Sunday, 9 June 2013

Is the Gospel of John Reliable?

Have you ever wondered whether the Gospel of John is reliable? It's different from the Synoptic Gospels (the other three canonized Gospels). Have you ever thought why is it different?

These questions are important if you are a Christian who uses the Gospel of John as a proof text to believe that Jesus is God.

I have prepared a short video looking into the historical reliability of the Gospel of John. /did you know the New Testament scholar, Mike Licona (an evangelical Christian) believes John changed the Gospel story for theological reasons. What else did he change?

Christian Scholar Admits Gospel of John is not Historically Reliable

From Dr Shabir Ally we see:

The ‘spear thrust’ in the Gospel of John (19:34) is not considered historical thus, even within the Gospel accounts, there is nothing which could have killed Jesus. Within the story, Pilate wondered whether Jesus had died too.

Why did the early Christians wind up believing Jesus was divine, largely because of the theological developments in the Gospel of John.

From Ali Ataie:

John waits till roughly the year 100 AD to write his Gospel and is roughly 100 years of age at the time. John had  been illiterate till the age of 35. Why wait so long to write his Gospel. Ali Ataie believes he probably did not write it.

From Paul Williams:

It’s widely agreed amongst NT scholars that Jesus did NOT think of himself as divine and nor did he teach the doctrine of the incarnation.

The following New Testament sayings which Christians use to claim Jesus claimed divinity are all from the Gospel of John and it’s widely agreed amongst scholars that these sayings cannot be responsibly attributed to Jesus:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” [John 14:76 NIV]

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? [John 14:9 NIV]

Of course, if they cannot be attributed to Jesus then they are forgeries.
From Dr Mike Licona (evangelical Christian New Testament scholar) we see:

Ancient biographers took liberties hence the discrepancies in the Gospels. Mike Licona believes John altered the Gospel in order to make a theological point (specifically on the Gospel account’s day of the crucifixion)

Mike Licona basically admits the Gospel of John is not historically reliable.

Considering all the information being offered how can Christians trust the Gospel of John? The answer is they cannot. It is unreliable.

What’s the solution here?

Upon seeing the lack of reliability of the New Testament one should not become disheartened. You may well have devoted many years of your life to those teachings believing them to be faithful teachings.

Where to go next?

Well there is a group of people who believe Jesus is not divine, he is a Prophet of God, the Gospels are not reliable, Jesus was not killed and there is only one God. This group of people are the Muslims. Muslims have the correct beliefs about God and all the Prophets including Jesus. Please look into Islam further:

Reza Aslan on Gospel Writers, Luke and Matthew

Title "Son of God" does not mean Divinity

Reza Aslan: Illiteracy rates at time of Jesus p

Reza Aslan on Prophecies of the Messiah

What does the Aramaic word name for Jesus tell us?

Sharia Law against terrorism

Christians having dreams and converting to Islam

Learn about Islam



Anonymous said...

From Minoria,

Just a quick opinion:

I understand Licona to mean that paraphrasing the words/writing it down your own way(as long as the meaning remains the same) is what the Gospel of John has.

In Antiquity 90% of people were illiterate and paraphrasing by historians was utterly accepted.

I argue that internal evidence shows John was written after 64 AD and before 70 AD.One reason is there is a passage (John 5:2) where he refers to a Jerusalem building in the present tense(as though it still existed),when we know it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

The technicalities of why I think John and the other gospels are from before 70 AD are in these 2 articles in French.You can translate them using Google Translate:

"Les Preuves Internes qui Montrent que les 4 Evangiles furents ecrits Seulement 20 a moins de 40 Ans apres la Mort de Jesus"

"Autre Preuve Interne que les 4 Evangiles furents ecrits Seulement 20 a moins de 40 Ans apres la Mort de Jesus"

Anonymous said...

reblogged as The Gospel of John & Dawah on

Me said...

I love the inclusion of the quote from Paul. He rattles off a list of sayings of Jesus from John's account, admitting that these are claims to deity. That means for those of us who don't buy the critical theories of John's Gospel are in the right in believing in Christ's deity. For example, the great "I Am" sayings of Jesus. Most scholars recognize that these sayings harken back to the ani hu declarations of Yahweh in the OT.

