Is the Bible a book of fairy tales describing fake events in imaginary places? Uhh, no. Not only is there archeology that confirms the Bible, the Bible is used to confirm archeology!
The Bible Used To Explain Archaeological Finds…
In their book, When Skeptics Ask, Geisler and Brooks talk about a pretty fascinating archaeological find:
The excavation of Gezer in 1969 ran across a massive layer of ash that covered most of the mound. Sifting through the ash yielded pieces of Hebrew, Egyptian, and Philistine artifacts. Apparently all three cultures had been there at the same time. This puzzled researchers greatly until they realized that the Bible told them exactly what they had found.
Some archeologists found it interesting what the Bible had to say about this:
For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and captured Gezer, and burned it with fire, and killed the Canaanites [Philistines] who lived in the city, and had given it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife. So Solomon rebuilt Gezer… (1 Kings 9:16-17).
So the Bible tells us that the Egyptians captured and burned down Gezer in which the Canaanites were living. Later, the Egyptians gave the city to Solomon – who rebuilt it. This explains the fact that “a massive layer of ash” covered the site and “yielded pieces of Hebrew, Egyptian, and Philistine artifacts”.
No wonder the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Anthropology has an official statement on “The Bible As History” that says:
… much of the Bible, in particular the historical books of the old testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories.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 archeological work. For the most part, historical events described took place and the peoples cited really existed.
But, Wait! There’s More!
A seven-foot stele named the Israel Stele, engraved with hieroglyphics, boasts of an Egyptian pharaoh’s conquest of Libyans and peoples in Palestine, including the Israelites. As the stone states: “Israel — his seed is not.” This is the earliest reference to Israel in non-biblical sources and demonstrates that, as of c. 1230 BC, the Hebrews were already living in the Promised Land and were recognized as an independent ethnic group.
A commemorative hieroglyphic carved on the walls of the Temple of Amon at Thebes tells of Shishak’s conquest of Judah under Rehoboam’s rule ( confirms 1 Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12 ).
A three-foot stone slab called the Moabite Stone, tells of the repulsion of king Mesha by the Israelites ( confirms 2 Kings: 3).
On a six-and-a-half-foot black obelisk found in Nimrud, a depiction of Jehu, king of Israel, is kneeling before the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser III (confirms 2 Kings 9-10). This is the only depiction of a Hebrew monarch ever discovered.
A burial plaque, discovered on the Mount of Olives, reads: “Here, the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, were brought. Do not open.” King Uzziah is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 26.
In addition to these finds, Jericho, Haran, Hazor, Dan, Megiddo, Shechem, Samaria, Shiloh, Gezer, Gibeah, Beth Shemesh, Beth Shean, Beersheba, Lachish, and many other biblical sites have been discovered. Such excavations are extremely significant in demonstrating that fact, not fantasy, is intended in the Old Testament historical narratives; otherwise, the specificity regarding these urban sites would have been replaced by “Once upon a time” narratives with little to no description of actual historical sites.
The list goes on and on and on….
The New Testament…
The NT is constantly confirmed by archaeology. Instead of listing names of places, I’ll give two of the most common rejections of the NT’s historical accuracy.
The Census and Quirinius:
(1) There was no such census, (2) Quirinius wasn’t the governor at that time, and (3) people didn’t have to return to their ancestral geographic location (like Bethlehem).
(1)We know that the Romans held a census every 14 years and that it was started by Augustus. (2) An inscription found in Antioch tells of Quirinius being governor of Syria around 7 B.C.. (3) A papyrus tells us about the Roman census:”Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their home should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment…”
Iconium a city of Phrygia?
Many archaeologists believe that Luke was completely wrong by saying that Iconium was a city of Phrygia because they believe that Phrygia was actually within Lycaonia.
Xenophon, who marched with Cyrus’ expedition through Phrygia, calls Iconium the last city of Phrygia. Other ancient authorities who knew the local conditions speak of Iconium as Phrygian.
These rebuttals shows that Luke, yet again, proves to be an excellent historian.
The New Testament, especially the writings of Luke, is filled with accurate historical data. So much that the studies of both archaeology and ancient history alike have been very impressed. The famous archaeologist and once skeptic Sir William Ramsey wrote, “Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.” The classical historian A.N. Sherwin-White writes, “ … for Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming … any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd. Roman historians have long taken it for granted.” The discoveries of the archaeologist, the pen of ancient Christian historians, and tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts provide evidence that the Bible is a volume which is historically reliable and that its text has been preserved in a pure form. In other words, it is trustworthy.