Who Wrote the Four Gospels?

By James M. Rochford

Critical scholars of the NT hold that we do not know who really wrote the gospels. While modern Bibles attribute the four gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, these names were added later. Indeed, NT critic Bart Ehrman contends that the gospels originally did not contain authorship titles, and in fact, these titles didn’t arrive until a century after they were written.[1] In his view, later Christians added the superscriptions containing authorship to give the four gospels their “much needed authority.”[2]

Does the evidence support the authorship of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John?

We think so. Indeed, several independent lines of evidence support the standard, historically accepted authorship of the four gospels, while the “anonymous theory” of gospel authorship fails to adequately explain the data.

The anonymous theory doesn’t adequately explain the MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE

We do not possess the original documents written by the authors of the gospels. But, to be fair, do not currently possess any original manuscripts from antiquity. With the gospels, however, several thousand copies have come down to us from history—far more than any other ancient document (see “The Bibliographical Test”).

And all of these manuscripts (without exception!) contain superscriptions at the beginning with the traditional authors’ names (e.g. KATA MATTHAION, KATA MARKON, etc.). This is true regardless of the language or the age of the manuscript. While we might speculate whether or not the original documents contained a title, all ancient manuscripts do indeed have this title. Martin Hengel writes,

Let those who deny the great age and therefore the basic originality of the Gospel superscriptions in order to preserve their ‘good’ critical conscience give a better explanation of the completely unanimous and relatively early attestation of these titles, their origin and the names of the authors associated with them. Such an explanation has yet to be given, and it never will be.[3]

The anonymous theory doesn’t explain the authorship of MARK and LUKE

The later Gnostic gospels ascribe “heavy hitters” as the authors of their gospels. These are titled, “The gospel according to Peter” or “The gospel according to Thomas.” Of course, these documents date to the late second century or later, and they couldn’t have been written by the first century people (see “The New Testament Canon”). But the choice of authorship shows us something very important: Counterfeit authors picked names that seemed authoritative and authentic, placing popular NT figures as the authors of their books.

With this in mind, consider the gospel according to Mark and the gospel according to Luke: Why would the early Christians invent these names? If these gospels really demanded a “much needed authority,”[4] as Ehrman claims, then why did the scribes pick authors who were not eyewitnesses and also such obscure NT figures?

The anonymous theory is IMPLAUSIBLE

Under the critical view, the original manuscripts were anonymous, and spread across the Roman Empire for a full century. These copies spread from Jerusalem to Rome to Africa, as scribes copied and recopied the four gospels. Then, after reaching the four corners of the empire, all of these separate scribes just so happened to assign the exact same names to these manuscripts.

And remember, this was all before cell phones and email!

It would be a remarkable feat for so many scribes from such remote locations to all coincide in such a seamless way. Indeed, this would be simply astonishing for just one gospel—but four? Such a theory is implausible to be for thinking people rationalize.

How could these scribes all synchronize such a massive conspiracy, and why can’t we find a single anonymous or pseudonymous copy of a gospel? A good comparison to this phenomenon is the letter to the Hebrews which is truly anonymous. And yet, our manuscript evidence demonstrates various titles throughout time—far different from the constancy and consistency of the four gospels.

Manuscript Differences for Hebrews[5]

Title

Manuscript

Date

To the Hebrews

Papyrus 64 2nd century
To the Hebrews Codex Sinaiticus

4th century

To the Hebrews

Codex Vaticanus 4th century
To the Hebrews, written from Rome Codex Alexandrinus

5th century

To the Hebrews, written from Italy

Codex Porphyrianus 9th century
To the Hebrews, written from Italy by Timothy Minuscule 1739

10th century

To the Hebrews, written from Rome by Paul to those in Jerusalem

Minuscule 104 11th century
To the Hebrews, written in Hebrew from Italy anonymously by Timothy Minuscule 104

11th century

How different this is from the four gospels! The gospels have far more manuscripts, but literally no variation in their superscriptions. Meanwhile, the letter to the Hebrews has far less manuscripts with far more variation in the superscription.

