Not a single archaeological discovery has ever proven anything about the Bible to be false. To the contrary, discoveries continue to bear out the accuracy of the Bible as archaeologists unearth cities mentioned in the Bible, for example, with the names of leaders and rulers etched in stone as well as other artifacts. As one archaeologist commented, “Archaeologists used to dig to disprove the Bible; now archaeologists read the Bible to find out where to dig.”
Millar Burrows of Yale confirms that archaeologists continue to discover what the Bible says they should, where they should:
The Bible is supported by archaeological evidence again and again. On the whole, there can be no question that the results of excavation have increased the respect of scholars for the Bible as a collection of historical documents. The confirmation is both general and specific. The fact that the record can be so often explained or illustrated by archaeological history as only a genuine product of ancient life could do. In addition to this general authentication, however, we find the record verified repeatedly at specific points. Names of places and persons turn up at the right places and in the right periods. (Footnote #19)
It is clear skeptics cannot argue that archaeological discoveries disprove the Bible. Sir Frederic Kenyon wrote, “It is therefore legitimate to say that, in respect of that part of the Old Testament against which the disintegrating criticism of the last half of the nineteenth century was chiefly directed, the evidence of archaeology has been to re-establish its value by rendering it more intelligible through a fuller knowledge of its background and setting. Archaeology has not yet said its last word: but the results already achieved confirm what faith would suggest, that the Bible can do nothing but gain from an increase of knowledge.” (Footnote #20)
For example, the excavation of Gezer in 1969 ran across a massive layer of ash that covered most of the mound. Sifting through the material 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: “Pharaoh king of Egypt had attacked and captured Gezer. He then burned it down, killed the Canaanites who lived in the city, and gave it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife (1 Kings 9:16).” (Footnote #21)
There have been more than 25,000 archaeological discoveries in connection with the Old Testament, and not one contradicts the Bible. Archaeologist William F. Albright has declared, “The excessive skepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history.” (Footnote #22)
The same can be said of the New Testament. Some critics, for example, have argued that the book of Luke is inaccurate, but Professor F. F. Bruce points out, “Where Luke has been suspected of inaccuracy, and accuracy has been vindicated by some inscription evidence, it may be legitimate to say that archaeology has confirmed the New Testament record.” (Footnote #23)
Similarly, Yale archaeologist Millar Burrows reports, “On the whole, archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened 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.” (Footnote #24)
Sir William Ramsey is one scholar who originally believed the book of Acts, written by Luke, was not accurate. However, after thirty years of study, he changed his mind and declared, “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 of historians.” (Footnote #25)
As with the Old Testament, archaeological discoveries bear witness to the places described in the New Testament. This includes:
• The pavement of John 19:13
• The pool of Bethesda
• Jacob’s well
• The pool of Siloam
• The ancient cities of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum, and Chorazin
• The residence of Pilate in Jerusalem. (Footnote #26)
So, the Bible also sails through the external test.
19 Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands the Verdict (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999) p. 371.
20 Ibid., 373.
21 Ibid., 380.
22 William F. Albright, The Archaeology of Palestine (Baltimore: Penguin, 1949), 127–28.
23 Archaeological Confirmation of the New Testament, 331; quoted by Dr. Norm Geisler in his book Unshakable Foundations, 271.
24 What Mean These Stones? (New Haven; CT: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1941), 1, quoted by Geisler, Unshakable Foundations, 271.
25 The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 222; quoted by Geisler, Unshakable Foundations, 272.
26 Geisler and Bocchino, Unshakable Foundations, 270.