Victors write history.
Readers are given a one-sided perspective that often portrays the winners as heroes and champions of a noble cause. Recently one of my nieces quoted the following proverb that drives home the point:
“Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter.”
There is no such thing as objective history until all sides have spoken. Even then discernment is needed to sift through “the facts.”
For example, Columbus’ version of discovering the new world must be balanced by the natives’ version. Until the marginalized, conquered, enslaved, disenfranchised, persecuted, and poor are given a voice, history will reflect only the selective memory of the elites. The “people’s history” must be told.
If we read only the official first-century Roman account of Jesus’ life and death, we learn that Jesus was a minor, even insignificant, revolutionary situated in the far eastern section of the Empire. He stirred up trouble, and the Roman bureaucracy and native retainers brought him swiftly to justice, executed him, and dispersed his followers. That’s the version approved by the authorities.
The account written from “below” tells another story—how God raised Jesus from the dead and enthroned him as king of the universe. Rome’s days were numbered. Caesar’s power over the world would come to an end. Jesus is the earth’s rightful ruler who will return to claim his possession. The NT is the alternative story that must be taken into account.