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Why didn’t Jesus do the writing?

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Pardon the interruption of the Better Blogging series, but I need some discussion here.

My wife got into a spiritual conversation with some co-workers and one asked this question: “Why didn’t Jesus write the New Testament?” Her co-worker said that it would have been easier for him to trust the Bible’s accuracy and weight if he knew that Christ had written the New Testament, rather than having it left to people to remember what He said and record it.

Bonnie’s response, off the top of her head, was that the people didn’t understand Jesus and His mission until after the resurrection, which gave validity to the claim of Godhood. Before that, His writings might not have had the weight that even the Apostle’s writings had after the the resurrection.

I thought that was not bad.

Another co-worker speculated that He might not have been able to write, as the son of a carpenter.

I told Bonnie when she related the story to me that I thought that the Bible would lead us to believe that He was educated, unlike the delineation for Peter and John in Acts 4.

My simple answer is that we don’t know “why” God does anything, but that answer doesn’t always satisfy the curiosity of those seeking. In fact, we can never fully satisfy a seeker, but the Holy Spirit must convict and draw them to the conclusion.

Still, I think this is a great discussion. So how would you answer this question from an earnest seeker of truth?

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15 Responses to “Why didn’t Jesus do the writing?”

  1. Pregador27
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 4:27 am

    I do not know how I would answer it, but with the odd worship of some who claim to be Christian, if Jesus had written the New Testament, they might fall into the worship of His written words instead of the Worship of Him Who is the Word. (Just a thought)

  2. Bob Cleveland
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 5:26 am

    If He were as humble, and servant-oriented, and “of no reputation” as He’s stated to be, He’d never have written such things about Himself. And, it’d be far more believable coming from others, anyway.

    One of the big effects of the NT is bigtime praise for the Savior. That’d be completely out of character for Him. Pilate, to write about Himself. Herod et al had to pretty much drag the fact of even Who He was, out of Him.

  3. Joseph M. Smith
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 6:34 am

    The most effective learning style is one which combines the visual and the aural, and this Jesus used to good effect. He acted out His teachings, AND He spoke them. This required His disciples to think through what He had done and said, rather than blindly to accept a philosophical treatise. G. Ernest Wright’s little book, God Who Acts, comes to mind as a portrayal of the way God generally works — acting in history through human beings who must respond faithfully and record their experiences.

    Actually, if the long discourses in the Fourth Gospel are to be credited as the actual words of Jesus — and I do know that there is critical doubt about that, but if they are credited — they provide rather substantial amounts of relatively unedited material from His mind. Even if you have doubts about the Fourth Gospel, there is the Sermon on the Mount, which, some scholars say, bears the marks of a didactic discourse in which the teacher makes the disciples, “Repeat after me”. That is nearly equivalent to His writing.

  4. Marty Duren
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 6:37 am

    “What she said.” :^)

    The same question has often been asked about the original autographs and the answer would be the same, “People would worship the instrument of communication rather than the object,” as Pregador has said above.

    To the co-worker, I would have said, “Do you think Churchill was a great man? You’ve only read what others have written about him. What about JFK? Other than his life on PT-57, you’ve only read what others have written about him. The question really is, ‘Why are you hesitant to believe what the men who walked and talked with him for three years have written about him? Do you have a problem with other ancient authorities or just the ones relating to Jesus?'”

    If this is a genuine blind spot that Satan is using against this person, then it’s worth talking through to the truth, IMO.

  5. cb scott
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 6:57 am

    They were witnesses to “His-story”.

  6. Kevin Bussey
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 7:53 am

    I don’t think Jesus couldn’t write. Remember the woman caught in adultery? He wrote in the dirt. I think God wants to use humans.

  7. Marty Duren
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 8:20 am

    oooooooooo… Give Kevin the star for the day.

  8. Todd Littleton
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 8:51 am

    It seems to me this is the debate surrounding Peter Enns. His suggestion humans were involved has landed him in, what I understand to be a, suspension from Westminster.

