[Editor’s note: These are two questions of a similar nature from the same questioner, so are being put together in one article.] Question: Why does it appear that Matthew’s version of the last supper was copied from Mark? They’re so similar and it wouldn’t make sense for Matthew to copy Mark for the last supper […]

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Question: If we don’t know who wrote the gospels then why should we trust them? Anyone could have just made them up. I want to be able to trust the gospels but since their anonymous I don’t know if I can. Answer: First of all, we very likely DO know who wrote the gospels.  It […]

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[Editor’s Note: This is a rather long question with a fairly long response] Question:  I read your article “Is Chapter 2 of Wisdom (part of the Apocrypha) inspired prophecy of Jesus?” and wanted to address your points. First, you asked where the Messianic prophecy is. Wisdom 2:12-20 contains a very clear Messianic prophecy: “For if […]

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Question: Hello Dr Oakes. I read your articles about the Zeitgeist movie and they did help a lot. However, after viewing a video by Acharya S, she made a rebuttal to not only your claims but the claims by other apologists. She said there are many details that apologists don’t take into consideration when trying […]

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Note: This is a rather long question with a relatively short answer. Question: Recently I found some interesting claims about the Gospel of John.  These are quotations of the Muslim critic Misha’al Al-Kadhi and his references to Christian scholars, that should bring doubt about the Gospel of John:  1. “Even at that, it is recognized […]

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Question: I watched a debate between a Muslim and a Christian. The New Testament has by far more number of Greek/other manuscripts. The Muslim debater said that 94% of these manuscripts come 9th century onwards. It wasn’t clear if he was referring to the Greek manuscripts alone or every manuscript we have of the New […]

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Question: I’ve been comparing some “Messianic passages” from the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) to the corresponding verses in our Christian Bible (KJV, NKJV, NASB).  And I’ve noticed that, in many passages, the Tanakh translation differs significantly from our OT/NT translations.  Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, and Zechariah 12, for example, are quite different in the Tanakh, […]

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Question: I’m new to your website. I only have three questions:  1. How should we, Christians, react to textual criticism and to what extent we should believe their opinion about the Bible?  2. How should we react to several textual criticism opinion that some Bible verses are “doubtful”?  3. Should we be afraid? Answer: A […]

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Question: Dr Oakes, how do you respond to Muslims’ argument such as this:  “Even if your Bible is 99,5% accurate, the Quran is more.  It is 100% accurate. Unlike your Bible that have forgery verses added and changed many times, the Quran didn’t have anything like this and perfectly preserved from the start. All our […]

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Question: I read that: Book of Daniel is forgery because his author was very ill-informed about history. He said: Belshazzar succeed Nebuchadnezzar as his son (Daniel 5; cf. Daniel 7:1 and 8:1). But Belshazzar was neither his successor nor his son; and abundant contemporary records show he was never King of Babylon, but only served […]

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Question: Dr. John,  Bible Expert Mr. Naveed Khan writes:  The Quran consists of God’s verbatim. It does not have “human words” or “interpretations” like the Bible. Christians misinterpret the Jewish scriptures and try to show that Isaiah 53 or Daniel 9 were fulfilled prophecies, but the truth is: they are misinterpretations, nothing else. Moreover, Christians […]

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Question: Dr. John,  recently it has been claimed that nothing in the prophetic books came from the 8th and 7th centuries and that the prophets are fictional characters created by post-exilic authors who produced an imaginative history for the Jewish community of their time. It is also confirmed by the fact that books of Kings […]

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Question: Jesus is not from the “David Lineage” and he did not fulfill the Hebrew scriptures. Proofs are:  1) Messiah must be a descendent of David through his son Solomon (2 Sam. 7:14; 1 Chr. 17:11-14, 22:9-10, 28:4-6) but Luke 3:31 describes the lineage of David’s son Nathan, not Solomon.  2) Ezekiel (37:26-28) said “he […]

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Question: This question came from my atheist friend. I recommended him to read at your website and books, but he was curious regarding your answer on certain textual variations, particularly your response that “No, Christianity doctrines are affected by these variations” in your website. He asked back that: 1.) Isn’t God supposed to preserve His […]

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Question: How would you respond to the following Muslim claim made in https://www.islamic-awareness.org/quran/miracle/ijaz ‘The Qur’an in many places challenges the people to produce a surah like it. It appears that the Christian missionaries who call the challenge irrelevent or an utterly subjective criterion are pretty much unaware of how the Arabic poetry and prose compares with […]

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Question: Israel, in the singular, is called God’s servant throughout the Bible, for e.g. Isa. 45:4; 48:20; 49:3; Jer. 30:10. Also, note that in Jer. 30:17, the servant Israel is regarded by the nations as an outcast, forsaken by God, as in Isa. 53:4; Jer. 46:27-28; Ps. 136:22, a messianic reference. Also, given the Christian […]

