Since the later 1800's many criticisms have been leveled against the Bible concerning its historical reliability. The critics claim that there is a lack of evidence from outside sources to confirm the Biblical
record. Many scholars take the position that the Bible is 'kerygma' (proclamation) a religious book, it is biased, and that it cannot be trusted unless we have corroborating evidence from extra-Biblical sources. In other words, the Bible is considered guilty until proven innocent. The Biblical account is doubted due to a supposed lack of outside evidence. This is a reversal of the standard applied to other ancient documents, even though many, if not most, have a religious element. The non-Biblical documents are considered to be accurate, unless sufficient evidence is brought to show that they are not. Certainly, every incident in the Bible is not possible to verify. But the discoveries of archaeology documented since the mid 1800's have demonstrated the historical honesty and integrity of the Biblical narrative to great detail. An archaeologist has demonstrated from the archaeological evidence that the Bible is reliable as a historical document. David M. Rohl, "Pharaohs and Kings" (Crown Publishers, Inc. New York, 1995 ISBN 0 609 80130 9)
Below are many examples:
The base of the Tower of Babel (Marduk Ziggurat) where language was confused (Genesis 11:1-9).
Sumerian tablets record a confusion of language not unlike the happenings at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-90).
The most documented Biblical event is the world-wide flood described in Genesis 6-9.
A number of Babylonian documents have been discovered which describe the same flood.
The Sumerian King List lists kings who
reigned for long periods of time, tells of a great flood, and following the flood their Sumerian kings ruled for much shorter
periods of time. This is consistent with the pattern found in the Bible where men had long life
spans before the flood and shorter life spans after the flood. The 11th tablet of the Gilgamesh
Epic speaks of an ark, animals taken on the ark, birds sent out during the course of the flood, the
ark landing on a mountain, and a sacrifice offered after the ark landed.
There are more than 16 fragments and one nearly complete copy of the Sumerian
King List found at different places at different times. The first fragment was discovered in the
temple library at Nippur, Iraq, at the turn of the century and was published in 1906. The most complete copy, the
Weld-Blundell prism, was purchased on the antiquities market shortly after World War I
and is now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England. For a thorough discussion of the Sumerian King List and its Biblical
implications, see "The Antediluvian Patriarchs and the Sumerian King List," by Raul Lopez, in the CEN Technical Journal 12 (3) 1998, pp. 347-57.
The Story of Adapa tells of a test for immortality involving food, similar
to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Sumerian tablets, the Weld-Blundell Prism, record the confusion of language as we have in the Biblical
account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9 ). There was an early age when all mankind spoke the same language.
Speech was then confused by the god Enki, lord of wisdom. The Babylonians had a similar account in which the
gods destroyed a temple tower and "scattered them abroad and made strange their speech."
These cities mentioned in Genesis 10:10-11 have been found:
Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed by fiery brimstone (Genesis 18:16- 19:29).
The discovery of the Clay Tablet at Ebla written around 2300B.C. and found in northern
Syria in the 1970's demonstrate that the names and places in the Patriarchal accounts are authentic. Even ancient
customs reflected in the stories of the Patriarchs have also been found in clay tablets from Nuzi and Mari.
The name "Caanan" and the word "tehom" used in Genesis 1:2 were also used in their vocabulary.
Cave of the Patriarchs burial at Machpelah (Genesis 23:9-19).
The location of Zoar mentioned by Lot (Genesis 19:19-23).
Excavations of Ur (Genesis 11: 28-31) .
The city of Dothan near where Joseph went to meet his brothers (Genesis 37:17).
The earliest known reference to Israelites says that they were "laid waste".
It appears on the Merneptah Stele dating to 1209 B.C.
The Ten Commandments in stone.
The Deir Alla text from the seer Balaam, son of Beor found at Deir Alla excavation
in 1967 and published in 1976 records a prophecy similar to that found in Scripture (Numbers 24 ch).
JoAnn Hackett, "The Balaam Text from Deir Alla" (Chico, CA: Scholars Press, 1980)
The walls of Jericho falling down when Israel captured Jericho under Joshua (Joshua 6).
http://www.wyattnewsletters.com/exodus/ex21.htm and the next page
Did Jerichos Walls Fall?
The palace at Jericho where Eglon, king of Moab, was assassinated by Ehud known as Tel-el-Hesy (Judges 3:15-30).
~ other sites mentioned here
The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records
were discovered by Dr. Hugo Winckler at Bogazkoy, Turkey. Excavation of these ruins by a German expedition began in 1906. (Genesis 15:20).
The Mari tablets from the Euphrates mentions king Arriyuk, or Arioch of Genesis 14, and
lists the towns of Nahor and Harran (from Genesis 24:10), as well as the names Benjamin and Habiru.
The Assyrian king Sargon's palace was discovered in Khorsabad, Iraq. His capture of
Ashdod was recorded on the palace walls plus fragments of a stela memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself. (Isaiah 20:1).
