Are the Gospels historically reliable?

Do you doubt the Bible’s claims? I know I have reservations from time to time, and I’ve been conservative evangelical Christian since 1996. Case in point: any thinking person will entertain doubts about the historical reliability of the Gospels.

  • Are there contradictions in the Gospels?
  • Do the four Gospels have any support from archaeology?
  • Does John share any or many similarities with the other three?
  • Do they cohere together in a unified storyline?
  • Is the Gospel of John so far different from the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke that John has little or no historical value?
  • How do theology and history interact in the four Gospels?
  • Can we trust them if they have a strong point of view and seek to persuade their readers or listeners?
  • What is the so-called Q “gospel”?
  • If it existed, what is its theology?
  • Are the Gospels based on eyewitness testimony?
  • If so, aren’t eyewitnesses notoriously unreliable?
  • How is eyewitness testimony disclosed, if it is, in the four Gospels?
  • Are the eyewitnesses whose traditions that feed into the written Gospels anonymous or named?
  • What is the role of the Twelve in securing the traditions about Jesus?
  • What is a tradition?
  • Were the traditions passed on orally or literarily (in writing)?
  • Are there cultural analogies that show how they were transmitted?
  • Most importantly, are the four Gospels historically reliable?
  • Can we trust them, historically speaking, in addition to their theology?

Good questions, certainly. James Arlandson tackles them in turn and promises to keep going, courtesy of The American Thinker.