FLOWER MOUND, TX: For a great number of English-speaking people, religious and nonreligious, the Bible is a pious book that contains information on acceptable behavior. However it is not always seen as a book recording reliable history. Unless outside sources confirm biblical history, history recorded in the Bible is met with skepticism or outright rejection.
Often its mere antiquity places suspicion on its reliability.
Validating the Bible’s historical accuracy
However, modern archaeology continues to validate the historical accuracy of the Bible. Historical David of the Old Testament was once questioned because there was no collaborating evidence for his existence–until inscriptions were found. The most celebrated was a fragment of a basalt inscription found at Tel Dan referencing the “House of David.”
It is an inscription from the late ninth-century BC shortly after the reign of the King.
While this is only one confirmation of the historical accuracy of the Bible’s text, archaeology has been very helpful time and time again in asserting the legitimate history recorded in the Scriptures.
Often archaeological discoveries do not directly verify historical events, but they picture customs, practices, and culture as they are described in the Bible.
The Bible is not intended to be a simple history of a people but a book of theology.
Its doctrines, however, are developed through their long history. The giving of the Law at Mount Sinai, comes in the historical recorded event of the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt–often referred to in the Bible.
The Law was necessary for the people to know what God expected of them as they took possession of the Promised Land. Years of captivity under the authority of rulers who worshiped multiple gods had dulled their forefathers’ worship of One God. They needed a fresh introduction to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and His claims on their lives.
Israel’s history, unlike other ancient records, records all of its warts and ungodlike behavior they participated in which supports its authenticity. Nothing is sugarcoated. Other ancient histories record only the people’s victories — not defeats or battle atrocities.
There still remain skeptics who say Jesus never existed. While that is a minority opinion among most biblical scholars, such skepticism does not stand the test of facts. If it is true that Jesus didn’t exist, Christianity certainly would have fallen as another cult. The life, death, and resurrection are the cornerstones of one of the world’s great religions. No Jesus. No Christianity.
Testimony of respected voices
Lee Strobel, atheist-turned-Christian, is the former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and best-selling author of more than twenty books. Strobel set out to disprove the historical accuracy of the resurrection and, after his extensive investigation, acknowledged the authenticity of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and became an avid follower of His teachings.
Former atheist, Alister McGrath, Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, wrote concerning his voyage to accepting historical Christianity,
“I was discovering that Christianity was far more intellectually robust than I had ever imagined. I had some major rethinking to do, and by the end of November , my decision was made: I turned my back on one faith and embraced another.” (McGrath, Alister (2010). Mere Theology. London: SPCK. p. 81.)
McGrath has become a well-known highly respected apologist for the historical accuracy of Jesus, His nature, and His resurrection.
C.S. Lewis, author of The Screwtape Letters and The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe, vigorously resisted conversion to Christianity.
He was an atheist until he read G. K. Chesterton’s book, The Everlasting Man. He reportedly came to Christianity “resisting like a prodigal, kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance to escape.”
Lewis famously said,
“Now it seems to me obvious that He [Jesus] was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.”
God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form. (Lewis, C. S., Mere Christianity, New York: HarperCollins, 1952, 53.)
If the Bible can be verified in many ways through the work of archaeology and the testimony of previous skeptics, then at the very least it deserves a hearing.
If Jesus of Nazareth was a historical person who walked the hills of Galilee, died on a Roman Cross in Jerusalem and rose from a borrowed tomb, then the narrative revealing His story must be taken as an actual account.
But it is not assumed that all objections have been met—they’re next.
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