Last week it was reported in the news that Mark Lewisohn, a British author, is writing a 3-volume set of books about the Beatles. This was met with great interest by Beatles fans because Mr. Lewishon is a trusted friend of the remaining members of the band. He said that most books about them are not well written, and he wants to write something more definitive and exact. What I found interesting are his thoughts about accuracy in writing such a set of books. “I think it’s an important book to write. I think it’s important that it’s done now whilst the paperwork is still around and whilst the witnesses to the history are still alive to tell it.”
The writers of the New Testament also took pains to be accurate and to consult with living witnesses of the things Jesus said and did. Luke explained his own methods in Luke 1:1-4. “Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order…” Luke did careful research, consulted with living witnesses who knew their memories were important, and to write it out accurately.
In addition, the 12 apostles were all official witnesses of the resurrected Christ, and they had unique memories that contributed to the writing of the New Testament. John spoke of “what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1). Witnesses are vital to accurate authorship, and the inspired writers of the Bible consulted with many of them while they were still alive.
If people recognize the value of living witnesses to a historic band like the Beatles, we should feel even greater confidence about the carefully-written accounts of Jesus Christ.
– Tim Johnson