Can We Believe the Bible?

You are here

Can We Believe the Bible?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×
Downloads
MP3 Audio (41.53 MB)

Downloads

Can We Believe the Bible?

MP3 Audio (41.53 MB)
×

The Bible was written over a span of many centuries by several dozen authors living on three continents. Its pages record thousands of details, including people, places, events, customs, dates and geographical features.

While archaeology—the study of the material remains of ancient peoples and cultures—can reveal a great deal, it has its limits. In the lands of the Bible, for example, literally thousands of ancient sites are known that have never been excavated. And of those that have been excavated, it’s typical that only one to five percent of a site has been excavated, even after sometimes decades of study and digging. Thus, much remains buried and undiscovered.

Ancient artifacts such as statues, inscriptions, seals, coins and clay tablets clearly verify the existence of dozens of individuals mentioned in the Bible!

Furthermore, as we might expect, many remains of the ancient world simply haven’t survived. Any material that can decay has decayed (with rare exceptions, such as some remains found in extremely dry desert climates). Because of this, artifacts of fabric, wood, leather, bone, parchment and papyrus are rare. 

Typically, whatever could be reused was reused. And valuables were not left around to be buried under accumulating dust and debris but were kept more safely and passed on to others. Palaces, temples and wealthy homes, where the most significant articles would have been, were kept clean, leaving less to later find. New building in ancient cities was often done on top of previous razed construction, and sometimes this razing removed remains from prior occupation.

It’s also known that many if not most ancient cities and towns of the Middle East were destroyed by fire during earthquakes or warfare. Often invaders looted or deliberately destroyed objects of significance in the areas they conquered.

So the bottom line is that the physical remains we have from biblical times that might testify to the truthfulness of the Bible are relatively rare. Only a fraction of a fraction of ancient remains have been recovered, much less studied and analyzed.

Critics’ distorted views of the Bible

Faced with such scarcity, critics of the Bible jump on absence of evidence to argue that this is evidence of absence—i.e., that because evidence has not yet been found to support parts of the Bible, this is evidence that the events never happened.

Such reasoning, of course, is inherently flawed. Just because evidence hasn’t been found doesn’t mean that evidence doesn’t or never existed. But this doesn’t stop critics such as author and “evangelical atheist” Richard Dawkins from making such comments about the Bible, in this case the Gospels:

“The gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world. All were written long after the death of Jesus … Nobody knows who the four evangelists were, but they almost certainly never met Jesus personally. Much of what they wrote was in no sense an honest attempt at history” ( The God Delusion, 2006, p. 96).

Similarly, the late atheist Christopher Hitchens wrote regarding the earliest books of the Bible: “Long before modern inquiry and painstaking translation and excavation had helped enlighten us, it was well within the compass of a thinking person to see that the ‘revelation’ at Sinai and the rest of the Pentateuch was an ill-carpentered fiction, bolted into place well after the nonevents that it fails to describe convincingly or even plausibly” ( God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, 2007,p. 104).

It’s especially interesting that Hitchens states that “excavation” (presumably referring to archaeological digs) has “helped enlighten us”—as though he believes archaeological findings actually support his argument that the Bible is a record of “nonevents,” or things that never happened. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth!

Few are aware that writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and several Roman historians and government officials from the first and second centuries specifically discuss Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, Jesus’ half-brother James, various Jewish and Roman leaders, and the basic beliefs of the early Church of God.

This is quite remarkable if, as Dawkins proposes, “the gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened” and are “in no sense an honest attempt at history.” Does Dawkins propose that these well-attested early historians were also fabricating their accounts?

What does the evidence really say?

Unlike the supposedly “holy” writings of other religions, the Bible is rooted in real history. It discusses real people, real places and real events. And that history can be verified through archaeology as well as independent historical records.

Artifacts such as statues, inscriptions, seals, coins and clay tablets from archives verify the existence of dozens of individuals mentioned in the Bible.

