Is the Bible historically accurate? (part 22)

 The Authenticity of the Bible – The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict – Josh McDowell Part 4

In the next few days I will be sharing portions of the article “Archaeology and the new Atheism:The Plausibility of the Biblical Record,” Apologetic Press. Dewayne Bryant is the author and in the first portion he notes:

Archaeology demonstrates solid connections between the biblical record and ancient history, in contrast to Christopher Hitchens’ assertion that it is an implausible record. Consider the following:

The Patriarchs

Critics often malign the patriarchs without just cause. They insist that camels were not domesticated during the patriarchal age, thus constituting an anachronism in the biblical text. Yet evidence of camel domestication appears as early as 2000 B.C. in several places in Mesopotamia, concurrent with Abraham—if not slightly preceding him (Kitchen, 2003, p. 339). Another point of confidence is the names of the patriarchs. While God selected Jacob’s name, they all highlight the Mesopotamian roots of Abraham since the names of Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, and Joseph are all of Amorite origin (pp. 341-342). These names were at the height of their popularity when the patriarchs lived in the early second millennium and quickly fell into disuse in subsequent centuries.

A vital piece of evidence is the structure of covenants in the Bible. Covenants made in antiquity evolved over time, and each period has a distinct structure for the covenants made at various times and particular locations. Kenneth Kitchen has surveyed a wide range of covenants used from the third millennium through the first millennium B.C. (Kitchen, 2003, pp. 283-289). He found the Abrahamic covenant made in Genesis 15-17 fits securely in the early second millennium, while the covenants in Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Joshua 24 fit only in a late second millennium context.

After the evidence is surveyed, it is apparent that much of the criticism of the Bible arises—not from intense scrutiny of the evidence—but from ignorance of it. The overwhelming weight of the archaeological and historical evidence firmly places the Bible in the sphere of reality rather than myth.

REFERENCES

Hitchens, Christopher (2007), God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything(New York: Hachette).

Hoffmeier, James K. (1996), Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Kitchen, Kenneth A., trans. (2000) “The Battle of Kadesh—The Poem, or Literary Record,” The Context of Scripture, Volume Two: Monumental Inscriptions Form the Biblical World (Leiden: Brill).

Kitchen, Kenneth A. (2003), On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).

 

EDITOR’S NOTES: The original article can be found at: http://www.apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=968

As of April 8, 2011, Dewayne Bryant holds two Masters degrees, and is completing Masters study in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, while pursuing doctoral studies at Amridge University. He has participated in an archaeological dig at Tell El-Borg in Egypt and holds professional membership in the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the Archaeological Institute of America.

I will be sharing portions of the article “How Do We Know that the Bible Is True?,” by Dr. Jason Lisle, Answers in Genesis, March 22, 2011. Here is the first part:

The Bible is an extraordinary work of literature, and it makes some astonishing claims. It records the details of the creation of the universe, the origin of life, the moral law of God, the history of man’s rebellion against God, and the historical details of God’s work of redemption for all who trust in His Son. Moreover, the Bible claims to be God’s revelation to mankind. If true, this has implications for all aspects of life: how we should live, why we exist, what happens when we die, and what our meaning and purpose is. But how do we know if the claims of the Bible are true?

 

Some Typical Answers

A number of Christians have tried to answer this question. Unfortunately, not all of those answers have been as cogent as we might hope. Some answers make very little sense at all. Others have some merit but fall short of proving the truth of the Bible with certainty. Let’s consider some of the arguments that have been put forth by Christians.

A Subjective Standard

Some Christians have argued for the truth of the Scriptures by pointing to the changes in their own lives that belief in the God who inspired the Bible has induced. Receiving Jesus as Lord is a life-changing experience that brings great joy. A believer is a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, this change does not in and of itself prove the Bible is true. People might experience positive feelings and changes by believing in a position that happens to be false.

At best, a changed life shows consistency with the Scriptures. We would expect a difference in attitudes and actions given that the Bible is true. Although giving a testimony is certainly acceptable, a changed life does not (by itself) demonstrate the truth of the Scriptures. Even an atheist might argue that his belief in atheism produces feelings of inner peace or satisfaction. This does not mean that his position is true.

The truth of the Bible is obvious to anyone willing to fairly investigate it. The Bible is uniquely self-consistent and extraordinarily authentic. It has changed the lives of millions of people who have placed their faith in Christ. It has been confirmed countless times by archaeology and other sciences. It possesses divine insight into the nature of the universe and has made correct predictions about distant future events with perfect accuracy. When Christians read the Bible, they cannot help but recognize the voice of their Creator. The Bible claims to be the Word of God, and it demonstrates this claim by making knowledge possible. It is the standard of standards. The proof of the Bible is that unless its truth is presupposed, we couldn’t prove anything at all.8

  • Footnote #8 This fact has been recognized and elaborated upon by Christian scholars such as Dr. Cornelius Van Til and Dr. Greg Bahnsen.
 
I grew up listening to sermons by Adrian Rogers who was the longtime pastor of Bellevue Church in Memphis.  
 
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