The Extra-Biblical Testimony for Jesus Christ

  • While the four Gospels are the primary records of the life of Jesus Christ, there are many other early references to Jesus outside of the Bible that corroborate the Bible’s testimony.
  • There is the witness of ancient historians such as Tacitus (1st century), Josephus (1st century), Thallus (1st century), and Suetonius (early 2nd century). All of who confirm aspects of Jesus’ life and death, as well as the existence of early worshippers of Christ.
  • A number of Roman government officials mention Jesus and the beliefs and practices of the early Christian church which led to their persecution, such as Pliny the Younger (early 2nd century), Emperor Trajan (early 2nd century), and Emperor Hadrian (early 2nd century).
  • Lucian of Samosata (2nd century) was a Greek writer who critiqued early Christianity. His critique highlights that Jesus was crucified, that Christians worshipped Jesus, that Christians believed in immortality, and that they were devoted to Jesus’ teachings.
  • Within the Jewish Talmud (1st-2nd Century) there is a reference in “Sanhedrin 43a” to Jesus’ crucifixion on the eve of Passover as a result of charges of sorcery and blasphemy.
  • There are a number of other early references to Jesus Christ and early Christianity as well.
  • The extra-biblical testimony to the life of Jesus Christ, the reality of his crucifixion, and the fact that early Christians worshipped him as the resurrected Lord is more extensive than many people often realize.
  • This extra-biblical testimony is positive affirmation for the historical reliability of the biblical record of Jesus Christ.

For more information on the historicity of Jesus Christ and early Christianity, please check out the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, available in our online store.