As one who has studied archaeology for many years (and participated in my first archaeological excavation at age 13), I know what archaeology reveals about God’s Word. I’ve also spent days in museums housing the best collections of Bible-related artifacts in the world, traveled repeatedly to the lands of the Bible, visited the excavations of most of the major sites mentioned in Scripture, and met a number of the most notable archaeologists working today.

Again and again I’ve seen evidence that confirms what prolific author Erwin Lutzer states in his work Seven Reasons Why You Can Trust the Bible: “Every month new archaeological discoveries are made … Our understanding of biblical life and times increases year by year. And so does our confidence that the Bible is a book rooted in the soil of Middle East history, and its accounts have the marks of credibility. The Bible’s geography, chronology, and its description of the rise and fall of empires all conform to the data of secular history” (1998, p. 74).

Eye-opening trip to Greece

Typical of such evidence is what I was privileged to see on a recent trip to Greece. It’s not every day that you come face to face with hard evidence of the authenticity of specific individuals and events mentioned in the pages of the Bible, but I was able to do so a number of times on this trip. 

Evidence of major world figures mentioned in the Bible is to be expected, as in the case of the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus (27 B.C.-A.D. 14), who was emperor when Jesus Christ was born (Luke 2:1-6 Luke 2:1-6 1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
American King James Version×
). I saw beautifully preserved busts of him in several museums, which is no surprise since Greece, like the Holy Land, was part of the Roman Empire during his reign.

Another major figure I saw several busts of is Alexander the Great. While not directly named in the Bible, he was explicitly foretold in Bible prophecy. He was the “notable horn” and “first king” in a vision recorded in Daniel 8 of a goat symbolizing the Greco-Macedonian Empire that, under his leadership, vanquished the Persian Empire and ruled most of the known world of its day (verses 5-7, 21). Alexander is one of several notable figures whose coming and historical role was foretold in the Bible well in advance.

While Bible critics argue that it’s easy to insert such notable figures into a false narrative, as these critics claim biblical writers have done, it’s much harder to argue that a relatively minor government official mentioned in passing in the Bible is part of a fabricated story when an inscription bearing the person’s name is found in the exact right place at the exact right time in history!

One such individual is “Erastus … the city’s director of public works” in Corinth, mentioned in passing in Romans 16:23 Romans 16:23Gaius my host, and of the whole church, salutes you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city salutes you, and Quartus a brother.
American King James Version×
(New International Version), where the apostle Paul sends the greetings of various Church members in Corinth to fellow Christians in Rome.

In 1929, archaeologists excavating a paved area close to the theater of Corinth discovered a large inscription that reads, “Erastus in return for his aedileship laid [the pavement] at his own expense.” An aedile was one responsible for public buildings, streets, markets and activities—i.e., a “director of public works,” just as described in the biblical reference to him.

The inscription dates to the middle of the first century A.D.—right in the time frame in which Paul wrote his letter to the Romans in which Erastus is mentioned (A.D. 57-58). It appears that the Erastus of the inscription and the Erastus of the letter are one and the same—showing Paul was writing about real people at a real place in real time!

“The judgment seat” of Gallio

But that’s not the only archaeological evidence from Corinth that strongly supports the authenticity of the biblical record. Not far away amid the city’s ancient ruins is the remains of another large public gathering place, an open plaza in front of a large raised stone platform. Most archaeologists identify this platform as a bema, a place where government officials spoke and local magistrates issued their rulings before the public.

Let’s notice what happened to Paul when he was in Corinth, as recorded by Luke in Acts 18:12-18 Acts 18:12-18 12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 Saying, This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law. 14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O you Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: 15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look you to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things. 18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brothers, and sailed there into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.
American King James Version×
: “When Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews with one accord rose up against Paul and brought him to the judgment seat, saying, ‘This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.’

“And when Paul was about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, ‘If it were a matter of wrongdoing or wicked crimes, O Jews, there would be reason why I should bear with you. But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.’

