Busted (9): The Census

Census

Byzantine Mosaic (c. 1315) showing Joseph and Mary registering for the census before Quirinius. This demonstrates a common misunderstanding of what Luke’s text intended to communicate. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

As I write this article, Christmas is just a few days away.  So, it’s only fitting that we study a part of the Christmas story that critics love to attack:  The census.  According to Luke’s gospel, Joseph and a very pregnant Mary travelled from Nazareth to Joseph’s home town of Bethlehem to be “registered” as part of a census decreed by Caesar Augustus.  Here is the relevant passage, Luke 2:1-3 (ESV): Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 8: Malchus Loses an Ear

The Ear of Malchus by James Tissot, circa 1890

The Ear of Malchus by James Tissot, circa 1890

This is the eighth installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

Peter Fights to Defend Jesus

In this short post, we’ll look at an undesigned coincidence between the gospels of John and Luke.  The gospel of John tells us that when the temple guards came to arrest Jesus, his disciple Peter drew a sword and attacked one of the high priest’s servants, cutting off his ear.  Here’s the account in John 8:10-12 (NIV): Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 7:  Are You the King of the Jews?

Jesus being interviewed privately by Pontius Pilate by William Brassey Hole

Jesus being interviewed privately by Pontius Pilate by William Brassey Hole

This is the seventh installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

In this article, we consider a pair of undesigned coincidences in Luke and John.  Let’s dive in with Luke 23:2-4 (NIV), as Pilate is hearing accusations against Jesus: Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 6: Tear Down This Temple

Driving of the Merchants from the Temple, Scarsellino, 1580-1585

Driving of the Merchants from the Temple, Scarsellino, 1580-1585

This is the sixth installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

Tear Down This Temple

In this article, we’ll consider an undesigned coincidence between Mark 14:57-58, Mark 15:29-30, and John 2:18-20. Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 5:  More Feeding of the 5,000

Sea of Galilee

Bethsaida and Chorazin near the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias)

This is the fifth installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

More Feeding of the 5,000

In this article, we’ll consider several undesigned coincidences that are spread across three gospels that provide an even more complete picture of the feeding of the 5,000.

Let’s get started with Matthew 11:21 (NIV), in which Jesus is castigating some unrepentant towns: Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 4: Herod’s Private Conversations

Jesus Before Herod Antipas, Albrecht Durer, 1509

Jesus Before Herod Antipas, Albrecht Durer, 1509

This is the fourth installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

Herod’s Private Conversations

In this article, we’ll consider the undesigned coincidence in Matthew 14:1-2 and Luke 8:3.

Let’s start with Matthew 14:1-2, in which Herod Antipas, the Jewish king—and Roman puppet—was fretting about this man, Jesus: Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 3: Feeding of the 5,000

feeding 5000This is the third installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

Feeding of the 5,000

In this article, we offer you a two-for-one deal.  Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 2: They Kept Silent

The Transfiguration by Raphael, 1520

The Transfiguration by Raphael, 1520

This is the second installment in our series on undesigned coincidences in the gospels, based on a presentation by Dr. Tim McGrew.  For an introduction to undesigned coincidences and this series, go here.

They Kept Silent

In this article, we’ll consider the undesigned coincidence in Luke 9:36 and Mark 9:9. Continue reading

Undesigned Coincidences 1: Healing at Peter’s House

Christ healing the mother-in-law of Simon Peter

On this blog, we spend a lot of time shooting down the criticisms, myths, and outright lies that anti-Christian authors spread about Christianity and the gospels.  This upcoming series of short articles (about 10-12) does not focus on the critics.

Instead, it focuses on one type of positive evidence for historical accuracy: Undesigned coincidences within the gospels. Continue reading

Contradictions (3): Angels or Men?

Contradictions Title ImageAll four Gospels describe the events that happened when female followers of Jesus discovered his body was missing from the tomb on Easter morning.  The four accounts are quite similar to one another and agree on the major points.

However, there are some differences between them, and there appear to be slight differences recorded in the order of events on that momentous and confusing morning.  Critics over the years have seized upon these differences, claiming that the accounts contradict one another.  Such contradictions, they add, are evidence of the gospel accounts’ historical unreliability. Continue reading