Is the Bible historically accurate? (part 23)

The Authenticity of the Bible – The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict – Josh McDowell Part 5

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 second 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 Life of Joseph

In the very section of the Bible that Hitchens questions is found some of the most compelling evidence for the historicity of Scripture. As Egyptologist James K. Hoffmeier demonstrates, the story for Joseph rings true with numerous details (Hoffmeier, James K.,1996, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition,Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 77-98). The 20-shekel price paid for Joseph (Genesis 37:28) is consistent with the price of a slave c. 1700 B.C. Egyptian mummification took about 70 days once the period for mourning was included, which matches the time given for the mummification of Jacob (Genesis 50:3). Examples of non-Egyptians becoming viziers is known from Egyptian sources. Further, it appears that the story of Joseph was put down in writing during the 18th-19th Dynasties in Egypt, the very period during which Moses lived. This idea is borne out by the fact that the Pentateuch uses the name “Pharaoh” (Hebrew phar’oh, Egyptian per-`3) when referring to the king of Egypt. During this time, the term was a generic one referring to the king, similar to referring to the U.S. President as “the White House,” or to the British monarch as “the Crown.” Prior to this time, the name of the king was used, and afterward sources mention the monarch as “Pharaoh X” or “X, king of Egypt”—as in the case of pharaohs Shishak (1 Kings 11:40; 2 Chronicles 12:2) and Neco (2 Kings 23:29).

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.

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 second 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

By Faith

When asked how they know that the Bible is true, some Christians have answered, “We know the Bible is true by faith.” While that answer may sound pious, it is not very logical, nor is it a correct application of Scripture. Faith is the confident belief in something that you cannot perceive with your senses (Hebrews 11:1). So when I believe without observation that the earth’s core is molten, I am acting on a type of faith. Likewise, when I believe in God whom I cannot directly see, I am acting on faith. Don’t misunderstand. We should indeed have faith in God and His Word. But the “by faith” response does not actually answer the objection that has been posed—namely, how we know that the Bible is true.

Since faith is a belief in something unseen, the above response is not a good argument. “We know by faith” is the equivalent of saying, “We know by believing.” But clearly, the act of believing in something doesn’t necessarily make it true. A person doesn’t really know something just by believing it. He simply believes it. So the response is essentially, “We believe because we believe.” While it is true that we believe, this answer is totally irrelevant to the question being asked. It is a non-answer. Such a response is not acceptable for a person who is a follower of Christ. The Bible teaches that we are to be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks a reason of the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). Saying that we have faith is not the same as giving a reason for that faith.

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

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