“And he drove them from the judgment seat. Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. But Gallio took no notice of these things. So Paul still remained a good while” (emphasis added throughout).

The strategy of Paul’s opponents backfired. Rather than shutting down his teaching and preaching, the ruling proconsul Gallio dismissed their accusations and allowed Paul to continue. Having legal protection, Paul then stayed in Corinth for some time, continuing his teaching and serving the Church members there.

What is interesting about this account is the mention three times of the “judgment seat,” or bema in Greek, meaning a raised platform on which someone stands to make a public speech. Anyone who visits Corinth today can see, in a prominent part of the city ruins, the very structure mentioned here to which Paul was brought!

So the existence of such a structure, one mentioned only in passing, has been verified as being in the very time and place the Bible locates it!

And of course that’s not all. I saw much more physical evidence of the accuracy of the biblical record on this trip—including the Areopagus or Mars Hill in Athens (still identifiable today almost 2,000 years after Paul’s visit there as recorded in Acts 17), the Athenian forum (or “marketplace”) where he taught, and the statues of multitudes of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Athenians and their neighbors to the west, the Corinthians.

It’s both sobering and satisfying to see such incontrovertible evidence of the Bible’s authenticity. It is indeed a genuine account of real persons, real places and real events recorded centuries ago and preserved for us today.

Much, much more evidence supporting the Bible

As enlightening as this trip to Greece was, it was merely scratching the surface of the vast amount of physical evidence supporting the Bible. Considering the limitations of the archaeological record discussed earlier, it’s astounding how much evidence has been found that does support the accuracy of the Bible.

On similar trips to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey (the “Asia” of the Bible) and Italy, as well as in museums around the world, I’ve been privileged to see scores of biblical sites, proof of the existence of dozens of biblical figures, and a number of specific structures, customs and practices mentioned in the Bible. Some of the more compelling finds include:

• A stone slab inscribed with “Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea” and mentioning the Roman Emperor Tiberias dating to the first half of the first century, found in 1961 at Caesarea Maritima on the coast of Israel (where the ruling Roman procurators lived at the time of the Gospels). Of course, this is the same Pontius Pilate who, as recorded in the Gospels, condemned Jesus Christ to be crucified.

• An ornate stone box dating to the first century and bearing the name “Joseph, son of Caiaphas,” discovered in a priestly tomb near Jerusalem in 1990. This same individual, a high priest, played a major role in the conspiracy of the Jerusalem religious leadership to have Jesus executed by crucifixion.

• The skeleton of a man crucified in the first century found in a Jerusalem tomb in 1968. Still piercing the man’s heel bone was a large iron nail that had bent and couldn’t be removed after death. The remains were proof that crucifixion was practiced as described in the Gospels almost 2,000 years earlier.

Interested readers can search for “Bible and Archaeology ” on our website at ucg.org and find a great deal more, including a biblical book-by-book description of significant archaeological finds relating to the Bible. Another good source is the recently published Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology: A Book by Book Guide to Archaeological Discoveries Related to the Bible (November 2017), which details a great many Scripture-related artifacts.

God’s Word stands sure

In light of so much clear evidence, it’s unfathomable that so many continue to deny the clear evidence—yet they do. This is partly explained by Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×
: “The mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit to God’s law. Indeed, it is unable to do so” (Christian Standard Bible). People don’t want to acknowledge the truthfulness of the Bible because to do so carries with it an obligation to live by what it says!

In spite of the fallible opinions, excuses and rationalizations of men, God’s Word stands sure. As Isaiah 40:8 Isaiah 40:8The grass wither, the flower fades: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
American King James Version×
tells us, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”

Today’s cultural battle over the Bible was well summed up decades ago by noted author and professor Bernard Ramm: “A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and the committal read. But somehow the corpse never stays put.

“No other book has been so chopped, sliced, sifted, scrutinized and vilified. What book on philosophy or religion or psychology … of classical or modern times has been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? With such venom and skepticism? With such thoroughness and erudition? Upon every chapter, line and tenet? The Bible is still loved by millions and studied by millions” ( Protestant Christian Evidences, 1957, pp. 232-33).