The anonymous theory is IMPRACTICAL

Justin Martyr (AD 150, Palestine) stated that the early Christians would read from “the memoirs of the apostles” (First Apology 67), which, to be clear, he also called “gospels” (66). But think about this: When these churches read from these multiples gospels, it would have become practically necessary to have names for each in order to distinguish one from another. Are we honestly to believe that Christian communities read from various gospels for a full century without assigning them titles?

The anonymous theory is UNHISTORICAL

The early church valued both the authorship and apostolicity of the gospels. That is, it mattered to the early Christians who wrote a gospel and what their authority was. Tertullian (AD 210, Carthage) states, “A work ought not to be recognized, which holds not its head erect… which gives no promise of credibility from the fullness of its title and the just profession of its author” (Against Marcion, 4.2). Likewise, Irenaeus (AD 180) held that those who denied Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were denying “the companions of the Lord” (Against Heresies, 3.1.2). Indeed, one way we know that the early Christians valued the writings of apostles so much is to look at the titles of Gnostic gospels, which are largely apostolic figures (e.g. Peter, Thomas, Bartholomew, Judas, Philip, etc.).

The anonymous theory doesn’t explain the EXTERNAL and INTERNAL evidence

What is external evidence? This type of evidence comes from outside a historical manuscript. For instance, a text of history can be supported by other independent documents, archaeological discoveries, or any other evidence. In the case of the authorship of the gospels, we will look at the view of the early Christian leaders, thinkers, and writers—whom historians refer to as the Church Fathers.

What is internal evidence? This type of evidence comes from inside the historical manuscript itself. For instance, we would check to see if statements in the document supported the author, or counted against him. To give an example, some claim that Paul was the author of the letter to the Hebrews, because the author is close to Timothy—a close friend of Paul (Heb. 13:23). This is good internal evidence in favor of Paul. However, others note that the authors states how Jesus’ salvation was “confirmed to us by those who heard” (Heb. 2:3). It is argued that this is good internal evidence against Paul as the author.

With this in mind, let’s consider both the external and internal evidence for each gospel, starting with Matthew.

Matthew

External evidence for Matthew’s authorship. Various church fathers affirmed Matthew’s authorship, and these witnesses reach all the way from Turkey to Palestine—from France to Africa!

Papias (AD 130, Hierapolis—modern day Turkey): “Matthew composed the sayings in the Hebrew dialect and each person interpreted them as best he could” (Church History 3.39.16).[6]

Justin Martyr (AD 150, Israel) doesn’t refer to Matthew by name, but he attributes Matthew 16:17 as “recorded in the memoirs of His apostles” (Dialogue with Trypho 103.8).

Irenaeus (AD 180, Lyons, France): “Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrew in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome” (Against Heresies 3.1.1; cf. Church History 5.8.2).[7]

Clement of Alexandria (AD 215, Egypt): “Of all those who had been with the Lord only Matthew and John left us their recollections, and tradition says they took to writing perforce. Matthew had first preached to the Hebrews, and when he was on the point of going to others he transmitted in writing in his native language the Gospel according to himself, and thus supplied by writing the lack of his own presence to those from whom he was sent” (Church History 3.24.5-6).

Matthew was the most quoted gospel during the first 300 years of the church,[8] and “the universal testimony[9] of the early church is that the apostle Matthew wrote it, and our earliest textual witnesses attribute it to him (KATA MATTHAION).”[10]

Internal evidence for Matthew’s authorship. To our knowledge, there isn’t much internal evidence to support Matthew’s authorship. The gospel names Matthew as a tax collector (Mt. 9:9; 10:3), so it’s likely that he was literate and would’ve taken notes. Furthermore, the author writes about Matthew in a self-deprecating way, being the only author to refer to Matthew as “the tax collector” (Mt. 10:3).

Mark

External evidence for Mark’s authorship. Mark (also called John Mark) most likely was not an eyewitness of Jesus’ life (Mk. 14:51-52?). However, he wrote his gospel under the guidance of the apostle Peter. The early church fathers have this to say about Mark’s authorship. And again, please take notice of the fact that these sources spread all across the ancient world, giving independent testimony to Mark’s authorship.

