Darryl's thoughts on the Christian Faith, Facts, and World Events
One way we can confirm that the Bible is reliable is through archaeology. Archaeology, “the study of human history through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains.” Psalms 85:11 says, “truth springs up from the earth.” When we study the archaeological evidences for the Bible we can see that the discoveries of archaeology confirm the Bible’s truth. Let’s take a look at just a few of many archaeological discoveries that confirm the Bible.
In the last 200 years, archaeologists have confirmed many of the small historical details in the Bible such as the names of rulers, cities, place, etc. Many times, the Bible’s accuracy has been challenged by critics but later, archaeological discoveries have confirmed the Bible’s accuracy and the challenges were overcome. Here are a few examples.
Since 1964, when excavation began in Syria of an ancient kingdom that was destroyed in 2250 B.C. 17,000 Ebla Tablets have been discovered. These clay tablets have disproven many of the arguments against the Old Testament. Critics claimed that writing did not exist at the time of Moses and so the early Old Testament books were nothing more than oral traditions passed down over generations and could not be trustworthy. The Ebla tablets show that a thousand years before Moses, laws, customs, and events were recorded in writing in the same area of the world where the Old Testament was written.
Critics also assumed that the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar mentioned in Genesis 14 never really existed. The Ebla tablets confirm that they were real cities.
The Old Testament also has lots of text about the Kingdom of Assyria that conquered Israel around 722 B.C. For years, many critics claimed that there was no such kingdom. However, in 1843, Paul Emile Botta discovered an artifact with details of Sargon the Second, who was the king of Assyria mentioned in Isaiah 20:1.
Critics also mistakenly assumed that the Hittites, mentioned many times in the Bible, including Joshua 1:4 never existed. Recently, hundreds of artifacts overlapping 1,200 years of Hittite civilization have been discovered. The critics were wrong again.
In Joshua 6:20, the Bible reports that the walls of Jericho fell, the Israelites charged straight in. When archaeologists excavated the city, they discovered that the walls of Jericho really fell down. They fell outwardly and flat, forming a ramp that an army could have used to invade the city.
In Joshua 24:32, Joseph was buried in Shechem, Palestine. According to the Bible, Joseph was an Israelite who was sold as a slave to Egypt. He became an important ruler in Egypt. When the Israelites left Egypt they took the body of Joseph with them and buried the body in Shechem. According to John Elder, “For centuries there was a tomb at Shechem reverenced as the tomb of Joseph. A few years ago, the tomb was opened. It was found to contain a body mummified according to the Egyptian custom, and in the tomb among other things was a sword of the kind worn by Egyptian officials.”
Critics once doubted they accuracy of the Book of Daniel in part because there was no evidence confirming the Bible’s report that “Belshazzar” was king of Babylon. Later research showed, however that the reigning king, Nabonidus, appointed Belshazzar as co-regent while he was away.
Sir William Ramsay, a skeptical archaeologist in the 1800s, believed the Book of Acts in the New Testament was written at a much later date by someone other than Luke. However as the result of his archaeological research, he changed his mind and became convinced that Luke really wrote the book of Acts at the earlier time. He came to regard Luke as the, “greatest of historians.” If Luke was so accurate about his historical accounts, his accounts of miracles and Christ’s resurrection are likely to be historically accurate as well.
The same scientific and archaeological research that confirms the Bible, discredits the accuracy of the sacred books of other religions such as the Book of Mormon of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The founder, Joseph Smith, claimed that the Book of Mormon was the true history of the Americas. However, the artifacts, cities, people, places, or events mentioned in the book of Mormon have never been found. DNA research has disproven the Book of Mormon’s claim that the native peoples of the Americas came from Israel. “Nothing which demonstrates the Book of Mormon is anything other than a myth or invention has ever been found.”
On the other hand, the great archaeologist William F. Albright, stated, “archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition.” Dr. Scott McRay, author of Archaeology and the New Testament, was asked, “Does archaeology affirm or undermine the New Testament when it checks out the details in those accounts?” Dr. McRay answered, “There’s no question that the credibility of the New Testament is enhanced, just as the credibility of any document is enhanced when you excavate and find that the author was accurate in talking about a particular place or event.
These are just a few of many examples of discoveries that confirm the historical accuracy of the Bible. Unlike the sacred books of other religions which either cannot be tested with archaeology or are discredited by archaeological discoveries, the more we research this topic, the stronger our faith becomes. If the Bible is accurate about the people, places, and events of ancient history we can trust that it is accurate about its teachings and miracles as well.
A Christian Apologist, Author, Missionary, Husband, and Father. Darryl has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University (CA), an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University (CA), and a BA in Political Science from Truman State University (MO).