I would disagree with Licona's statement about John being wrong on the date, and I have seen that Williams himself has already been made aware of the truth of the matter on his blog. Of course he deletes comments at will, so it may no longer be there. But for those who are interested, many Christian scholars like Gleason Archer have addressed this issue. Only people with a bias already built in to there theorizing about John ignore this kind of evidence.

Me said...

"there" = "their"

Anonymous said...

From Minoria,

I made the comment before having heard the video,assuming the written portion had all the content of the video.

I also disagree with Licona,and besides he said "probably",so he is not stating it as gospel truth.

1.Licona and Gary Habermas have both said and/or written that the MAJORITY of scholars accept 30 AD as the year of Jesus' death,instead of 33 AD.They themselves always say 30 AD.

2.So here is a link to an article(that at the end has a BIBLIOGRAPHY,so you can verify its claims) that says the evidence is there were TWO PASSOVERS in Jerusalem in 30 AD,separated by ONE DAY.It states:

"There are solutions that allow the wording of all four Gospels to be exact and also give clues to the year of Jesus' crucifixion.

One solution recognizes that many Jews of the Diaspora observed two days of Passover. The pilgrims may have brought this second day of Passover to Jerusalem, and John is referring to that second observance.

A second solution recognizes the different calendars in use in Jerusalem, where sunrise reckoning or sunset reckoning might cause the Passover to fall on different days.

A third sees the Last Supper as an observation of Passover according to the solar Jubilee Calendar of the Essenes, and John's Passover according to the lunar sunset calendar.

The last possible solution recognizes that the "Passover" was a figure of speech that included all the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread."

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

About that in all 3 Synoptics Judas kissed Jesus as a sign that it was he and that that does not appear in John,it can be explained by the fact that the author intentionally omitted details.In this case the kiss.

John 20:30-31:

" Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

(Note:the disciples were with Jesus when he was kissed by Judas and commented on it)

31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name."

Anonymous said...

Good video.

Anonymous said...

Bad video.

Anonymous said...

@Me said..

Why do your very own Christian scholars - even evangelical ones - believe Jesus did not actually utter the 'I AM' sayings? Have you read their reasons and their careful scholarship? Or do you just dismiss them with fundamentalist prejudice...

Unknown said...

So here we have an evangelical darling admitted that the very core of christiwn gospels are not eyewitness accounts and contains forgery in other words it is lies and falsehood so on and on...

Interesting indeed

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Part 1

I disagree that Jesus did not utter the I AM sayings.Contrary to popular opinion the I AM(ego eimi) sayings are found in the earliest gospel,Mark.

1.Now it is important to note that Mark is written in bad Greek but Matthew and Luke copied from Mark and corrected his grammar.

2.HOWEVER,there is one case where Jesus walks on water and says to his disciples,in Mark 6:50,in Greek:

"Ego eimi(I am),me phobeisthe(dont be afraid)"

It is translated as "It is I,but in Greek it is an I AM/ego eimi saying.A clear claim of divinity,identifying himself with God's name.

Was it a grammatical error?No,because Matthew,who wrote in fine Greek,also has the same incident,he doesnt correct the grammar and in Matthew 14:27 Jesus says:

"Ego eimi,me phobeisthe."


John is in very good Greek and repeats the Jesus walking over water and in John 6:20 Jesus says:

"Ego eimi,me phobeisthe."

In his debates Shabir Ally says the I AM sayings are not in the Synoptics but here is one example.

Me said...


Yes, I have read the reasoning of those who deny the "I Am" sayings. They reason this way in part because they labor under the patently false assumption that such sayings do not appear in the synoptic Gospels, the latter of which they also wrongly assume to be more reliable. The fact of the matter is there are "I am" sayings in the synoptics. Those who can't read Greek or who don't take the time to engage in careful scholarship at this point are none the wiser.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Another example is Jesus' trial where he is asked by the High Priest if he is the Messiah,and says:

Mark 14:62:"Ego eimi/I AM" and is condemned to death.

Was it a grammatical mistake?