Papias (AD 130, Hierapolis—modern day Turkey): “When Mark became Peter’s interpreter,[11] he wrote down accurately, although not in order, all that he remembered of what was said or done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord nor followed Him, but later, as I have said, he did Peter, who made his teaching fit his needs without, as it were, making any arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things down as he remembered them” (Church History 3.39.15). Papias was a friend of Polycarp, and a disciple of John.

Anti-Marcionite prologue (AD 160-180): “Mark declared, who is called ‘stump-fingered’, because he had rather small fingers in comparison with the stature of the rest of his body. He was the interpreter of Peter. After the death of Peter himself he wrote down this same gospel in the regions of Italy.”[12]

Irenaeus (AD 180, Lyons, France): “After [Peter and Paul’s] death, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself also handed down to us in writing the things preached by Peter” (Contra Haereses 3.1.2; cf. Church History 5.8.3). Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John.

Clement of Alexandria (AD 215, Egypt): “They besought Mark, who was a follower of Peter and whose Gospel is extant, to leave behind with them in writing a record of the teaching passed on to them orally; and they did not cease until they had prevailed upon the man and so became responsible for the Scripture which is called the Gospel according to Mark” (Church History 2.15).

The church fathers openly admit that Mark was not an eyewitness, but this didn’t seem to bother them, because he wrote under the authority of Peter. If they were inclined to lie, they surely would’ve invented the idea that the author was an eyewitness, and they clearly could’ve conceived of a better figure than Mark! Not only is Mark obscure, but he is also portrayed as cowardly, having defected on his very first missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:13; 15:37-39). Why would the early church intentionally make up Mark as the author, when he was not a popular NT figure?

Internal evidence for Matthew’s authorship. Within the book itself, we discover several clues that point toward Peter supervising Mark as the author. To be clear, this evidence isn’t conclusive, but it does support a cumulative case:

First, by percentage, Mark refers to Peter more than any other gospel author (26x versus Matthew’s 29x). This could show that Peter’s point of view is more represented, because he oversaw the authorship of the book.

Second, the author never refers to Peter as “Simon Peter.” This is quite odd because the name Peter was a very common name in Israel at this time. And yet, the author never feels the need to identify Peter as Simon Peter—only as “Simon” or as “Peter.” This implies a familiarity with Peter.

Third, the author mentions Peter as the first disciple (Mk. 1:16) and the last (Mk. 16:7). This forms an inclusio (i.e. “bookends” for the work) that demonstrates the author’s focus on Peter.[13]

Fourth, the author refers to Capernaum as “home” (Mk. 2:1). Of course, Jesus didn’t grow up in Capernaum, so why call it home? Whose home? The text tells us that Capernaum was Peter’s home (Mk. 1:21, 29-31), which again betrays that the author wrote from Peter’s perspective.

Fifth, Mark was with Peter and Paul in Rome, according to the NT. Paul was with Mark in Rome (Col. 4:10; Philem. 24; 2 Tim. 4:11), as was Peter (1 Pet. 5:13). Peter also refers to Mark as “his son” (1 Pet. 5:13), which implies a close relationship.

Sixth, Peter’s preaching summaries in Acts (see Acts 10:36-41) follow the same pattern as Mark. Lane writes, “While Peter’s preaching has been epitomized for inclusion in the Acts, it is clear that its structural development and emphases are accurately reflected in the Marcan outline.”[14]

Seventh, the Greek style of Mark seems to fit with a Judean Christian. Mark grew up in Jerusalem (Acts 12:12), and he was likely financially well off because his mother owned a house. Consequently, Carson and Moo write that the Greek “is simple and straightforward and full of the kind of Semitisms that one would expect of a Jerusalem-bred Christian.”[15] It also contains many Aramaisms—early Aramaic expressions—which fits with a Judean author (see Mk. 3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 15:22).

Again, the internal evidence is not overwhelmingly conclusive in favor of Mark’s authorship, but it does add to the cumulative case. At the very least, the internal evidence is consistent with Mark’s authorship.

Luke

External evidence for Luke’s authorship. What do the church fathers have to say about the authorship of this gospel?

