounts of Jesus. All one must do is simply talk about how Chinese whispers work and that seems to be it, job done, we can’t trust the bible. Roberts shows the foolishness of this kind of superficial scepticism with a very helpful chapter on ‘Did Early Christian Oral Tradition Reliably Pass Down the Truth about Jesus?’. As a Christian reading this, I felt grateful to Roberts for not shirking any of the key issues, and giving due time to the historicity of the bible, so-called bible contradictions, and taking time to spar with other recent critics like Bart Ehrman on some of these crucial issues. Length: 216 pages Difficulty Level: * (Accessible to all)