1.I dont think so because Matthew generally avoids(not always) writing the word God,he substitutes the word "Heaven".
Thus the expression "kingdom of God" appears in Mark,Luke and John but in Matthew it is "kingdom of Heaven".

2.But Matthew wrote I AM/ego eimi in the Jesus walking over water incident.And in the trial incident he changes the words,as if feeling scruples about writing I AM,he changes the words to "You have said it".(Matthew 26:64)

Anonymous said...

From Minoria
Part 3

There is even a THIRD I AM SAYING in MARK.
In Mark 13:6 Jesus says the Olivet Discourse and says:

"Because many will come in MY NAME saying:"EGO EIMI".

Was it a grammatical mistake by Mark?Shouldnt he have said"Saying in my name,"It is I"?


Luke wrote in perfect Greek,copied 50% of Mark,and corrected his grammar,didnt change it here, and Luke 21:8 says:

"Many will come in MY NAME saying EGO EIMI"(here is another example of an I AM saying,but in LUKE)

So we have I AM sayings in ALL 3 synoptics.

Now MATT 24:5 has scruples about just having it as EGO EIMI and has it as "I am the christ".I dont know if in the original Greek it has it as ego eimi but since Matt has Jesus as God from the point of view of Judaism then it is essentially the same thing.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria
Part 4

One nice thing about reading beyond religion into the domain of history,literature,science,linguistics is you discover things that relate to the NT.

1.I would be guilty of contradiction if I were to say the EGO EIMI in Jesus walking over water is LITERAL(really refers to claiming to be God)in MARK and MATTHEW AND JOHN

2.But metaphorical when Jesus said it in the Olivet Discourse in MARK and LUKE.

3.In other words Jesus was literally saying:

Many will come ACCEPTING ME AS A PROPHET/in my name



1.The caliph of Egypt AL-HAKIM disappeared (11th century) and his followers claimed he was GOD INCARNATE and began the DRUZE religion.
Now the Druzes accept JESUS as a prophet.

2.The MORMONS accept Jesus as a prophet and believe that after they die they become GODS.

3.The RASTAFARIANS were founded in Jamaica in 1930's and they accept JESUS as a prophet and believe that HAILE SELASSIE,the Emperor of Ethiopia,was GOD INCARNATE.


Here I am not sure since once source says "adopted son".In 19th century China a man called HONG XIUQAN founded a new religion called TAIPING where he claimed:

God was his FATHER and JESUS was his YOUNGER BROTHER.It appears he meant it literally and there was an element of divinity in his claim,though probably not enough to qualify as being of the level of an EGO EIMI declaration.

There was a Taiping rebellion,which sought to overthrow the Chinese emperor,in lasted from 1850-1864 and killed 20 million.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

I was wondering a bit if Yahya had in mind some NT passage when he said he considered a man dressing as a woman to be forbidden in the NT.I think he may have had in mind:

a) 1 Corinthians where Paul says a MAN must not have his HAIR LONG like a woman does.

b)And that a MAN must NOT wear a VEIL(cover his head) during prayer while a woman should.

1 Cor opens up alot more than just how to dress,but in 1 Cor there is a passage or 2 where Paul says what he is saying is not from Jesus(the Lord) but his own opinion.
It is about if one should get married which he was against but made it optional.

That passage opens up alot of themes far more profound,which one has to get to later,having to do with CHOICES and that Christians can take TWO OPPOSITE SIDES on the same theme and it would be alright with God.But more on all this later.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

But returning to JOHN it is true there are differences with the Synoptics but there are also surprising SIMILARITIES.Literally ALL 4 books have:

1."Kingdom of God" sayings(John has a few but it still does)

2."Son of Man" sayings

3."I say to you" sayings

4.Parables by Jesus(John has only a few but it still does)


1.Before it was thought that John was from the 2ND CENTURY because its style was said to be HELLENISTIC,that no Jew in Palestine in the 1st century expressed himself that way.

2.Then they found the ESSENE writings,who lived in the 1st century in Palestine and before,and they have a mystical style like John's.