We at Beyond Today encourage you to continue loving and studying the priceless Word of God. We’re glad to be with you on this journey, and glad to help guide you along the way!

 


 

Biblical Buildings and Structures Discovered by Archaeologists

Archaeologist Bryant Wood, research director of Associates for Biblical Research and editor of the archaeology magazine Bible and Spade, lists a number of manmade structures mentioned in the Bible that have been identified and excavated. Following are some of the most interesting:

• The pool of Gibeon where the forces of David and Ishbosheth fought during the struggle for the kingship of Israel (2 Samuel 2:12-32 2 Samuel 2:12-32 12 And Abner the son of Ner, and the servants of Ishbosheth the son of Saul, went out from Mahanaim to Gibeon. 13 And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool. 14 And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise. 15 Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. 16 And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow’s side; so they fell down together: why that place was called Helkathhazzurim, which is in Gibeon. 17 And there was a very sore battle that day; and Abner was beaten, and the men of Israel, before the servants of David. 18 And there were three sons of Zeruiah there, Joab, and Abishai, and Asahel: and Asahel was as light of foot as a wild roe. 19 And Asahel pursued after Abner; and in going he turned not to the right hand nor to the left from following Abner. 20 Then Abner looked behind him, and said, Are you Asahel? And he answered, I am. 21 And Abner said to him, Turn you aside to your right hand or to your left, and lay you hold on one of the young men, and take you his armor. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him. 22 And Abner said again to Asahel, Turn you aside from following me: why should I smite you to the ground? how then should I hold up my face to Joab your brother? 23 However, he refused to turn aside: why Abner with the hinder end of the spear smote him under the fifth rib, that the spear came out behind him; and he fell down there, and died in the same place: and it came to pass, that as many as came to the place where Asahel fell down and died stood still. 24 Joab also and Abishai pursued after Abner: and the sun went down when they were come to the hill of Ammah, that lies before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon. 25 And the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together after Abner, and became one troop, and stood on the top of an hill. 26 Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? know you not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere you bid the people return from following their brothers? 27 And Joab said, As God lives, unless you had spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother. 28 So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more. 29 And Abner and his men walked all that night through the plain, and passed over Jordan, and went through all Bithron, and they came to Mahanaim. 30 And Joab returned from following Abner: and when he had gathered all the people together, there lacked of David’s servants nineteen men and Asahel. 31 But the servants of David had smitten of Benjamin, and of Abner’s men, so that three hundred and three score men died. 32 And they took up Asahel, and buried him in the sepulcher of his father, which was in Bethlehem. And Joab and his men went all night, and they came to Hebron at break of day.
American King James Version×
).

• The royal palace at Samaria where the kings of Israel lived (1 Kings 20:43 1 Kings 20:43And the king of Israel went to his house heavy and displeased, and came to Samaria.
American King James Version×
; 1 Kings 21:1-2 1 Kings 21:1-2 1 And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 And Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near to my house: and I will give you for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to you, I will give you the worth of it in money.
American King James Version×
; 1 Kings 22:39 1 Kings 22:39Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
American King James Version×
; 2 Kings 1:2 2 Kings 1:2And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said to them, Go, inquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.
American King James Version×
; 2 Kings 15:25 2 Kings 15:25But Pekah the son of Remaliah, a captain of his, conspired against him, and smote him in Samaria, in the palace of the king’s house, with Argob and Arieh, and with him fifty men of the Gileadites: and he killed him, and reigned in his room.
American King James Version×
).

• The water tunnel beneath Jerusalem dug by King Hezekiah to provide water during the Assyrian siege (2 Kings 20:20 2 Kings 20:20And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
American King James Version×
; 2 Chronicles 32:30 2 Chronicles 32:30This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
American King James Version×
).

• The royal palace in Babylon where King Belshazzar held the feast and Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5).