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Question:  Dr Oakes, can you view this article:  https://talesoftimesforgotten.com/2021/09/17/heres-how-we-know-the-canonical-gospels-were-originally-anonymous/   This came from a historical scholar it seems. She tried to refute an apologist regarding the gospel’s names and authors. But I found several of her interpretation are quite forced (Like the Mark verses she cited) and how she said Didache and Didascallia just got accepted without […]

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Question: In the world of 1st century Palestine, a woman’s testimony was not recognized as legally binding BUT the Jesus resurrection account is built on the testimony of women.  Does that mean it’s a hoax? Answer: Absolutely it does NOT mean that the gospel message is a hoax.  Who said that?  How sad is it […]

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Question:  If Jesus Crucifixion was so evident then why some early Christian sects denied it?  Some said: Simon of Cyrene was crucified.  Some said: Judas Iscariot was crucified.  Some said: someone substituted him. What is your response? Answer: This is a flat-out, blatant lie.  Plain and simple.  There is absolutely no truth to this claim, […]

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Question: Barabbas, who is also called “Jesus Barabbas”, was crucified instead of Jesus of Nazareth due to confusion created by God.  What is your opinion? Answer: My opinion is that this is one of the most far-fetched and outrageous proposals about Jesus I have ever heard about.  Jesus’ mother Mary was at the cross.  Jesus’ […]

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Question: My friend says:  Josephus and Tacitus are not reliable sources of Jesus’ Crucifixion. They presented vague references based on rumours. NT authors had no ability to know what the truth was. What should be Christian reply? Answer: I think you had better find a more reliable source than this “friend” who says this rather […]

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Question: Jesus had no traits of a King who would save Jews from their enemies as the OT prophets anticipated. Why are these prophecies fabricated? Answer: I assume that this criticism is coming from a Muslim source. You begin with an erroneous premise, which makes your question a nonsense question.  I will share with you […]

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Question: There was no proper canon or collection of the writings of the Old Testament, until the time of the Synagogue under the Maccabees, which was only about 200 years before the appearance of Jesus. Up to this period, the “Holy books” were scattered and liable to be altered or amended just as priests might […]

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Question: I asked on chabad.org this:  How did Rabbis know that Isaiah 8:19-20 belongs to Beeri and Micah 3:12 to Uriah? Are there any other instances of anonymous prophecies in prophetic books? I got the following answer:  “I could not find any other examples. There may be more, but I don’t know them and have […]

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Question: According to Midrash (Levit. Rabba 15), Hosea’s father, Beeri, was also a prophet, and fragments of his prophecies are preserved in Isa. 8:19-20. It means that works ascribed to well-known Prophets include anonymous portions. On the other hand, Megillah 15a says: when the name of a Prophet’s father is recorded, the latter, too, probably […]

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Question: A Muslim friend proposed this to me: I have seen this “issue” before and I haven’t done a proper investigation into it. He said there’s no evidence to support Jesus’ divinity in the first century. I believe (although I am yet to see) that there is evidence of early Christians in first century honoring […]

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[Editor’s note: This is a series of challenges from a Muslim regarding Jesus to be the fulfillment of Old Testament messianic prophecies.  My answers are interspersed among the questioner’s examples in italics] Claim: There are many biblical prophecies which do not fit into Jesus, for e.g. Response: Whether Jesus fulfilled all potential messianic prophecies is […]

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Question: If Isaiah was the greatest prophet in Israelite history from David to the exile, why are his character and personal life not known to us? Same with Obadiah, Joel, Nahum who are obscure figures. Answer: I can tell you have been hearing from Muslim critics, as this is the latest “fad” criticism of the […]

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Question: I want to ask you, sir, regarding the textual variation of Mark 6:3. Some early manuscripts said son of carpenter. Between “carpenter” or “son of carpenter”? This one was cited by a quote in Origen works (184-253), Against Celsus (248 AD), where Origen claimed that none of the Gospel on the current church said […]

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Question: Sir, can you view this article: http://mquran.org/content/view/9181/16/  This comes from an anonymous Muslim apologist website written in 2006. He said that the New Testament is unreliable and the 99,5% number that Christian apologists used in their argument are not valid. He claimed that apologists just cite other apologists and only 50% of the gospel are […]

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[Editor’s note:  In this one the questions are interspersed, in italics, between the four questions] Questions: I have some points to discuss: 1. The Major and Minor Prophets of the Bible contain a significant amount of data from other persons, namely, editors and others whose words were added without acknowledgement. Those additions include materials such […]

