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1-Page Summary of The Case for Christ

Overall Summary

Lee Strobel is a journalist and a lawyer. He has earned degrees in journalism and law, as well as experience working for newspapers. However, when his wife becomes a Christian, he begins to question her beliefs by applying the skills of an investigative journalist and lawyer to determine whether there’s any credible evidence backing up the Bible’s claims about God and Jesus’ crucifixion saving mankind.

In order to investigate the Bible, Strobel decides to interview a number of experts in Christianity. He splits the book into three sections: examining the record; investigating the man; and weighing the evidence. In each section he interviews people who have different backgrounds but all agree that they can verify whether or not what is written in the Bible is true. Each chapter follows a specific structure: an anecdote from his time as a lawyer (an opening), then an interview with one expert on this topic (the overwhelming majority of each chapter), followed by some concluding remarks at its end.

The first part of the book, which is based on interviews with Dr. Craig Blomberg and others, shows Strobel’s skepticism about whether the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) can be trusted as historically accurate accounts of Jesus’ life. The second chapter focuses on how well preserved the Bible has been over time and whether it has been altered from its original forms. The third chapter features an interview with Dr. Edwin Yamauchi who discusses how non-Christian texts mention Jesus’ miracles in much the same way as they are mentioned in the Bible; this corroborates that these events actually happened. In his fourth chapter, Strobel speaks to Dr. John McRay who provides some archaeological evidence for biblical stories like Noah’s Ark or Sodom & Gomorrah. Finally, Strobel concludes that first part by interviewing Dr. Gregory Boyd who offers rebuttal evidence against arguments made by fringe Christian theologians called ‘The Jesus Seminar.’

The second part of The Case for Christ is about Jesus’ life and claims. Strobel asks four questions: (1) Did Jesus believe he was the Son of God? (2) Was he crazy? (3) Did he embody the attributes of God, if not, then did he fulfill Jewish prophecies? To answer these questions, Strobel interviews Dr. Ben Witherington III to find out whether or not Jesus believed in himself as a son of God; Dr. Gary Collins to see if there were any signs that Jesus was crazy; and Louis Lapides who tells him that the fulfilled prophesies convinced him that Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

The third section of Strobel’s investigation focuses on the resurrection. He starts by speaking with a medical doctor who has studied crucifixion to understand how Jesus could have survived it, and then speaks with an expert in textual evidence about why his body disappeared from the tomb. Next, he interviews another expert who discusses whether or not Jesus was seen alive after the cross, using 1 Corinthians as support for that claim. In his final chapter, Strobel returns to corroborating evidence and interviews a scholar about other historical sources that support the idea of a real resurrection.

Strobel ends the book by summing up his arguments in each chapter and explaining why he converted to Christianity. He says that after investigating for hundreds of days, he concluded that the evidence is much more convincing than it was before. On November 8, 1981, Strobel officially converts to Christianity in what he calls “the pivotal event” of his life. The last part of the conclusion outlines steps a reader should take if he—like Strobel—has been convinced of Christianity’s validity, as well as how skeptics can research answers from experts before coming to their final conclusion. Strobel encourages skeptics to continue on their spiritual quest and gives them his sincere encouragement.

The Case for Christ Book Summary, by Lee Strobel