• The royal palace in Susa where Esther was queen of the Persian king Xerxes (Esther 1:2 Esther 1:2That in those days, when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom, which was in Shushan the palace,
American King James Version×
; Esther 2:3 Esther 2:3And let the king appoint officers in all the provinces of his kingdom, that they may gather together all the fair young virgins to Shushan the palace, to the house of the women, to the custody of Hege the king’s chamberlain, keeper of the women; and let their things for purification be given them:
American King James Version×
; Esther 2:5 Esther 2:5Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite;
American King James Version×
; Esther 2:9 Esther 2:9And the maiden pleased him, and she obtained kindness of him; and he speedily gave her her things for purification, with such things as belonged to her, and seven maidens, which were meet to be given her, out of the king’s house: and he preferred her and her maids to the best place of the house of the women.
American King James Version×
; Esther 2:16 Esther 2:16So Esther was taken to king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
American King James Version×
).

• The royal gate at Susa where Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, sat (Esther 2:19 Esther 2:19And when the virgins were gathered together the second time, then Mordecai sat in the king’s gate.
American King James Version×
; Esther 2:21 Esther 2:21In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains, Bigthan and Teresh, of those which kept the door, were wroth, and sought to lay hands on the king Ahasuerus.
American King James Version×
; Esther 3:2-3 Esther 3:2-3 2 And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. 3 Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said to Mordecai, Why transgress you the king’s commandment?
American King James Version×
; Esther 4:2 Esther 4:2And came even before the king’s gate: for none might enter into the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.
American King James Version×
; Esther 5:9 Esther 5:9Then went Haman forth that day joyful and with a glad heart: but when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, that he stood not up, nor moved for him, he was full of indignation against Mordecai.
American King James Version×
; Esther 5:13 Esther 5:13Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.
American King James Version×
; Esther 6:10-12 Esther 6:10-12 10 Then the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as you have said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, that sits at the king’s gate: let nothing fail of all that you have spoken. 11 Then took Haman the apparel and the horse, and arrayed Mordecai, and brought him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaimed before him, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor. 12 And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hurried to his house mourning, and having his head covered.
American King James Version×
).

• The foundation of the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus performed miracles and taught (Mark 1:21-28 Mark 1:21-28 21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. 22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? are you come to destroy us? I know you who you are, the Holy One of God. 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold your peace, and come out of him. 26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commands he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. 28 And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.
American King James Version×
; John 6:25-59 John 6:25-59 25 And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, Rabbi, when came you here? 26 Jesus answered them and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, You seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for him has God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they to him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on him whom he has sent. 30 They said therefore to him, What sign show you then, that we may see, and believe you? what do you work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world. 34 Then said they to him, Lord, ever more give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you, That you also have seen me, and believe not. 37 All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he said, I came down from heaven? 43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to me. 46 Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, He that believes on me has everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. 52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eats me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread shall live for ever. 59 These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
American King James Version×
).

• The house of Peter at Capernaum where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law and others (Matthew 8:14-16 Matthew 8:14-16 14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered to them. 16 When the even was come, they brought to him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
American King James Version×
).

• Jacob’s well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman (John 4).

• The Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a crippled man (John 5:1-14 John 5:1-14 1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of weak folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he said to him, Will you be made whole? 7 The weak man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steps down before me. 8 Jesus said to him, Rise, take up your bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for you to carry your bed. 11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said to me, Take up your bed, and walk. 12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said to you, Take up your bed, and walk? 13 And he that was healed knew not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus finds him in the temple, and said to him, Behold, you are made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come to you.
American King James Version×
).

• The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:1-4 John 9:1-4 1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3 Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.
American King James Version×
).

• The tribunal at Corinth where the apostle Paul was tried (Acts 18:12-17 Acts 18:12-17 12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, 13 Saying, This fellow persuades men to worship God contrary to the law. 14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said to the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O you Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: 15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look you to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. 16 And he drove them from the judgment seat. 17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.
American King James Version×
).

