HAVE YOU WONDERED: Is the Bible historically accurate?
Modern archaeology has helped us realize that the Bible is historically accurate even in the smallest of details. There have been thousands of archaeological discoveries in the past century that support every book of the Bible. Here are just a few examples:
- Critics used to believe … the Bible was wrong because they felt that King David was a legendary, mythical character. They pointed to the fact that there was no archaeological evidence that King David was an actual historical figure.
But then … in 1994, archaeologists discovered an ancient stone slab in northern Galilee that was inscribed with the references to King David and the “House of David.”
- Critics used to believe … the Bible was wrong because there was no evidence (outside of the Bible) that a group of people called the Hittites ever existed. The Hittite civilization is mentioned approximately 40 times in the Old Testament, thus skeptics were convinced that this proved the Bible is a mythical creation of ancient Hebrew writers.
But then … in 1906, a German archaeologist named Hugo Winckler was excavating in Boghaz-Koi, Turkey, and discovered the capital city of the ancient Hittite empire, the entire Hittite library and 10,000 clay tablets documenting the Hittite history. Scholars translated these writings and discovered that everything the Bible said about the Hittite empire was true.
- Critics used to believe … that a king named Belshazzar never really existed, thus calling into question the historicity of the book of Daniel, which mentions this Babylonian king.
But then … in 1854, Henry Rawlinson discovered an inscription in Iraq that named Belshazzar as the oldest son and co-regent of King Nebonidus, who would often leave Belshazzar in charge of Babylon while he traveled. This discovery also helped to clarify Daniel 5:29, which states that Daniel was elevated to the “third highest ruler in the kingdom.”
- Critics used to believe … the book of Acts was not historically accurate. A man named Sir William Ramsay, who is well known to be one of the greatest historical scholars and archaeologists in history, decided to try to disprove the Bible as the inspired Word of God by showing that the book of Acts was not historically accurate.
But the … after 30 years of archaeological research in the Middle East, Ramsay came to the conclusion that “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy … this author should be placed along with the very greatest historians.” He later wrote a book on the trustworthiness of the Bible based on his discoveries and converted to Christianity. Sir Ramsay found no historical or geographical mistakes in the book of Acts. This is amazing when we realize that in the book of Acts, Luke mentions 32 countries, 54 cities, nine Mediterranean islands and 95 people and he did not get one wrong. Compare that with the Encyclopedia Britannica. The first year the Encyclopedia Britannica was published it contained so many mistakes regarding places in the United States that it had to be recalled.
- Critics used to believe … the Old Testament simply could not be reliable because they felt that over a long period of time the Old Testament writings would have been changed, altered, edited or corrupted.
But then … in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. These scrolls contained, among other writings, every book in the Old Testament (except Esther). Until the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, the earliest copy of the complete Old Testament was from A.D. 900. Scholars compared this copy with the Dead Sea Scrolls (produced around 1,000 years earlier) and found that the Old Testament had been handed down accurately through the centuries.
- The prestigious Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology has offered the following official statement pertaining to the historical reliability of the Old Testament:
“ … the historical books of the Old Testament are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories. These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient documents in archaeological work.”
- In other words, not only does archaeology confirm that the Bible is historically accurate, but professional archaeologists actually use the Bible as a guide in their work.
The great Jewish archaeologist Nelson Glueck, who is known to be one of the top three archaeologists in history, has stated the following: “No archaeological discovery has ever contradicted a single, properly understood Biblical statement.”
Russ Whitten is minister of Destin Church of Christ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is an excerpt from his new book, Have You Ever Wondered? — available now on www.amazon.com.