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So what should be included, and

what should be excluded in such a

critical literary endeavor?

In reporting the events in the

life of an extremely eminent figure

in world history, what human

writer would omit the birth—as

Mark and John did? What author

would skip over the first thirty

years of the person’s life—as all

four of the Gospel writers did

(with Luke’s one exception of an

incident in Jesus’ life at the age of

12)? The baptism of Jesus is told

in 12 lines by Matthew, and in six

lines by Mark and Luke. Of the 12

post-resurrection appearances of

Jesus, two are noted by Matthew,

three each by Mark and Luke,

and four by John. In Acts, Luke

provided the only inspired re-

port of the first 30 years of the

history of the church and the

spread of Christianity—and

he did it in just 28

chapters! The

untimely death

of the first apostle, James,

which must have been a tre-

mendous blow to the early

church (on the order of, say,

the assassination of Pres-

ident John F. Kennedy to

Americans), is recorded in a short

11 words. With such cataclysmic,

earthshaking subject matter, how

did these authors produce such

succinct, condensed, concise

histories consisting of only a few

pages? The answer? They wrote

under the overruling influence (in

this case, restraint) of the Holy

Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

*For more amazing evidence for the

Bible’s inspiration, visit the Inspiration

of the Bible section of the A.P. Web site.

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Valor & Virtue