• The theater at Ephesus where the riot of silversmiths occurred (Acts 19:29 Acts 19:29And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
American King James Version×
).

• Herod’s palace at Caesarea where Paul was kept under guard (Acts 23:33-35 Acts 23:33-35 33 Who, when they came to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, presented Paul also before him. 34 And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia; 35 I will hear you, said he, when your accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall.
American King James Version×
).

(“Have Any Man-Made Structures Mentioned in the Bible Been Unearthed by Archaeologists?” ChristianAnswer.net, 1996).

In addition to these, recent excavations in Jerusalem have tentatively identified parts of the following structures:

• David’s palace, which he had built in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:11 2 Samuel 5:11And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.
American King James Version×
).

• Solomon’s fortifications for the city of Jerusalem (1 Kings 11:27 1 Kings 11:27And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father.
American King James Version×
).

• The defensive wall constructed under Nehemiah after the Jewish exiles’ return from Babylon (Nehemiah 3:1-32 Nehemiah 3:1-32 1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even to the tower of Meah they sanctified it, to the tower of Hananeel. 2 And next to him built the men of Jericho. And next to them built Zaccur the son of Imri. 3 But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 4 And next to them repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah, the son of Koz. And next to them repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah, the son of Meshezabeel. And next to them repaired Zadok the son of Baana. 5 And next to them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their LORD. 6 Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 7 And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, to the throne of the governor on this side the river. 8 Next to him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next to him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem to the broad wall. 9 And next to them repaired Rephaiah the son of Hur, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem. 10 And next to them repaired Jedaiah the son of Harumaph, even over against his house. And next to him repaired Hattush the son of Hashabniah. 11 Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces. 12 And next to him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters. 13 The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall to the dung gate. 14 But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. 15 But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king’s garden, and to the stairs that go down from the city of David. 16 After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, to the place over against the sepulchers of David, and to the pool that was made, and to the house of the mighty. 17 After him repaired the Levites, Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him repaired Hashabiah, the ruler of the half part of Keilah, in his part. 18 After him repaired their brothers, Bavai the son of Henadad, the ruler of the half part of Keilah. 19 And next to him repaired Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, another piece over against the going up to the armory at the turning of the wall. 20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning of the wall to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. 21 After him repaired Meremoth the son of Urijah the son of Koz another piece, from the door of the house of Eliashib even to the end of the house of Eliashib. 22 And after him repaired the priests, the men of the plain. 23 After him repaired Benjamin and Hashub over against their house. After him repaired Azariah the son of Maaseiah the son of Ananiah by his house. 24 After him repaired Binnui the son of Henadad another piece, from the house of Azariah to the turning of the wall, even to the corner. 25 Palal the son of Uzai, over against the turning of the wall, and the tower which lies out from the king’s high house, that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh. 26 Moreover the Nethinims dwelled in Ophel, to the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lies out. 27 After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lies out, even to the wall of Ophel. 28 From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house. 29 After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. After him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate. 30 After him repaired Hananiah the son of Shelemiah, and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph, another piece. After him repaired Meshullam the son of Berechiah over against his chamber. 31 After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith’s son to the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner. 32 And between the going up of the corner to the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants.
American King James Version×
; Nehemiah 4:1-6 Nehemiah 4:1-6 1 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we built the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. 2 And he spoke before his brothers and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned? 3 Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall. 4 Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach on their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: 5 And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before you: for they have provoked you to anger before the builders. 6 So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together to the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work.
American King James Version×
).

 


 

Does Archaeology Confirm the Existence of Specific People Mentioned in the Bible?

On virtually every page of the Bible you will find the name of a person or place. Since the Bible claims to be real history, its credibility rests on its historical accuracy. If the people, places and events mentioned in the Bible are part of factual accounts, we should expect to find evidence to support those accounts. So what does the evidence show? Do archaeology and history confirm the Bible?

