How realistic are the descriptions of events in the NT? Are they clearly exaggerated to make them more compelling and impressive, or do the accounts describe real life situations?
The presence of “larger than life” features in a document indicates the formation of myths and legends, and point to a later time of writing. Great illustrations of this type of exaggerations are found all throughout the “apocryphal mill gospels” of the second or third century.
For instance, in the well known, second century Infancy Gospel of Thomas we read: ”When this child Jesus was five years old……..He made soft clay and modeled twelve sparrows from it……Jesus clapped his hands and cried to the sparrows, “Be gone.” And the sparrows flew off chirping.”  And as another illustration: “After some days Jesus was playing upstairs in a certain house, and one of the children playing with him fell from the house and died….Then Jesus leaped down from the roof and stood by the body of the child and cried out lout in a great voice, saying ‘Zenon!’ – that was his name – ‘rise up and tell me, did I thrown you down?’ He immediately rose up and said: ‘No, Lord, you did not throw me down, but you raised me.’ The parents of the child glorified God because of this sign that happened, and they worshiped Jesus.” 
Another unrealistic “larger than life” story is found in the end of the second century Acts of Paul. We read that Paul is beheaded by order of Nero, and milk flows from his neck: “But when the executioners struck of his head, milk spurted upon the soldiers clothing.”  Next, Paul is resurrected from the dead and visits Nero: “…he [Paul] stood before him [Nero] and said: ‘Caesar, here I am – Paul, God’s soldier. I am not dead, but alive in my God. But for you, unhappy man, there shall be many evils and great punishment, because you unjustly shed the blood of the righteous.’” 
What a difference between these second century “gospels” and authentic New Testament texts. Comparing these colorful, fanciful, and clearly imaginary accounts from later generations of Christians to the careful, sober, and precise witness testimonies from the New Testament shows the lack of creative exaggeration in the canonical documents.
The gospels, Acts, and Paul’s epistles describe real life events, not fancy fiction. Yes, miracles are recorded here and all miracles are beyond the laws of nature, such as walking on water, calming a storm and feeding thousands of people with a single lunch. Yet still His miracles are “in character,” they do not portray a flying Jesus, talking crosses or other outrageous events, but just Jesus responding compassionately to the needs of the people.
Start reading about the next criterion: (1) Motive for falsification?
 The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, text from Willis Barnstone, editor, The Other Bible (1984), page 399.
 Ibid, page 401.
 The Acts of Paul, text from Willis Barnstone, editor, The Other Bible (1984), page 457.
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