[The Bible Is Unique #8] I concluded as a nonbeliever that I could trust the New Testament, that it was historically accurate
and reliable and recorded what Jesus said and what Jesus did. One of the reasons I came to that conclusion is called the external evidence test. [Are] there things that apart from the book that you’re researching,
totally apart from it, that confirms the inner testimony? With the New Testament I want to start out with several literary pieces of evidence that confirms the inner testimony of the Word of God. For example, Irenaeus who was Bishop of Lyons in AD 180.
He was a disciple of Polycarp who was his teacher. Polycarp was martyred in AD 160. He was 86 years old.
He was martyred in what is known now as Izmir, Turkey. Now Polycarp, now get this, was a disciple of the apostle John. So here you have the apostle John who discipled Polycarp who discipled Irenaeus. So it goes all the way back to the first century. And this is what Irenaeus records — that he was taught by his mentor who was taught by the apostle John. He said, “So firm is the ground upon which these gospels, the four
gospels rest that the very heretics themselves bear witness to them. And starting from these, meaning these four gospels, each
one of them endeavors to establish his own particular doctrine.” Do you realize the significance of that? What it’s saying is this, even back to the New Testament
times, the time of the apostles, the authenticity of the four gospels are recording what Jesus said and did, was so firm that even the heretics could not say, “Wait a minute, He never said that, He never did that,” they couldn’t because what He said it was so firm, it’s what He said, what He did. So you know what the heretics did? They started from what Jesus said and did and they developed their own heresy or their own doctrine from it. When you have that testimony going all the way back to the New Testament and confirming that by those who did not want to agree with the apostles, you have pretty firm evidence that the New Testament
is reliable and what Jesus said and what Jesus taught.