Bible Think

The Bible and Archaeology

One of the clearest kinds of evidence about the reliability of the Bible is the evidence provided by archaeology. The Bible contains descriptions of people, places and events, and sometimes has descriptions with considerable detail. Archaeologists may uncover sites which are relevant to the narrative of the Bible and when this occurs one can compare the Bible account with the physical evidence in the ground. The correspondence between the two is often startling.

In the Middle East ancient towns were often built on the ruins of earlier towns. The result is a mound called a “Tell” which is the indication of long habitation. The archaeologists dig through the tell and identify places where the ground changes; the divisions between layers usually mark a major destruction such as a fire or the end of a siege; they are called horizons. By matching the artefacts found inside the different layers (often pottery fragments) archaeologists have built up a chronology of the levels. Occasionally an inscription will be found which allows a level to be dated even more precisely. Looking at clues of this kind, the history of the site can be constructed.

 

The discoveries made in this manner can be compared with the Bible. This gives an independent check that the accounts in the Bible are reliable. However, it is important to remember that archaeology is a human study and that sometimes archaeologists make mistakes. One would therefore expect a small amount of mismatch between the findings of archaeology and the Bible, even if the Bible is 100% accurate. In reality the degree of correspondence between archaeology and the Bible is very high.

 

Some of the most spectacular correspondences between the Bible and archaeological finds include the evidence of Assyrian invasion of Judah during the reign of King Hezekiah (around 700BC), the Moabite Stone and its account which matches the Bible account of a campaign against Moab (2 Kings 3) and the find of houses and other buildings in Jerusalem from the time of Jesus. These have a detailed correspondence with the accounts in the Bible.

 

More controversial, but still impressive are the correspondence between the detail of the destruction of Jericho in about 1400BC and the account of Joshua’s conquest of the town in Joshua 6 and the multiple finds related to the reign of King David (King of Israel just before 1000BC).

 

The Bible is full of incidents which are directly confirmed by archaeology and there are very few places where archaeology appears to contradict the Bible. New finds are often presented as undermining the Bible, but when they are fully considered an put into context it is usually the case that they confirm rather than contradict it.

Archaeology and the Gospels

The correspondences between the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry and the archaeology of the area are compelling. Click here for a presentation of the archaeology of this period.

Old Testament Archaeology

The Old Testament covers the history of Israel from the Exodus in about 1450BC to the middle of the Persian period in about 400BC. Large numbers of discoveries by archaeologists confirm the Bible accounts.

Archaeology and the Bible

Watch this Space for a pdf document which provides a survey of the way that Archaeology supports the Bible.

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Home Page

Click here to link to the website home page.

Reliability Home Page

Click here to link to the home page on the reliability of the Bible.

The Archaeology of Paul

Paul travelled through Turkey, Greece and Syria, as well as journeys to Rome. The accounts of his travels correspond very closely with what archaeologists have discovered. Click here for a summary. (article to follow).

Archaeology