So what does strolling down memory lane (Part 1) have to do with my goals to share the great reasons for belief in Jesus Christ? Before going into that, it was meaningful taking the time to reflect upon different aspects of my duties there in Oklahoma. There are many more reflections that I did not share because I did not want to tire you with too many of them. But there is a connection between mentioning my memories of this time in Oklahoma City and the truthfulness of the New Testament. Many skeptics say that the Bible is inaccurate because of the time-lapse from when the events occurred and when they were recorded. That memories fade. This allowed for inaccuracies/legend to sneak into the narratives, they say.
However, just like I have a good memory about the events in Oklahoma that happened over twenty years ago, I can also have confidence that Paul had a good memory of what happened to him in the same approximate time frame:
• Accepted scholarship tells us that Paul most likely wrote Galatians between the dates of 49 AD-57 AD
• Paul writes in Galatians that he went to Jerusalem three years after he encountered the risen Jesus (Galatians 1:15-18)
• He then travels to Jerusalem again fourteen years later and meets with church leaders again (Galatians 2:1)
• Taking the late date of 57 AD (the latest date of writing for Galatians) and subtracting seventeen years from this date gets you to 40 AD (very close to the crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus)
• Paul wrote about his experiences with the risen Jesus Christ and his conference with Peter and James (about their experiences with the risen Jesus Christ) approximately ten years after they occurred (give or take a few years)
This evidence reveals that the testimony of Paul can be relied upon because he would have good recall of the events that he writes about. Just like I have detailed memories of my time working at the Murrah Building recovery site twenty years ago, so Paul would have good recall of not only his experience with the risen Christ but also an accurate memory of conferring with Peter and James about their experiences with the risen Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Just like a reasonable person would conclude that I was most likely at the Murrah Building site and that my post of my time in OK City had a ring of truth about it, we can also have confidence in the reports of Paul about his encounter with the risen Jesus Christ. Those of us who have some years behind us realize that we have no problem remembering significant events that happened to us twenty years ago (and longer). This common human experience confirms the details of Paul’s letter in contrast to the accusations of skeptics to discredit the New Testament.