Muratorian Fragment (AD 170, Rome):The third book of the Gospel is that according to Luke. Luke, the well-known physician, after the ascension of Christ, when Paul had taken him with him as one zealous for the law, composed it in his own name, according to [the general] belief. Yet he himself had not seen the Lord in the flesh; and therefore, as he was able to ascertain events, so indeed he begins to tell the story from the birth of John.”

Irenaeus (AD 180, Lyons, France): “Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him” (Against Heresies 3.1.1).

Tertullian (AD 210, Tunisia, North Africa): “Luke, however, was not an apostle, but only an apostolic man; not a master, but a disciple, and so inferior to a master—at least as far subsequent to him as the apostle whom he followed… was subsequent to the others… Inasmuch, therefore, as the enlightener of Luke himself desired the authority of his predecessors for both his own faith and preaching, how much more may not I require for Luke’s Gospel that which was necessary for the Gospel of his master” (Against Marcion 4.2.5).[16]

Origen (AD 250, Alexandria, Egypt): “According to Luke, who wrote, for those who from the Gentiles [came to believe] the Gospel that was praised by Paul” (Church History 6.25.4).[17]

Again, like Mark, it is highly unlikely that the early Christians would invent Luke as the author of this gospel. After all, Luke himself wasn’t an eyewitness (Lk. 1:2), he was an obscure figure, and far more popular and authoritative figures could have been selected. And yet, the historical evidence for Luke’s authorship is so strong that it “was unquestioned until 18th century skepticism.”[18]

Internal evidence for Luke’s authorship. There are several lines of evidence within this gospel that would support Luke’s authorship.

First, it is odd that the receiver of the gospel would be named, but not the author. Luke and Acts are written to the “most excellent Theophilus” (Lk. 1:3; cf. Acts 1:1). Richard Bauckham notes how utterly bizarre it would be to write a book to a named person, while keeping the author’s name anonymous. He writes,

It is inconceivable that a work with a named dedicatee should have been anonymous. The author’s name may have featured in an original title, but in any case would have been known to the dedicatee and other first readers because the author would have presented the book to the dedicatee.[19]

In other words, it makes far more sense that this book was written to a known person (Theophilus) by a known person (Luke). Bauckham notes that this doesn’t prove that Luke was the author, but it does demonstrate that some author would need to be named. Since all of the external evidence points to Luke, this would raise our confidence in Luke’s authorship.

Second, in all three references to Luke in the NT, we discover Mark mentioned alongside him. This not only implies that these two authors knew each other (Phile. 23-24; Col. 4:10-11, 14; 2 Tim. 4:11), but also that Luke used Mark’s gospel as one of his sources (see Lk. 1:1-3).

Third, the “we” passages help us to identify authorship (Acts 16:8-10; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16).[20] Three sections in Acts change from the third person (e.g. “Paul did this” or “Peter did that”) to the first person plural (e.g. “We did this…” or “We did that…”). This means that the author personally accompanied Paul on his trip in these three sections. He saw the initial evangelization of Philippi (16:10-17), and he travelled with Paul on his journey from Miletus to Jerusalem (20:5-15; 21:1-18). Finally, he accompanied Paul on his trip to Rome (27:1-28:16). The author could not have been one of the travelling companions mentioned with Paul during this trip, because then the author wouldn’t have said “we.” This eliminates a lot of potential authors, and leaves Luke as the best possibility.[21]

John

External evidence for John’s authorship. Historically, John of Zebedee—one of Jesus’ three closest disciples—was held to have written this gospel.

Ignatius (AD 110, Turkey) quotes John 3:8 (Ignatius Philadelphia 7:1).

Theophilus of Antioch (AD 165, Turkey) referenced John’s gospel (To Autolyous 2.22).

Muratorian Fragment (AD 170, Rome): “The fourth gospel is that of John, one of the disciples.” This text states that John’s fellow-disciples exhorted him to write a gospel, and after fasting and prayer, Andrew (Peter’s brother) claimed to receive a revelation that John should write a gospel.[22]

Tatian’s Diatessaron (AD 170, Syria) included John among the four gospels.

Irenaeus (AD 180, Lyons, France): “John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon his breast, had himself published a Gospel during his residence in Ephesus in Asia” (Against Heresies 3.1.2; Church History 5.8).

