Does archaeological evidence prove that the Bible is the divine word of God? No. But what it does do is confirm the historicity and accuracy of the words on its pages, giving us good reason to believe what it says elsewhere. For over a century and a half archaeologists have been finding out just how precise and accurate the things written in the Bible really are. Specialists in the field have literally used the Bible as a guidebook in the search and recovery of cities, people, nations, civilizations, and even information regarding certain events that have taken place.

Dr. Nelson Glueck, one of the world’s greatest archaeologists who had more than 1,000 discoveries under his belt was interviewed by Time magazine before his death in 1971 where he said, “It may be stated, categorically that no archaeological find has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological finds have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible; and by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often lead to amazing discoveries.”

To date there have been over 25,000 archaeological discoveries in the Bible lands which serve to only confirm the reliability of Old and New Testament texts. Some of these include the following:

Sodom and Gomorrah

The account of Sodom and Gomorrah, one of the most controversial stories of the Old Testament (Gen 19:23-29) actually has archaeological evidence to support its occurrence! Two cities that were destroyed at the same time to the Southeast of the Dead Sea were discovered buried in three to four feet of ash by Walter Rast and Thomas Schaub in 1973.

The rubble from the buildings suggests that they were burnt from the roof down, which falls in line with Gen 19:24 where is says "Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of [the sky]."

Flavius Josephus, a highly regarded Jewish historian mentioned that the remains were still visible in his day (37-100 AD).

Nineveh

A principal city and the last capital of Assyria, Nineveh is mentioned in a handful of places throughout the Bible and is the subject city in the book of Jonah. It was was uncovered by Austin Henry Layard in 1849, and among the discoveries were the palaces of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:36) and Ashurbanipal (Ezra 4:10) as well as over 25,000 inscribed tablets. Today the British Museum holds dozens of artifacts including sculptures like the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17 & 18) and other pieces of stone panels and tablets. Skeptics used to ridicule the Bible about the story of Jonah because up until its discovery, the only place it was ever mentioned was in the Bible.

Noah’s Ark

Many people do not know that Ark from the ancient story of Noah (Gen 6:9-8:19) actually exists. Rediscovered by Ron Wyatt in 1960, it was found in the exact location mentioned in the Genesis record, the mountains of Ararat in what is currently Eastern Turkey. The dimensions match the Biblical account exactly (300 cubits long,50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high) and core tests even revealed animal dung, the base of an antler, as well as human and cat hair.

An interesting point to mention is that Flavius Josephus stated, "Its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day." He quotes Berosus the Chaldean, (c. 290 BC) who indicated that tourists would take home pieces of the ark for making good-luck charms, "It is said there is still some part of this ship in Armenia, at the mountain of the Cordyaeans; and that some people carry off pieces of the bitumen, which they take away, and use chiefly as amulets for the averting of mischiefs."

King David

David is the most popular and loved of all Israel's kings. In the past however, some liberal scholars have denied that King David was a historical figure because there was no mention of him outside of the Bible. Their view changed in 1993 though when at an excavation at Tel-Dan in Northern Israel they found a now famous stone with an Aramaic inscription referring to the House of David. In 1994 two more fragments of the same stone inscription were discovered, again mentioning the House of David. These discoveries even caught the eye of Time Magazine who on December 18, 1995 published an article where they said that these inscriptions dated to the 9th century BC, which is only a century after David's reign. The skeptics' claim that King David never existed is now hard to defend.

Miller Burroughs from Yale University has said that “archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened the confidence in the reliability of the scriptural record. More than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine.”

Archaeology however has not worked so well for other religions like Mormonism. Not one city, ruin, coin, letter, document, river, mountain, or other topographical location has been found that was mentioned by Joseph Smith. So bare is the archaeological landscape of Mormonism that in 1998, National Geographic wrote a statement saying that “scholars have long probed the hemispheres past and the society does not know of anything so far that has substantiated the book of Mormon.” Also, the Smithsonian of Washington DC in 1996 said that “the Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian Archaeologists see no connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the Book.”

I think it is safe to say that due to the thousands of archaeological discoveries relating to the Bible, that it is incredibly accurate in its description of people, places, and events.

categories: apologetics, bible