*Brief archaeological example: eg, the number of columns at the pool in John 5 being exact.
*Abundance of place names shows local knowledge. Bauckham has the actual numbers. A great way to demonstrate this is to contrast this with the so-called Gnostic ‘gospels’, which only have Jerusalem and Judah – that’s it! (similar to this is the mention of the Sycamore tree in Jerhico).
*Frequency of people names match our inscription findings. Percentages and all. Again, Bauckham. Shows that someone was there, using real people’s names in that locale.
*Real people confirmed: eg, Pilate inscription & what most certainly seems to be the ossuary of Caiphas.
TEXTUAL RELIABILITY*Number of copies of just the 4 Gospels alone in Greek is astounding for an ancient work.
*antiquity of copies: john w/p52 and the new find of mark (etc) coming out with Wallace as well as the Chester Beatty and Bodmer collections. Time between composition and first copy is excellent.
*Preservation of the text itself: the text has been preserved. We can demonstrate this by the fact of manifold witnesses or multivocality (see Kruger). In short, lots of copies of the gospels all over the world match in line after line and the variations are usually so miniscule so as to be untranslatable or through textual criticism we have been able to discern the original reading with relative confidence.
THEOLOGICAL RELIABILITY*This is more confessional. The Gospels have transformed lives for thousands of years due to the teaching and life of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection have changed people from all over the globe and the Christ of the gospels stands at the head of a global Church comprised of all socioeconomic strata, essentially every ethnicity and language group, both young and old, both male and female. The gospels are powerful because the one the focus on is powerful – Jesus.