One of the arguments often raised against Christians is in regards to the authorship of the New Testament Books. Skeptics of the Bible like to claim that the New Testament Scriptures were not written by the Apostles of Christ and their close companions: instead, it is claimed that these were forgeries made much later by ignorant disciples who pretended to be Apostles.
What shall we say to these things?
First of all, it is important to realize that there were letters being circulated in the first century and afterwards that were allegedly written by Apostles of Christ, but were actually shown to be spurious. Paul himself writes about this:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2-1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
Second, it is important to realize that the early Christians were very zealous in making sure that the Books which they received as New Testament Scripture were clearly validated by historical evidences. For example, the Apostles made sure that their Epistles were sent by known companions and friends (2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25), and signed by them (1 Corinthians 16:21; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17).
Third, let it be remembered that the preaching of the Apostles was also known in the early church, and stood as a standard and test by which every written document could be tested (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:14). In other words, people would be able to discern if a letter was genuinely from an Apostle or their close companions by comparing that written Word with what had been orally proclaimed by these men in the presence of many witnesses.
Finally, let it be understood that the earliest enemies of Christianity (who would have shown the New Testament Books to be forgeries if there were any evidence of such) acknowledged the authentic authorship of these Books:
“”All the early adversaries of Christianity granted the genuineness of the New Testament books. These adversaries were men of talent and learning. By worldly interests and intense hatred of Christianity they were urged to use against it every possible weapon. The fact that they did not show its sacred books to be spurious is proof that they were not able to do so….”Testimony of Julian. The Emperor Julian composed his work against Christianity in 361. He united talent, learning, power, and persecuting zeal. If anything could have been said against the genuineness of the New Testament he would have been eager to make his attack from this side, but he did not. He bore witness to the genuineness of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. He concedes their early date and quotes them as the genuine works of their reputed authors. He quotes Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians. His whole attack assumes the genuineness and credibility of the New Testament…”2. Testimony of Hierocles. In 303 he was president of Bithynia; a cruel persecutor, and a sarcastic writer. He concedes the genuineness, and confines his efforts to the hunting up of internal flaws and contradictions. He refers to six of the eight authors of the New Testament. 3. Testimony of Porphyry. He was the most severe and formidable adversary of the primitive church…”He wrote about 270. He was well acquainted with the New Testament. He has plain references to Matthew, Mark, John, Acts, and Galatians. There is no trace of a suspicion that the sacred books were spurious. That he would have made this point, if possible, is evident from the fact that he did attack the book of Daniel in this manner…4. “Testimony of Celsus. He flourished about 176, and about 76 years after the death of the Apostle John. What we know about his work entitled ‘The True Word’ has been preserved by Origen. More than eighty quotations, made by him from the New Testament, have been thus preserved. His whole argument proceeds upon the concessions that the books he quoted were in existence, were held in high esteem by the churches, and were genuine. Thus by a plain and independent path we can trace the New Testament back to the Apostolic Age. It is also a remarkable fact that these bitter enemies are made to bear this unwilling, but decisive, testimony.” Harvey W. Everest, The Divine Demonstration: A Textbook Of Christian Evidence, 54-55; Nashville, TN; Gospel Advocate Company)
The simple truth is this: there are many in our country who have been fed lies and misinformation regarding the Bible. We have a lot of people who have been weaned on a diet of Hollywood fiction and Gnostic reediting of truth, and who often mindlessly proclaim what they have been fed. Sometimes they are simply ignorant of the facts; sometimes they are lazy and don’t want to investigate; and sometimes they would prefer fiction to the truth.
But when we carefully examine the FACTS, we see that the Bible passes every standard of testing, and that it demonstrates in every way that it is authentic and credible; and that it is, indeed, the inspired Word of God.
Why not begin building your life on the Word of the Lord? Only when we sit at the feet of Jesus can we find the true meaning of peace and salvation (Matthew 11:28-30). The Son of God died to set us free from sin, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). He calls believers everywhere to repent and be baptized by His authority to receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-38). If you are an erring child of God-having been born again but leaving Him for a prodigal life-why not return to Him today in repentance and prayer (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.