As archaeologists have excavated the ancient lands of the Bible, they have uncovered inscriptions and other evidence that prove the existence of dozens of persons mentioned in the Bible. Historians poring over ancient records have found still more.

Among biblical figures whose existence has been attested by archaeology or other preserved ancient records are the following:

Old Testament

Adramelech, prince of Assyria
Ahab, king of Israel  
Ahaz (Jehoahaz), king of Judah
Ahaziah, king of Israel
Apries, pharaoh of Egypt
Artaxerxes I, king of Persia
Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria   
Azaliah, scribe
Azariah, grandfather of Ezra
Baruch, scribe of the prophet Jeremiah
Balaam, Moabite prophet
Belshazzar, coregent of Babylon
Benhadad, king of Aram
Cyrus II, king of Persia
Darius I, king of Persia
David, king of Israel
Esarhaddon, king of Assyria
Evil-merodach, king of Babylon
Gedaliah, governor of Judah
Gemariah, scribe
Geshem, Nabatean dignitary
Hazael, king of Aram
Hezekiah, king of Judah
Hilkiah, high priest
Hophra (Apries), pharaoh of Egypt
Hoshea, king of Israel
Jehoash, king of Israel
Jehoiachin, king of Judah
Jehoram, king of Israel
Jehu, king of Israel
Jehucal (Jucal), court official
Jerahmeel, prince of Judah
Jezebel, wife of Ahab, king of Israel
Johanan, grandson of the high priest Eliashib
Josiah, king of Judah
Jotham, king of Judah
Manasseh, king of Judah
Menahem, king of Israel
Merodach-baladan, king of Babylon
Mesha, king of Moab
Meshullam, father of Azaliah the scribe
Nebo-Sarsekim, Babylonian official
Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon
Nebuzaradan, Babylonian official
Necho II, pharaoh of Egypt
Nergal-sharezer, king of Babylon
Neriah, father of Baruch the scribe
Omri, king of Israel
Pekah, king of Israel
Rezin, king of Aram
Sanballat, governor of Samaria
Sargon II, king of Assyria
Sennacherib, king of Assyria
Seraiah, court official of Zedekiah
Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria
Shalmaneser V, king of Assyria
Shaphan, father of Gemariah the scribe
Sharezer, son of Sennacherib
Shebna, royal steward of Hezekiah
Shelemiah, father of Jehucal (Jucal)
Shishak, pharaoh of Egypt
Taharqa, pharaoh of Egypt
Tiglath-Pileser III, king of Assyria
Uzziah, king of Judah
Taharqa (Tirhakah), pharaoh of Egypt
Xerxes I, king of Persia
Zedekiah, king of Judah

New Testament

Annas, high priest
Antonius Felix, procurator of Judea
Aretas IV, king of the Nabateans
Augustus Caesar, emperor of Rome
Caiaphas, high priest
Claudius Caesar, emperor of Rome
Erastus, public official in Corinth
Gallio, proconsul of Achaia
Herod the Great, king of Judea
Herod Antipas, tetrach of Galilee and Perea
Herod Agrippa I, king of Judea
Herod Agrippa II, king of Judea
Herod Archelaus, tetrarch of Judea
James, half-brother of Jesus
Jesus Christ
John the Baptist
Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea
Porcius Festus, procurator of Judea
Quirinius, governor of Syria
Sergius Paulus, proconsul of Cyprus
Tiberius Caesar, emperor of Rome

Some critics have argued that the biblical books were written much later and that such names were added to make the accounts merely appear authentic. Others have suggested that people important to stories of later times were surreptitiously inserted into earlier accounts. How, then, can they explain biblical figures whose existence has been proven by archaeological finds placing them in the exact times and locations in which they are described in the Bible? And, as seen from this list, this has happened dozens of times with persons ranging from kings to court officials to commoners!

Again and again as archaeologists have excavated the lands of the Bible, the evidence they’ve uncovered has verified that the Bible is a truly authentic and accurate ancient record.

(Adapted from our free study guide Is the Bible True? )