3.Now in Q(50 sayings of Jesus) written around 50 AD and later copied by LUKE and MATTHEW there is a saying that is mystical that resembles the way Jesus speaks in JOHN.So yes,here is evidence in the SYNOPTICS that Jesus also spoke in a mystical way.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

As you all know the Jesus Seminar,the most RADICAL of the NT scholars(about 70 members)(except for a few even more radical who say Jesus never existed:Earl Doherty,Robert Price and Richard Carrier(for him there is a 75% probability Jesus didnt exist)

say that ONLY 18% of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the gospels are by Jesus.


1.You can say it is very little but 18%=90 SAYINGS.

2.And it is a good amount,for example the STOIC philosopher EPICTETUS(early 2nd century) had ARRIAN as his pupil.

Arrian later wrote a "Life of ALexander the Great" but he also wrote down the SAYINGS of Epictetus:

We have them in the ENCHIRIDION/MANUEL.ANd that book has 52 SAYINGS of Epictetus,less than those the Jesus Seminar is sure were from Jesus.

Now we also have the Discourses of Epictetus which is alot more.

You can read the 52 sayings of Epictetus here.Since they are more elaborate one can say the total is the same:

Radical Moderate said...

Snowman Sam Shamoun will be on Jesus or Mohamed 8pm Eastern US time.

Call in and refute him

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Again about John,I know it is alot but I am almost done really.Ok,there is a part in MARK 14:13-15/LUKE 22:10-12 where Jesus tells his disciples to:

1.Go to JERUSALEM and when they see a MAN carrying a JAR OF WATER then,

2.That he will show them where to go,what room, for their passover.


It is more than a little probable the man was an ESSENE because:

1.We know there was an ESSENE QUARTER in JERUSALEM

2.It was very UNUSUAL for a man to carry a jar of water,that was a woman's job.

3.They practiced celibacy,so there would be no woman among them to carry a jar.


But the Essenes were quite anti-conformist,they had:

a)Their own MYSTICAL language

b)Were against POLYGAMY

c)Against SLAVERY


On top of that Jesus also,in MATT11:27/LUKE 10:22(in Q) speaks in a mystical vein like they did(and similar to John):

"1.All things have been delivered to me by my Father;

2.And no one knows the Son except the Father,

3.And no one knows the Father except the Son

4.And any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

That is further circumstancial evidence of Jesus being influenced by the mystical way of expression as said by the Essenes.

Anonymous said...

Sams show is garbage. Tell him to get a Job.

M Saleem said...

Every religion has good and bad people. We must know that daily prayers will help a person of his miseries. Islam is a beautiful religion.

Anonymous said...

From Minoria:

Here I will add why 1 Corinthians sheds light on God.

1.In 1 Cor 11 Paul says that he men should not cover their head when they pray,but women should.And that men should not have long hair but women should.But he doesn't say it is his opinion.

2.In 1 Cor 7:25 and 1 Cor 7:40 he says that what he wrote was his opinion.About that it is better not to marry.

3.So then is 1 Cor 7:25-40 not the word of God but 1 Cor 7 is?The answer is that God inspired Paul to be honest.Paul said he was against marriage personally but at the say time it was OK to do it.

In 1 Cor 7:40 in fact Paul says:
"and she is happier if she may so remain(Note:unmarried)according to my judgment; and I think I also have the Spirit of God."

He was saying he was inspired by God to say it was his opinion.


And so it means Christians can take opposite views,according to their conscience,and yet God would understand and they could both be legitimate choices.

For example,one could have been against the war in Irak(saying it would kill civilians,damage the country even more,etc),and another could have been for it(saying Sadam had killed 300,000,that he woudl continue killing more,etc).


Though Paul doesnt say it is his opinion yet we know it was because:

1.The historical Jesus COVERED his HEAD when he prayed,it was the Jewish custom,and still is.

2.So 1 Cor 7 can not be used to say a man can't dress in a kilt/skirt,like the Scots.

3.Or to argue that men should not wear long hair.It could be the historical Jesus had short hair(a 2nd century mosaic was discovered that showed a Jewish man with short hair)or that it is obligatory for a woman to veil herself,and Paul even says something that implies it,saying in 1 Cor 7:14-15

"doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man indeed have long hair, a dishonour it is to him?

and a woman, if she have long hair, a glory it is to her, because the hair instead of a covering(Note:veil) hath been given to her."

I hope this helps.