I often hear skeptics argue that the Bible is not true. It’s just a mythological book that a bunch of people made up with no historical validity. These opinions may be rampant today, but they are not grounded in truth. There is strong evidence suggesting the Bible is historically trustworthy. I will provide just a few examples from independent sources in the 1st century claiming for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Roman historian Tacitus wrote about Christ in his historical documentation entitled “Annals” in AD 116, book 15, and chapter 44. He states: “Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition.”
Jewish historian Josephus, who would have been the most bias against Jesus because of his blasphemous claims of deity, wrote this in his historical document, “Antiquities of the Jews”, written 93-94 AD. Josephus states: “Ananus thought that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus was dead and Albinas was still on the way. And so he convened the judges of the Sanhedrin, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, the one called Christ, whose name was James, and certain others, and accusing them of having transgressed the law…”
Mara bar Serapion, an Assyrian Stoic philosopher, wrote a letter in AD 72 after the annexation of the ancient city Samosata by the Romans. The letter refers to the unjust treatment of the execution of the “wise king” of the Jews. Based on Serapion’s writing style, it demonstrates he received sources from non-Christians because the title given, “wise king,” was not the title recorded in the gospels. Rather, Jesus was referred as King of the Jews or Son of Man.” Moreover, to prove Mara was an independent source from the gospels is his failure to understand the monotheistic teachings. For example, Serapion said that this wise man lives through his teachings in contrast to the concept that Jesus continues to live because of the resurrection.
Lastly, the gospel writers had a proven track record of historical reliability. For example, Luke writes in the first four verses to “Most excellent, Theophilius.” Scholars today recognize that the classical style of Greek Luke uses in these verses demonstrate his profound mastery of history. Luke also correctly mentioned the following people who lived during that time period, such as Sergius Paulus, Herod the Great, Annas, Felix, Caiaphas the High Priest, King Herod Agrippa I and Agrippa II, Gamaliel, etc. and his precise geographical locations were proven.
Sir William Ramsay, a renowned Archaeologist, stated: “I began with a mind unfavorable to the book of Luke and Acts; I did not then in my line of life to investigate the subject minutely. But more recently I found myself often brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne in upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.”
These are just a couple of truths that help demonstrate the validity of the Bible. If you want to know more, I suggest watching this video by William Lane Craig as an introduction to the topic on whether or not we can trust the Bible.