Those who challenge Christianity often overlook one area of evidence: the transformation of Jesus’ apostles. The radically changed lives of these men give us solid testimony for the validity of Christ’s claims.
Since the Christian faith is historical, our knowledge of it must rely heavily on testimony, both written and oral. Without such testimony, we have no window to any historical event, Christian or otherwise. In fact, all history is essentially a knowledge of the past based on testimony. If reliance on such testimony seems to give history too shaky a foundation, we must ask, How else can we learn of the past? How can we know that Napoleon lived? None of us was alive in his time period. We didn’t see him or meet him. We must rely on testimony.
Our knowledge of history has one inherent problem: Can we trust that the testimony is reliable? Since our knowledge of Christianity is based on testimony given in the distant past, we must ask whether we can depend on its accuracy. Were the original oral testimonies about Jesus trustworthy? Can we trust them to have conveyed correctly what Jesus said and did? I believe we can.
I can trust the apostles’ testimonies because eleven of those men died martyrs’ deaths because they stood solid for two truths: Christ’s deity and his resurrection. These men were tortured and flogged, and most finally suffered death by some of the cruelest methods then known:1
1. Peter, originally called Simon, was crucified.
2. Andrew was crucified.
3. James, son of Zebedee, was killed by the sword.
4. John, son of Zebedee, died a natural death.
5. Philip was crucified. 6. Bartholomew was crucified.
7. Thomas was killed by a spear.
8. Matthew was killed by the sword.
9. James, son of Alphaeus, was crucified.
10. Thaddaeus was killed by arrows.
11. Simon, the zealot, was crucified.
We have just released a new Bible Study based on the book: More Than a Carpenter, by Josh McDowell
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of the Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.