The four gospels were, in fact, written several decades after the death of Jesus. While that has become a focal point for the myth-sayers, it should not be one that stands as evidentiary. The author of Luke began the first sentence of his book by explaining to someone named Theophilus, not introduced but referred to once again in the first verse and sentence of the book of Acts, that many written and oral accounts of Jesus had been circulated by those who had witnessed some of the events. With that in mind, we can conclude that he must not have been all that pleased with the arrangement of them and set about to organize a more thoughtful presentation.
The myth brigade suggests that sources are needed to affirm that Jesus ever existed and endeavor to say that none exists. But one must be careful in giving credence to this position. Luke certainly sets about to become a source and sights those who had indeed seen some of the events in Jesus’ life. That’s a source. Matthew and Mark, in citing different episodes in the life of Christ, while using some of the same material, must be counted as sources. We cannot help but note that each of them draw upon material that may, probably did, originate with those who were alive when Jesus lived. The gospel of John, different than the other three, is filled with anecdotal information that can only be seen as derived from sources of his own that allowed for his expansion of Jesus’ life. If so, that is four different sources that validate the existence of Jesus.
Who among us has never heard our minister say that information he uses in his sermons came from something called Q. Quelle is a German word that means “the sayings” and it is an independent source for the existence of Jesus. Our gurus tell us that this is a source that may contain information from many other sayings that reflect the birth and life of Christ. Q is not a part of the Canon, but is one of the foundational documents that evidently provided information that is in the Canon.
The well-known teacher and author, Dr. Bart Ehrman, religion professor at the University of North Carolina, who is, by his own admission, an agnostic, asserts that both Matthew and Luke, often referred to as M and L contain information that comes from private sources that each of them evidently had before the composition of their books. The gospel of John is sometimes known as the “signs source” as it dwells on the teaching of Jesus in things that will occur and for which signs are given to those who watch. In this light, the synoptic gospels and John form four different sources that substantiate that Jesus lived and walked on earth. While many of us lack the academic background for standing among our teachers, Dr. Ehrman suggests that it is not implausible for us to think that Q, M, L, as individual compilations of information that concerns the existence of the Lord, may have contained several or many others sources of information that are included in them.
Luke, at the outset of his correspondence, directed to a man who may have been a high ranking Roman official, as seen by his title, “Excellency,” or one who financed Luke’s author endeavors, or who may have contributed money for the distribution of his work, made it clear that many people had done their best to write a report of those things that had happened. The sources were in evidence to those who dealt with the time-line of historic events and the eventual writings that took place. None of them could have known that what they sought to preserve, the work of Christ as Savior of the world and grace extended to all those who believed in Jesus as that One who provided for eternal life with Him, would ever become known as a book, much less as a book in the Bible.