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Rules of Biblical Interpretation


Q If one were to list the evidence that Jesus Christ was in fact the son of God, what would it consist of other than the Bible?

I suppose you could list some writings by Jews that would support that a person by the name of Jesus lived. Would this also support that his body disappeared?

The nature of his being and the statements contributed to Him, the fact He tolerated a painful death, and that some followers, such as Paul apparently became followers via God rather than via Christ all seem powerful arguments, but these are principally supported in the Bible, are there other sources you are aware of?  

A The answer is no, there are no outside sources that I know of that would provide evidence for the deity of Christ. I have seen references to some sources concerning the historicity of Jesus (but no-one seems to deny that) and His crucifixion (only Islam denies that as far as I am aware). It is His resurrection that is most disputed.

But in asking the question the way you do, you seem to be wondering if the Bible is not, in itself, a reliable historical witness. The reason I am convinced of Christ’s deity is the classic argument:

  • The New Testament is a reliable historical source concerning the facts of   Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.
  • Jesus taught that He was God incarnate.
  • Jesus proved that He was God by fulfilling prophecy, living a sinless life and by being resurrected.
  • Therefore, Jesus is deity.
[Adapted from Norman Geisler, Christian Apologetics, Baker Book House, 1976]

Now backing all that up would take a prolonged study in itself, but let me summarize some major points.

1) The New Testament is reliable. When normal tests of historicity are applied to the NT, it does even better than other, accepted examples of ancient history such as Caesar, Plato Sophocles and Aristotle. For instance, most ancient manuscripts are late, far removed from their subject in time and few in number. The NT has hundreds of accurate, early manuscript evidence. Another point is that the NT’s description of history other than Jesus has proven to be very accurate. You may see many assumptions in this summary but, remember, there are reams of testimony to every point. I just do not have the space to cover it all.

2) Jesus and His disciples taught that He is God. Again, not having the time to be exhaustive, just two attestations will have to do. In John 8:58, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” And Peter says, in 2 Peter 1:1 Peter refers to “our God and Savior, Jesus Christ” [singular reference in the Greek]. 

3) The Old Testament has numerous prophecies concerning the Messiah. For instance, that He would be born of a virgin, that He would come 483 years after 444BC, His birthplace would be in Bethlehem, He would have a ministry of miracles, He would be rejected by His people, He would be crucified with thieves, and would rise from the dead. There is also ample testimony to His sinless and miraculous life, some of this from historians such as Josephus. And, of course, there is the testimony of the resurrection to His deity. If you would like to check out a good detailed treatment of these try Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict available through Amazon.com.

Consider this also, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, there are only a few alternatives concerning Jesus. He claimed to be God; was He a liar, a lunatic, or exactly what He claimed? Most everybody today believes Jesus was a great moral teacher whose example should inspire us, even the Jews and Muslims. But if He was a liar, then He wasn’t a great moral teacher. And if He was a lunatic, He’s not much of an example for inspiration! That basically leaves me with one choice—He was who He said He was!

Actually, nothing about Christ or God can be proven absolutely. Everyone must decide based on the evidence. Once having decided on His deity, then one must act on His claim to be the only way of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). “God loved the world so much that He gave His unique Son [a reference to deity] so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:15).


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