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Question: I am Christian, but am also a very skeptical person.  I always challenge what I believe for the sake of truth and if it is truth it will stand. I would like to ask about Isiah 7:14. There is a lot of discussion about the use of the word “almah“. Does it imply virginity […]

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Question: What is the Abrahamic covenant mentioned in Genesis 17:7, 17:13 and 17:19? What aspect of the Abrahamic covenant is everlasting? Why don’t Christians practice circumcision if the Abrahamic covenant is everlasting? Answer: I wish that this was a simple question with a simple answer.  One difficulty here is that the Jewish concept of the […]

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Question: Is there any proof of Isaiah 53 predating Christ? I’ve heard carbon 14 testing for the Isaiah Scroll could be inaccurate as the parchment could be reused and paleographic dating might be unreliable. David: There is a boat load of evidence for the Book of Isaiah predating Christ.  Perhaps the most obvious is the […]

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Question: What writings should be called God’s word? The words which are literally said by God himself? Muslims claim that the Koran contain God’s words, not the words of Muhammad. His words are separately recorded in Hadith. Christians claim that every word in the Bible is inspired but the fact is: there’s difference between revelation […]

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Question: Jer. 30:8-9 and Ezek. 34:23-27 clearly speaks about a king who will rescue the Jews from the hands of those who enslaved them. Obviously, Jesus did not fulfill these prophecies. Are these prophecies are made-up? Response: You say that Jesus “obviously” did not fulfill these prophecies.  Forgive me, but this is not obvious at […]

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Question: My friend says: During the Babylonian exile, the Jewish scribes created “oracles of glorious future” for comforting the Jews that a king from David’s descendants would deliver them from slavery but the truth is: Jesus is not a king according to those so-called oracles. If those visions/oracles had been genuine, then the Jews would […]

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Question: I’ve written questions to you before about Jeremiah. I’m now studying Daniel and have found questions regarding the language.  Daniel is written in Aramaic and Hebrew. There are different arguments about the Aramaic. Some say it is quite young – 300BC and later. Others claim it is much older. The Hebrew I think is […]

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Question: Why do writers of the Bible blend God’s words i.e. “thus says the Lord” with human words such as speeches and human histories? Answer: A good question.  The Bible has several different genres of literature, depending on what God is trying to accomplish.  Sometimes he wants to simply speak to us directly.  Then he […]

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Question: This person claims that there have been entire books removed from the bible. https://quranicwarners.org/gospel They all seem legitimate.   What’s your opinion? Answer: It is hard to know exactly how to respond to this article, because the author is not specific as to which “entire books” were removed from the Bible.  If he does not specify […]

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Question: I have heard apologists say that the oldest manuscript of the Odyssey of Homer is from 2200 years after it was written.  I am preparing to teach a class on the reliability of the Bible in which I want to make the point that the biblical manuscripts are more reliable than any other famous […]

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Question: Is there any archaeological evidence verifying the event of an angel killed 185,000 Assyrian troops, which was written in 2 kings 19? I think a mass discovery of 185,000 dead bodies would be overwhelming. Answer: The answer is yes and no.  Let me explain.  The specific thing you are looking for has not been […]

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Question: Why did Moses give Pharaoh the impression the children of Israel would only go to wilderness to worship 3 days then return? Was He lying? Did God participate in this by commission or by omission? Answer: I had to think about this one for a while.  To be honest, I am not absolutely sure […]

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Question: In the seven letters that Paul clearly wrote, did he write that Jesus is God? In other words, did he teach that God existed in the form of three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Can you give me verses for this? Answer: To be honest, I do not want to answer this question.  […]

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Question: Recently an unbeliever raised an objection against the reliability of the biblical accounts, he said that the account of Moses in which he was placed in a basket on the river by his mother had been a copy of the biography of Sargon of Akkad, a Mesopotamian monarch around 2400 BC. The account of […]

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Questions: The NT authors manufactured prophecies about Jesus by twisting OT passages out of context to make them say things the original authors never intended. For e.g. (1) The murder of children by King Herod was not prophesied in Jeremiah 31:15 because Jeremiah was describing the deportation of Israelites from Ramah a century before his […]

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Question: In the Bhagavad Gita there is the story about Putana being sent to kill Krishna, which seems very similar to the story of King Harold of the Bible being sent to kill Jesus. Could the Bible have derived this story from Bhagavad Gita, or the other way around? You also have mentioned that Bhagavad […]

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[Editor’s note: This question is part of a series which are a believer passing along criticisms of Christianity from his Muslim friend] Question: My Muslim friend replied to me about your points that:  1) If presumably Daniel or Ezekiel talked about an earlier event, it doesn’t mean that whole book is reliable. Unless scrolls of […]

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