By: Cougan Collins


This week, let’s begin examining the external evidence of Jesus’ existence from those known as the “apostolic fathers”. They are called this because it is believed these men sat at the feet of the apostles or at the feet of those who sat at the feet of the apostles. These writings are dated from A.D. 90 - 160. These writings quote or paraphrase nearly every Scripture found in the New Testament, which proves the New Testament was written in the 1st century. Since these men were willing to die for the truth contained within the New Testament proves they believed it to be true and historically accurate.  


Let me give you one example of one of these early writers:

Polycarp (A.D. 69-155) lived in the city of Smyrna in Asia Minor. He spoke passionately of Christ, and wrote against certain heretics of his day. Irenaeus (A.D. 130-200) said that Polycarp had a personal association with the apostle John and with others who “had seen the Lord” (Eusebius V.XX). He died a martyr, having served Jesus Christ for eighty-six years (suggesting that almost his entire life was dedicated to the Savior). The testimony of the “church fathers” is certainly is more compelling than the trifling objections of biased critics, twenty centuries removed from the facts.

Some more external evidence comes from the Catacombs under Rome. These Catacombs contain a maze of galleries that were created during the 2nd and 5th century that were used for tombs (and secret places of worship during persecution) for early Christians. There are around 600 miles of these subterranean passages representing any where from 1 million to 4 million graves (Blaiklock, p. 159).

The catacomb vaults are filled with artwork, which testifies to their deep faith in Christ amidst the Roman Empire. One common inscription found repeatedly is a figure of a fish frequently containing the word ichthus (Greek for “fish”; Boyd, p. 203). The letters, however, were an acrostic for the declaration, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.

A simple question needs to be answered, would millions of Christians be willing to die after the first century if Jesus was just a myth? Of course not! One of the most well-known Jewish teachers of the first century named Gamaliel understood that if the story of Jesus was fake that Christianity would only last for a small while, but it if was true and God was involved, it would continue to grow (Acts 5:34-39). As Gamaliel wisely stated, we have seen Christianity continue to grow for almost 2000 years in which many have laid down their lives for the cause of Christ.

Another external evidence that has continued to prove the validity of the Scriptures is Archeology. The purpose of Archeology in regards to the Bible is to excavate, decipher, and critically evaluate the ancient records of the past that touch directly or indirectly on the Bible and its message. 

According to various sources, Archeology had its start in 1798 when Napoleon invaded Egypt. At that time, he had 167 scientist and technicians study the Egyptian area, which led them to discovering many artifacts that confirmed many of the events mentioned in the Bible. From that point forward, there have been countless finds that show the validity of the Bible. There has never been a legitimate find that contradicts the history portrayed in the Bible, which proves its reliability. We have no reason to doubt what it says about Jesus or anything else.

Be sure to check out next week’s article as we examine more evidence about Jesus’ existence and the reliability of the New Testament. Feel free to worship with us.