For instance, the temptation in the desert. It was only Jesus and Satan there. Who could have recorded that?

Or the prayers of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane? Jesus went up alone while the disciples slept. Who could have recorded the words He spoke there as an eye witness?

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    The simplest explanation is that Jesus told his disciples afterwards.
    – curiousdannii
    Nov 20, 2018 at 0:31
  • That seems simple enough. Although for Gethsemane His disciples would have definitely had to ask Him post resurrection. Nov 20, 2018 at 0:37
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    @JairCrawford Could have also been in Gethsemane when he told them to pray. “Teacher, what have you been praying about?” “I’ve been praying: ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ Now pray, and stay awake this time!” Nov 20, 2018 at 3:38
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    It is not claimed by anyone that any of the Gospels is only an eyewitness account. All of them contain at least something that the author could not have seen for himself. Nov 20, 2018 at 21:04
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    @DJClayworth Good point. In fact Luke's Gospel is likely entirely investigative reporting. May 27, 2020 at 11:37

2 Answers 2


Using Occam's razor, there is no reason to expect a supernatural medium for the transmission of this information to the disciples. Jesus spent three years with his disciples. They had plenty of time to sit around the campfire, telling stories.


It is not wise to "assume the Gospels are eye-witness accounts."

  1. At most, only two Gospels--Matthew and John--were.

    • Both were among the original Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:1-4; Luke 6:12-16)
    • Luke admits in the opening verses of his account that he was not an eye-witness [Luke 1:1-4].
    • We first read of Mark in Acts 12; years after Jesus had ascended into heaven.
  2. As to how certain events in Jesus' private life could have been recorded, I think a quote from one who was an eye-witness, and of the Twelve, suffices:

    • 2 Peter 1:20, 21 [MEV]: "20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of the Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy at any time was produced by the will of man, but holy men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
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    My belief is that Mark is close enough to eye-witness testimony as there is a very early and long-standing tradition that Mark was Peter's personal secretary who transcribed Peter's account to him to put into writing. Apr 27, 2020 at 13:50

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