“The Case for Christ” DVD Study Questions for Student Ministries
- 1- If someone were to tell you that the New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were written much later after Jesus’ life, how would you respond?
- 2- How did the New Testament Gospel writers get their information?
- 3- We don’t have the original manuscripts that the writers of the New Testament wrote on [just copies of copies of copies, etc.]; does that mean our New Testament is not reliable? Why or why not?
- 4- There are some documents that were written in the 2nd and 3rd centuries called “Gnostic Gospels.” Which Jesus is the actual Person in history? How do you know?
- 5- Do you have a favorite book in the New Testament? If so, what makes it special to you personally
- “It seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you…that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:3-4)
Commentary Notes (The Case for Christ Video Part 1 of 3)
- Oral Tradition:
The way we communicate in the 21st century is incredibly different from even 30-40 years ago. Imagine a world without cell phones, the internet (including Twitter and Facebook!), email, iPods, and the radio – scary! But really, that was the world when the New Testament was written. When the “average Joe” wanted to keep his entertainment, he didn’t have an Amazon Kindle to digitally save his books, he didn’t have an iPod to store his songs; he memorized it. If he made a mistake on a line of a song, then he had a whole community of people to tell him “you’re wrong.” We don’t have the New Testament because one fan of Jesus started the whole thing, who told another guy, who told another guy…there were HUNDREDS of eyewitnesses! Yes, the 4 Gospels were completed in written form roughly 15-30 years after Jesus returned to heaven, but the message of what Jesus did spread like wildfire because of spoken word. And when you look at all 4 Gospels, you see the same story! Why? Because it was preserved accurately.
- Eyewitness Accounts
If in the year A.D. 4013 people were to look back 2,000 years and say, “I don’t know if there really was a pop singer named Justin Bieber” – that wouldn’t be very reasonable, especially since there are all kinds of eyewitnesses (yes, lots of eyes paying careful attention to his every move, as you’ve heard all too often). Comparing Jesus with J-Biebs may not be a great comparison, but you get the idea. Let’s think about the Gospel writers for a second. Matthew and John were the very disciples of Jesus – they traveled with him and listened closely to his teaching for years. Mark was a close friend to Peter (one of the 12 first disciples, aka “apostles”). And Luke was a close friend to Paul, who wrote down first-hand eyewitness accounts [Luke 1]. That’s what you call good sources! Not to mention, all Christians were agreeing with these writers.
- Original “Autographs” of the New Testament
When I first heard that we don’t have the original piece of manuscript [“autographs’] that Paul or Peter or Luke wrote on, I was shocked – you don’t need to be. The material that people wrote on back in the day was not very good quality. Plus, we do have about 5,000+ copies of the New Testament in the original language AND all of the New Testament quoted in the writings of Christians shortly after the life of Jesus AND everybody is saying the same thing: Jesus is the Son of God, who lived a perfect life, died on a cross for our sins, resurrected 3 days later, and ascended to heaven. [See also 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 for more info]
- Gnostic Gospels
About 100+ years after the New Testament was written, some false teachers started writing about “Jesus.” A lot of critics look at these writings (Gnostic Gospels) and think, “We’ve found the real Jesus!” This, once again, is not very reasonable. Let’s say you are a judge and a case is brought to you from 100 years ago. Would you trust the sources closest in time to the crime scene (that all agree with one another – even the people who didn’t like the victim) or would you trust a small handful of people who never lived during the time of the crime scene? Your call, your honor…