Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 57 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Acts 25 today and our focus is on apologetics and the historical reliability of the Bible – particularly the book of Acts. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Rajasthan, India, Parts Unknown, Spain, Rome, Italy, Ontario, Canada, Columbia, South Carolina, Saint Petersburg, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan
Insightful comment, looking into the future, from WWH:

Paul’s sermons are all worthy of our attention, but I like tomorrow’s chapter better, in which Paul preaches to Agrippa. As an introduction to the sermon, Festus will tell Agrippa (Acts 25:19) that he doesn’t know why Paul is in jail: “It has to do with their Jewish laws, and with some man named Jesus, who died, but whom Paul asserts to be alive.” There is something “almost right but not quite” about that… (I, too, assert that Jesus died, and is alive, hallelujah!)
To me it is interesting that tomorrow’s passage has this misunderstanding of the gospel embedded into it. To me, it is one of many evidences that Acts is true history … if Luke were making this up, he’d have explained the gospel better.
Completely agree with you there, WWH – the way Luke records things in the book of Acts seems very devoid of any sort of propaganda, doesn’t edit out things that are embarrassing to key leaders like Paul, and even contains very ambiguous situations like James telling Paul to pay for some Jewish men to have their heads shaved, in order for Paul to give the appearance to Jewish believers that Paul too follows obscure, non recorded in the Old Testament, parts of Jewish tradition. I find this request of James honestly pretty out-there, and seemingly wrong-headed. It ultimately leads to a near-riot, causes Paul to get taken into custody, and has the absolute opposite effect that James seems to have intended, and just seems like a bad idea, but Luke almost never editorializes – he just seems to tell what happened – again, a mark of genuine history that many of the reporters and journalists of 2021 could learn from.  Let’s read the passage and observe Luke’s integrity in reporting, so to speak, and then we will discuss a bit more about how historians adjudge a document to be reliable or not.
Dr. Gary Habermas is one of the 2 or 3 best professors I’ve ever had. An amazing teacher with an amazing story, and fascinating to listen to. In his book the Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Dr. Habermas lists out several ways to know whether or not a historical document is trustworthy:
If testimony affirming an event or saying is given by a source who does not sympathize with the person, message, or cause that profits from the account, we have an indication of authenticity. An enemy generally is not considered to be biased in favor of a certain person, message, or cause. Suppose one of the witnesses to the accident was a friend of the one driving the red car. This witness admitted that his friend was the one who ran the red light. The new detective weighs this testimony as somewhat stronger than the testimonies of the other eyewitnesses. A witness who would be considered somewhat unfriendly to the driver of the blue car attested to his innocence. John Adams, the second president of the United States, was known for his high standards of integrity, although this did not prevent his political enemies from attacking him. Alexander Hamilton was one such enemy. In a scathing fifty-four-page pamphlet published to hurt Adams in a forthcoming election, Hamilton accused him of having “great intrinsic defects of character,” “disgusting egotism,” “eccentric tendencies,” “bitter animosity,” and an “ungovernable temper.” Yet Hamilton made no charges of corruption, and he acknowledged Adams’s patriotism and integrity.’ If Adams’s mother or wife had spoken of his integrity, we might have reason to believe them, yet with reservation. When even his enemies acknowledged his integrity, the matter is pretty well established.’
3. Embarrassing admissions support historical claims. An indicator that an event or saying is authentic occurs when the source would not be expected to create the story, because it embarrasses his cause and `weakened its position in arguments with opponents. “5 The police officer asks both drivers if they have previously disobeyed a traffic signal. The driver of the red car says “no.” The driver of the blue car admits that he caused an accident ten years ago because he ran a red light. The detective may tend to believe the entire testimony of the driver of the blue car over that of the red car driver because he willingly shared information although it would tend to embarrass or hurt him. He appears to be attempting to tell the truth. Law professor Annette Gordon-Reed wrote articles arguing that Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, fathered children by his slave Sally Hemings. Before DNA results proved her correct, one of the arguments she employed in support of her position related to the Principle of Embarrassment. A declaration from a close Jefferson relative recorded the observation that it was obvious that Jefferson’s “blood ran in “the veins” of Sally Hemings’ children and that one child could be mistaken for Jefferson. She argued that this testimony must be regarded as strong evidence indeed. “Declarations against interest are regarded as having a high degree of credibility because of the presumption that people do not make up lies in order to hurt themselves; they lie to help themselves,” she wrote. In other words, this statement by Jefferson’s relative damaged the reputation of Jefferson and his family, given the social prejudices of the time when it was made. A relative would not likely have invented a statement that would hurt himself. Therefore, this statement weighs in favor of the argument that Sally Hemings bore children for Jefferson. 
Source: The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Dr. Gary Habermas 
In Acts, we see multiple examples of this sort of authenticating criteria, and that convinces me that we are dealing with real history, reported by a remarkably reliable eye-witness.

End of the Show: Bible memory verse for FEBRUARY: Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.

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