Day 40: The Significance of Historical Data

Luke 3:1-2 :

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.

This is a long, two verse sentence in which Dr. Luke provides very specific historic detail about when John the Baptist started his ministry. Just seeing this kind of specific data gives me more confidence in the Holiness of the Bible.

The Bible has had many enemies over the time in which it has existed. Many times in many places, attempts have been made to completely destroy it or pervert it in some way. These verses have survived for almost 2,000 years now and we have this specific detail that continues to be available to every critic. You’d think that if Dr. Luke’s accuracy was in question that it would be passages like this that would expose significant error, especially if the work had been made by someone who wasn’t careful or who had attempted to make up the data. Instead, Dr. Luke’s record continues to be respected among scholars today, providing important details about history.

Here we have the political leaders of Judea, Galilee, Ituraea and Trachonitis as well as the fact that there were two people involved in the high priesthood of Israel at the time. It also specifies that John was in the desert. Now these facts are hard to manufacture, and if they were, it appears to me that there is enough detail to expose a lie. Instead, after 2,000 years the accuracy has held up. This is one of the reasons that makes it difficult to not accept Dr. Luke’s information about the miraculous things that he claims were witnessed by eye-witnesses. There is absolutely no reason for Luke to start making things up in this narrative! He clearly has a mind for detail and it just doesn’t make any sense to me that he would add strange details into his accurate account if it weren’t for the fact that he truly believed that they were just as real as the names and places that he specified here.

I am so glad that we have these details now. They give us insight into the importance that history is to Christianity and demonstrate to the world the reality of God’s visitation and provision for mankind.