The Bible and Archaeology

ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDS DO not in themselves prove that the Bible is the word of God; nor do they prove the truth of statements about the future. If you have already realised this you might well ask – Why have we produced an issue of this magazine merely setting out a number of archaeological discoveries which have some connection with the record contained in the Bible? It is because archaeological finds have in many instances provided vital proof that statements, places, people or events which have been dismissed previously as mythical were indeed factual.

Despite attempts to discredit historical and geographical statements in the Bible, no evidence whatsoever has come to light which shows the Biblical record to be erroneous. It is true that some archaeological interpretations may be disputed, but this does not cast doubts upon the accuracy of the scriptural account; it only shows the fallibility of men.

In this branch of science lies a challenge to the Bible, for every time the archaeologists spade finds a potsherd, a statue, a brick, a seal or a scroll, it could prove a biblical statement to be inaccurate. But it is a challenge that has been more than met, for, far from proving the inaccuracy of the Bible, archaeology is constantly proving its truth.

The finds range from the time of the captivity and slavery of Egypt, to the rule of kings like Hezekiah and Jehu; from the invasion and captivities of Assyria and Babylon, to a notice which was used to try and excite people against the Apostle Paul. These are evidences which, like fulfilled prophecy, give a sparkle to faith and a confidence that our hope for the future stands on a reliable and proven base.

When Moses led the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt with its brick-making and building projects, he recognised the overruling power of God:

“Who is like unto thee, O Lord…thou in mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation”. Exodus 15:11,13

David in the Psalms demonstrates that he also recognised the power of God’s hand to save in marked contrast to that of man:

‘Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:’ Psalm 146:3-5

It was this help which Hezekiah received when he put his trust in God, for it is recorded of the siege by Sennacherib:

“Thus the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the King of Assyria.” 2 Chronicles 32:22

The Apostle Paul wrote to the young man Timothy

“…the foundation of God standeth sure”. 2 Tim 2:19

Archaeology can help to make us realise the sureness of God’s plan with the earth as revealed in his divine record. Just as a detective might piece together the evidence of a tyre print, an old bus ticket or some other apparently meaningless item to solve a mystery and reveal the truth, so we hope you will assimilate the facts and evidences available to establish in you a confidence that :-

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

But where does all this lead us? Surely it means that the proven accuracy of the Bible enables us to have every confidence in its inspiration and therefore encourage us to study its message of hope about the establishment of God’s Kingdom on the earth. Just as archaeology is important to us, so is the Bible’s message for all who will take time to read it, for it leads us to a complete understanding of God’s plan with the earth –

“But it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him”. 1 Corinthians 2:19

So take a thoughtful look at some of the evidence of archaeology presented in these pages.