Tertullian (AD 210, Tunisia, North Africa): “We lay it down as our first position, that the evangelical Testament has apostles for its authors…. Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instill faith into us; whilst of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards” (Against Marcion 4.2). Tertullian quoted John’s gospel “freely in his works.”[23]

Clement of Alexandria (AD 215, Egypt): “John, it is said, used all the time a message which was not written down, and at last took to writing for the following cause. The three gospels which had been written down before were distributed to all including himself; it is said he welcomed them and testified to their truth but said that there was only lacking to the narrative the account of what was done by Christ at first and at the beginning of the preaching…. They say accordingly that John was asked to relate in his own gospel the period passed over in silence by the former evangelists” (Church History 3.24.1-13). Clement quoted “at considerable length from almost every chapter of John.”[24]

Eusebius (4th century AD, Israel): The gospel was written by “John, the companion of Peter, James, and the other apostles” (Church History 3.34.5).

Not to be a broken record, but notice the wide testimony given above. These authors stretched from Israel to Turkey to Rome to Syria to France to North Africa to Egypt! How could these authors have all conspired to get the correct name for this gospel? D.A. Carson states that the external evidence for Johannine authorship is “virtually unanimous.”[25] Even critics of John’s authorship still consider the external evidence to be “formidable.”[26] In fact, one critic writes, “Of any external evidence to the contrary that could be called cogent I am not aware.”[27]

Internal evidence for John’s authorship. The “disciple whom Jesus loved” claims to be the author of the book. Several lines of internal evidence support that John of Zebedee was the author:

  • The author was an apostle, because he is found at the Last Supper (Jn. 13:23) and only the “twelve” apostles were at the Last Supper (Mk. 14:17).
  • The fact that the author was fishing with the disciples (Jn. 21) points to John of Zebedee, who was a fisherman (Lk. 5:3; Mk. 1:20).
  • Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, Philip, and Judas are mentioned (which rules them out as the author).
  • James of Zebedee cannot be the author because he died too early (Acts 12:2; ~AD 41-44; compare with Jn. 21:23).
  • John is the only gospel to call “John the Baptist” simply “John” (Jn. 1:6). Carson comments, “The simplest explanation is that John the son of Zebedee is the one person who would not feel it necessary to distinguish the other John from himself.”[28]
  • John of Zebedee was one of Jesus’ “inner three” disciples who followed him most closely. So it would be likely to see him identified as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

Again, the internal evidence does not explicitly name John as the author, but it does support this claim.

Was John unable to write this gospel because he was most likely illiterate?

Bart Ehrman points out that Acts 4:13 refers to John as “uneducated” (agrammatōs), and he was simply a rural Galilean fisherman—not a sophisticated author. Accordingly, John couldn’t have written this gospel with such a poor education, and indeed, he was most likely illiterate.[29] But we disagree with Ehrman’s perspective for a number of reasons:

First, this is reading too much into the term “uneducated.” The word “uneducated” (agrammatōs) doesn’t explicitly mean illiterate, but more broadly refers to being untrained by the standards of the Sanhedrin. Indeed, the religious leaders leveled this same charge at Jesus, because he wasn’t trained in the traditional rabbinic schools. They asked, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” (Jn. 7:15) Many ossuaries (bone-boxes) have Greek written on them, and Josephus even stated that even slaves learned Greek (Antiquities, 20.263). The first century philosopher Epictetus speaks about a man “writing in an illiterate way” (Greek agrammatōs, Discourses, 2.9.10), which clearly cannot refer to total illiteracy!

Second, this theory is a lot to hang on one verse. In this short exchange, the Sanhedrin couldn’t have known if John was actually illiterate, because he never tried to read or write anything! This is simply an insult from the authorities—not an academic assessment test that measured John’s reading, writing, and comprehension.

