When was the New Testament written?

bible.jpgThere are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about how and when the Bible was formed. Some liberal historians try to date the Gospels and other New Testament writings as far from the death of Jesus as possible because it supports their hypothesis that they were largely made up. Of course, if the Gospels really were dated 70 AD or after, there is no reason they couldn’t still be the inspired Word of God. Yet a late dating obviously plays into the hands of heretics who strive to discredit the authority of Scripture.

But the facts point to all or nearly all of the New Testament books being written within 40 years of Jesus’ resurrection. Consider the following:

  1. Jesus died and rose again around 33 A.D.
  2. The Apostle Paul was killed in 64 AD. This is a well attested historical fact. All his writings obviously occurred before then, and 1 Corinthians and Romans were written well before then. Paul testified that Jesus rose from the dead, among other things, and he did so within 20-30 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  3. The book of Acts, written by Luke, ends with Paul was in prison in 62 AD. Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke before he wrote Acts, so it was presumably written in the late 50’s.
  4. Most scholars agree that Luke was not the first Gospel. Therefore, the earliest Gospel must have been written no later than the mid to late 50’s. If Matthew and Luke used the ‘Q’ document (a lost early church writing) as a source, then of course ‘Q’ would have been written even closer to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  5. If the Gospels were all written after 70 A.D., why wasn’t the destruction of Jerusalem mentioned anywhere (especially in Matthew)? This was one of the most dramatic events in history, and was predicted by Jesus.
  6. Since these accounts were written within 20-30 years of Jesus death and resurrection, it is highly unlikely that they would have been myths. There would have been too many people alive to dispute the findings. And keep in mind that many thousands of people died believing these words to be true. Martyrs will die for a lie if they think it is true, but I don’t know of anyone who knowingly dies for a lie. If Jesus didn’t really have a bodily resurrection, why would the disciples live unnecessarily hard lives and die horrible deaths for something they knew to be a lie?

Also see Debunking the DaVinci Code

Hat tip to Stand to Reason for much of the above. Click here to learn lots more about the origins of the Bible.

8 thoughts on “When was the New Testament written?”

  1. I found this from E.I. and Dan’s blog.
    Good to see you take your bible history seriously. You may want to investigate some of the arguments against the dates you fervently believe in however.
    Just as a little teaser, you’ll find that Luke borrows from Josephus in various ways. Josephus’s works were not completed until ~75CE for “Jewish War”, and ~94CE for “Antiquities of the Jews”. As Luke borrows from Antiquities, that places him sometime after it’s creation.
    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html
    he article goes into detail concerning the parallels.
    Josephus is simply one of the sources Luke claims to have used when compiling his works.

    Enjoy!

    Neil said: As usual you haven’t done your homework and you have overstated the conclusions from your own source. Here’s just one thorough rebuttal of that claim – http://www.tektonics.org/lp/lukeandjoe.html . And keep in mind that the Luke/Acts don’t “have” to have early datings, it is just most logical that they do have early dates.

    You’ll want to save your little stumpers for Dan & Edgar, as they have more patience for them than I do. I just show this as yet another example of how answers are available to professional and amateur skeptics alike.

    Philippians 3:18-21 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

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  2. Havok:

    I haven’t come across any Bible scholar who would hold to this belief. There are a few reason’s why:
    1. Acts ends with no outcome for Paul. It is accepted knowledge that he was martyred between 64 – 67AD. He does not even record the outcome of his trial. He also does not record the burning of Rome (64AD) nor the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (70AD).
    2. Luke was in Rome with Paul (Colossians. 4:14), so he would have had first hand knowledge of these events, rather then waiting for the news to travel, causing for a later date.
    3. The Koine Greek headings and introductions were common in Classical Greek history.
    4.Repeating events Josephus talks about would only make sense. Those events happened during the lifetime of Jesus.Luke was about the historical setting of Jesus’ ministry and Acts the historical setting of the early Church. Thus giving more reason to believe the gospels to be historically accurate.

    Only with the gospels do skeptics apply unrealistic historical filters. That are not applied on any other historical document, mind you. Apply this to any historical writing of the past and we soon wouldn’t be believing that Alexander the Great, Josephus himself, and Muhammad walked the earth.

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  3. So their whole argument is that Luke borrowed from Josephus because they both wrote a historical account of a major event, they both wrote in Greek, they both linked their accounts to Jewish Scripture, and both are written in two volumes. And this is unusual how?

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  4. I vote we disregard all history books, for many of their sources are repeats of events, written in a similar fashion, all large volumes, so therefore not to be trusted 😉

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  5. Yes. I’m such a Green that I thought I should do some recycling.

    Plus some were in my pre-Wordpress days and I thought the world just needed to see them again 😉 .

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  6. I know this is totally unrelated, but the news just broke and I am shocked…

    “In a 5-4 vote, the court said the Louisiana law allowing the death penalty to be imposed in such cases violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

    “The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion. His four liberal colleagues joined him, while the four more conservative justices dissented.

    Not proportional? The rape of a child is perhaps the worst crime possible. It robs that child of their innocence, their self-esteem, and their security and condemns them to a life sentence of pain, insecurity, fear, etc. While there are good reasons to dislike the application of the death penalty to the rape of a child- for one adding an incentive to kill the child since one would get the death penalty either way- this disproportional junk is non-sense. Thanks for letting me rant.

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