If you have ever been involved in religious discussion on Facebook or Twitter, you have probably come across some version of the comment below:
Although this assertion is largely rejected by scholars in all spheres of historical and biblical studies, it tends to pop back up on social media like a never-ending game of digital whack-a-mole. The truth is that Jesus is not only documented in the eye-witness testimony compiled in the New Testament, but He is mentioned as a historical person by several non-Christian sources within 150 years of His life. From those sources, we can learn 10 things about Jesus without even opening a Bible:
In order to diminish the importance and relevance of the Bible, it's common for skeptics to point out that the early Christians didn't even have an official Bible. They claim that what we now call the "New Testament" wasn't compiled until hundreds of years after the life of Christ and the Apostles, when church councils convened to decide which books were "in" and which ones were "out." Famously, Dan Brown, in his best-selling book, The DaVinci Code, even alleged that the Emperor Constantine chose the books at the council of Nicaea in AD 325. (1)
The Muratorian Fragment is a big deal because its very existence is evidence that these notions are not true.
"Do you understand what you're reading?"
This simple question is credited with carrying Christianity into Ethiopia. (1) Acts chapter 8 tells of Philip being led to the desert by an angel to meet an officer from the court of the Queen of Ethiopia. Philip finds him reading an Isaiah scroll containing prophecies about the Messiah. At this point, Philip could have walked up and boldly declared, "I have been sent to you today to proclaim the good news of Jesus the Messiah!" But he didn't. He met this man right where he was at and asked a good question, which then led to an explanation of the gospel. This is apologetics at its best.