Third, 60 years transpired between Acts 4:13 and the writing of John’s gospel. If John wrote in AD 95, then this would have been plenty of time to learn how to read and write Greek. By modern standards, this would be enough time to get several doctorate degrees. As one of the central leaders of the early church, there would have been tremendous pressure for John to pursue an education. Perhaps this this is why John waited so long to write his gospel—namely, because he didn’t feel equipped to write until he had become better educated. For a parallel example, Rabbi Akiba was illiterate until the age of 40, but ended up becoming of the best rabbis of his generation.[30]

Fourth, it’s possible that John used an amanuensis (pronounced uh-man-you-EN-sis) to write this gospel. Even Paul used an amanuensis (or scribe) to write his letters (Rom. 16:22), even though he was highly educated. John could have done the same thing. Since John was wealthy enough to have “hired servants” (Mk. 1:19-20), it is plausible that he could’ve received an education or hired someone who did.

Conclusion

Critics like Bart Ehrman argue that the gospels didn’t receive their authorial titles for at least a century after they were written. But as we have seen, this theory fails in just about every measurable way. It doesn’t fit with the manuscript evidence, the unpopular names ascribed to these gospels, or the external evidence from the church fathers. Furthermore, we learn that this theory is implausible, impractical, and simply unhistorical. Put simply, critics are entitled to their theories, but these theories are likewise entitled to our criticism.

[1] Bart D. Ehrman, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2014), p.90.

[2] Bart D. Ehrman, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2014), p.90.

[3] Martin Hengel, The Four Gospels and the One Gospel of Jesus Christ (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 2000), p.55.

[4] Bart D. Ehrman, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (San Francisco: HarperOne, 2014), p.90.

[5] Cited in Harold Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews: Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989), pp.31-35.

[6] Papias was a friend of Polycarp, and a disciple of John.

[7] Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John. He served in Lugundum in Roman Gaul—which is modern day Lyons, France.

[8] D.A. Carson, Matthew: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), p.19.

[9] The only exception to this was the heretic Marcion, who rejected the OT, as well as many NT books because of his blatant anti-Semitism. So, Marcion’s (heretical) testimony can hardly count against Matthew’s authorship. See D.A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament (2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), p.159.

[10] Emphasis mine. D.A. Carson, Matthew: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), p.17.

[11] The term “interpreter” should be rendered “explainer,” according to Cole. R.A. Cole, Mark: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1989), p.29.

[12] William Lane, The Gospel of Mark: NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974), p.9.

[13] Michael Kruger, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Wheaton, IL. Crossway. 2012), p.185.

[14] William Lane, The Gospel of Mark: NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974), p.11.

[15] D.A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament (2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), p.175.

[16] Tertullian served in Carthage which is modern day Tunisia (North Africa).

[17] Origen claims that Luke was written “thirdly,” and while Paul was still alive.

[18] D.A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament (2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005), p.293.

[19] Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (2nd edition, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2017), p.301.

[20] The authenticity of the “we” passages can be supported by the fact that the author’s historical detail increases during these verses. This would support eye-witness testimony. Historian Paul Barnett writes, “These three passages supply a wealth of information about places, people and time. They are the most detailed passages of the whole of Acts, as one would expect, because the author was an eyewitness of what he describes.” Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament Reliable? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1992), p.141.

[21] Paul mentions Mark, Jesus Justus, Epaphras, Demas, Luke, Tychicus, Timothy, Aristarchus, and Epaphroditus in these letters. Therefore, if the author of Luke-Acts was with Paul in person (Acts 27-28), and Paul wrote these letters during that time, then we should expect that Paul would mention the author in one of those letters. Thus, this gives internal evidence for Lukan authorship of Luke-Acts.

[22] Henry Bettenson, Documents of the Church (London: Oxford University Press, 2011), Kindle loc. 1070.

[23] Merrill Tenney, John: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), pp.5-6.

[24] Merrill Tenney, John: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), pp.5-6.

[25] D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), p.68.

[26] C. H. Dodd, Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge University Press, 1963), p.2. Cited in D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), p.68.

[27] C. H. Dodd, Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel (Cambridge University Press, 1963), p.2. Cited in D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), p.68.

[28] D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), p.72.

[29] Bart Ehrman, Forged: Writing in the Name of God (New York: HarperOne, 2011), pp.138-139.

[30] Carson writes, “Rabbi Akiba was apparently unlettered until the age of forty, and then became one of the greatest rabbis of his generation; it would not be surprising if some of the leaders of the church, decades after its founding, had devoted themselves to some serious study.” D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), p.74.