  9. Sheila Rogers
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 8:56 am

    Could it be that it is easier for her co-worker to doubt than to have faith.
    It is easier for some to doubt God’s word or to not believe it at all. Having faith means trusting in Him, no matter what Satan tries to tell you. I believe that those who chose not to believe in His word do so because they don’t want to believe they WILL answer to Him when their time on earth is over.
    Those who know Bonnie can see God in her. She is a true woman of faith and her co-worker can see it, that is why he chose to ask her that question.

  10. Paul
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 10:11 am

    I’m pretty much going with what CB said. The Old Testament required that a thing be established by two or three witnesses (something the New Testament seems to approve of as well). It also seemed important that Jesus’ resurrection be attested to by witnesses – so important that the apostle Paul includes that attestation as a part of the gospel itself (1 Cor. 15:3ff).

    What I’ve discovered in many of these sort of conversations is that someone is looking for the “indisputable proof” of the Scriptures and of Christ. Had God wanted to give us indisputable proof he certainly could have done so, but as Hebrews says, without faith it is impossible to please God, and as Jesus told Thomas, blessed are those who believe without seeing.

    I think the most powerful testimony your wife can give is not the testimony of a good argument or proofs for the Scriptures, but is probably the testimony she’s already giving: a changed life and a personal witness to the power of Christ. Even if Jesus had written the New Testament people would sit around and debate whether or not it was the real Jesus or if it was someone pretending to be him or whatever. People will dispute that sort of thing “till Jesus comes,” but it is hard, if not impossible, to dispute the testimony, “I once was blind, but now I see.” They can question it. They can blow it off. They can attribute it to the devil. But the fact remains that “I once was blind, but now I see.” And I can show you how you can see, too.

  11. Steve Austin
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 10:32 am

    Sure, Jesus wrote. Of course, the last time he’d written something down for a Jewish fella, the dude dropped the tablets after coming down from the mountain.

  12. art rogers
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 10:56 am

    Good stuff. Keep it coming, folks. Bonnie is scanning this to take back to the lunch table today.

    I do want to clarify that Bonnie emphasized that her friend was not being belligerent, but felt comfortable enough to ask a question that he considered legitimate.

    Sheila, thanks for your glowing endorsement of my bride. She is a great example of godliness and proof that you don’t have to have a Seminary Education (like me) to be a model of wisdom and grace.

    She is also a light to her context.

    I think we’ll keep her. :)

  13. Les Puryear
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 11:46 am

    The Bible claims its author to be the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. The Father is God and Jesus is God.
    Therefore, God wrote the Bible. He wrote it through men. God works through His people for His glory
    and for fellowship with His people. Would your wife’s friend believe that God the Holy Spirit wrote the
    Bible? I sort of doubt it. If he will not accept God as its author, it doubt it would matter if Jesus personally
    wrote it or not.

    This reminds me of what the Rich Man was told in Luke 16:31, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets
    (holy scripture), neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”


  14. art rogers
    on Apr 16th, 2008
    @ 9:38 pm

    Ok, let me try again.

    The question was not a challenge to Bonnie’s Christianity by a committed non-believer.

    This was a genuine question asked by someone who really thought about it and it was asked, as Sheila mentioned above, to Bonnie and the group because there was a level of comfort there. They felt “at ease” asking the question.

    I know the person that asked it, and I know that they aren’t against faith, though I don’t specifically know where they are.

    I know the blogosphere is famous for argumentative tone, but please don’t read that into this.


  15. Michael Harrison
    on Apr 17th, 2008
    @ 5:46 pm

    What an awesome question! Good answers from the scholars who stepped before me. Yet what I believe with all of who and what I am is that God desires for people to ‘buy in’ to who He is and what He is doing. By allowing flawed men in on His plan for humanity, humanity gets to first hand see and know the grace of God.

    Jesus was a scholar. He could write (point to Kevin). He taught from the Old Testament. He read from it as well. Yes, He could have written by Himself, but that would be much like one person trying to do all the work of the church alone. An ‘ah ha’ moment, if I don’t say so myself.

    The genius of the writings of Scripture are the varied view points of those who looked on and wrote. How they saw Jesus reminds us that we all might see Jesus a bit different and must learn from each other.

    Questions like this dig deep into our hearts and thought patterns. What I like most is the need for people to hear Jesus and to be able to hear Jesus. Questions lead to conversations which lead to conversions.

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