19 May 2022


Reading Digest and Discussion: Blomberg, Chapters 1–5

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The reliability of the New Testament by C raig L. Blomberg strives to address various challenges facing evangelical Christian beliefs by drawing satisfactory conclusions with full back up evidence. Although an in-depth analysis of the authors' key points gives rise to a wide range of questions, satisfactory conclusions are notable from his arguments. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 essentially discuss the synoptic gospels, which entail the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Chapter 1 provides a comprehensive explanation of the formation of the synoptic gospels, while chapter 2 highlights the contradiction among these books. In Chapter 3, the author explains the corroboration of the Synoptics.

From these chapters, the author concludes that the synoptic gospels contain the primary information used by theologists to explain the history of Jesus. Blomberg argues that these books were probably written during the first generation of Jesus' death in 30 A.D. when eyewitnesses of his ministry were still alive. A dozen extra-biblical non-Christian references in Greek, Jewish, and Roman sources in the earliest centuries of the Christian era confirm the main contours of Jesus' existence from conception to birth, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection as documented by the synoptic gospels (Blomberg, 2016).

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Chapter 4 covers the formation of the gospel of John. From this chapter, the author concludes the majority of John's Gospel contains information that differs from but is not in contradiction to that found in the Synoptic gospels . While Matthew, Mark, and Luke are nearly identical, John does not appear to have any literary ties to any of them. The book of John was most likely written a generation later by one of Jesus' closest disciples, in his style, influenced by a lifetime of speaking about Jesus and picking content that had not been highlighted before (Blomberg, 2016) . Blomberg argues that it is only in the book of John where we find Jesus' roughly three-year ministry with his several trips to Jerusalem during various festivals. Although John does not recreate a timeline of Jesus' life as documented by synoptic gospels, he does express his theological conviction that Jesus' teaching on those occasions demonstrated that he was the real fulfillment of the numerous Jewish festivals (Blomberg, 2016) .

In chapter 5, Blomberg highlights the history of the early church, from which he concludes that Acts is the only book in the New Testament that gives the accurate chronology of the early church. Blomberg argues that Acts is a theologically rich and artistically sophisticated historical masterpiece. The count of confirmed places and characters in this selective narrative of major events in the first generation of church history is astounding (Blomberg, 2016) . Every location and city discovered is exactly situated in the current world as portrayed in Acts, including synagogues, roads, theaters, docks, and rivers, among others. 

Acts differ from historical novels, both modern and ancient, in that they can be combined with the more fragmented and occasionally incidental allusions to Paul's life in his letters (Blomberg, 2016) . Blomberg is very persuasive in tackling the various topics and subjects in the book. He articulates his arguments thoroughly and concisely. Technically, few scholars can better address the issues discussed in this book than Blomberg.  He has in-depth knowledge regarding the major issues and objections surrounding the reliability of the New Testament's information.  Blomberg's relationship to the topic appears to be personal, and his personal commitment probably contributes to the verve with which Blomberg advances his arguments and draws conclusions. 

Blomberg does not presuppose his Christian faith when speaking in pluralistic settings and often even when speaking in exclusively Christian contexts. He attempts to better educate fellow believers for interaction in these controversial biblical subjects by limiting himself to arguments and presenting evidence that does not depend on being a Christian. There is clearly more to say about topics and questions raised in these chapters than is said, but the arguments may have a greater likelihood of convincing an unbeliever since they are expressed logically and coherently with full support evidence.


Blomberg, C. L. (2016).  The Historical Reliability of the New Testament: Countering the Challenges to Evangelical Christian Beliefs . B&H Publishing Group.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Reading Digest and Discussion: Blomberg, Chapters 1–5.


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