Until recently, many scholars doubted the existence of the Philistines. But, as with so much of the
biblical text, the more archeologists dig, the more they confirm the historical character of the biblical narratives.
http://www.my-edu2.com/EDU/arch1.htm General archaeology sites
http://home.uleth.ca/geo/philhp.htm See sub-links to Philistine cities
http://www.jewishmag.com/23mag/arch/arch.htm Historical overview
The Philistine city Ashkelon referred to in the Bible has been found. (Judges 14:19).
The location of Ekron (Joshua 13:3) is known because of an inscription there bearing the
title of "Achish... king of Ekron" as well as Ashdod (Joshua 11:1).
http://home.uleth.ca/geo/philhp.htm See sub-links to Philistine cities
http://www.jewishmag.com/23mag/arch/arch.htm Historical overview
Gibeah where Saul had a fortress has been found. (1 Sam. 10:26; 14:2).
The east gate of Shechem where Gaal and Zebul watched the forces of Abimelech approach the city
(Judges 9:34-38) and the Temple of Baal/El-Berith in Shechem, where funds were obtained to finance Abimelech's kingship and where
the citizens of Shechem took refuge when Abimelech attacked the city (Judges 9:4, 46-49).
The vast and very important city of Hazor has been found. (Josh. 11:10).
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) excavated by James Pritchard, 1956-62.
Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament” 1969.(ANET) ed. by James Pritchard.
Princeton: Princeton University Press
David became Saul's enemy and fled to Achish the king of Gath (1 Samuel 21:10) who gave David the
town of Ziklag (1 Samuel 27:6) and it remained in the hands of the kings of Judah from
then on. This town has been identified and is located north west of Beersheba.
Excavations uncovered Philistine pottery proving that it was once a Philistine town (Thompson, 1987).
Eleazar O's, "Explorations in the Negev and Sinai," Catalogue of the Bethsheba
Sinai Museum, Showcase I item 2; showcase IV, items 1 and 4.
King David, Israel's second king, ca. 1010-970 BC, appears in two ninth century BC texts, the Tel Dan Inscription [The Tel Dan Stele (900-850 BC) View:
and the Moabite stone (text) (2 Samuel 5:3) [The Meesha Stele (846 BC) View: image].
Bible and Spade (Autumn 1993, pp. 119-121, and Summer 1995, pp. 91-92);
A.Biran - J.Naveh, "An Aramaic Stele Fragment from Tel Dan", IEJ 43 (1993), pp81-98.
http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/6_06.html with pictures
The revolt of Moab against Israel (2 Kings 1:1; 3:4-27) and tribe of Gad (Joshua 13:24-28) recorded on the
Mesha or Moabite Inscription.
Many thought the Biblical references to Solomon's or other king's wealth were greatly exaggerated.
Recovered records from the past show that wealth in antiquity was concentrated with the king and Solomon's prosperity was entirely feasible.
Between the years 1925-1943 archaeologists unearthed the remains of some of Solomon's or another king’s garrisons at Megiddo, in
northern Palestine. It was here that archaeologists discovered the remains of horse stables capable of holding hundreds of horses, and
the remains of the barracks for the king's chariot riders.
"The Golden Treasures of Nimrud", Time, 30 Oct., 1989: 80-81.
An inscription discovered by archaeologists refers to "the House of Yahweh"
i.e. Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem (1Kings 6)
The reign of Jeroboam as confirmed by the Shema Seal. This seal discovered from Meggido identifies its
owner as a royal officer, "Shema the servant of Jereboam" (1Kings 12:20).
The High Place at Tell Dan in Israel was located at Dan in 1979. (1Kings 12:25-29)
The royal palace at Samaria where the kings of Israel lived (1 Kings 20:43; 21:1, 2; 22:39; 2 Kings 1:2; 15:25).
The pool of Samaria where King Ahab's chariot was washed after his death (1 Kings 22:29-38) and Ahab's House of Ivory (1 Kings 22:39).
Huse, Scott M., The Collapse of Evolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1997, p. 129
The fall of Samaria (2 Kings 17:3-6, 24; 18:9-11) to Sargon II, king of Assyria, as recorded on his palace walls.
And the defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II (Isaiah 20:1), as recorded on his palace walls.
The record of Shalmaneser who made Hoshea son of Elah a tributary king (2Kings 17:3 & 18:9) written
upon a multi-faced Black Obelisk.
King Ahaz's Clay Seal and of his servant Ushna (2 Kings 16:1-2).
Tiglath Pilesar as mentioned in 2 Kings 15:29-30; 16:7-9.
The Gihon spring (1 Chronicles 11:6-7 ) and Hezekiah's Tunnel
dug by King Hezekiah to provide water during the Assyrian siege (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:30).
The Biblical World: A Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, 1966, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, p. 373.
The Pool of Heshbon (Song of Songs 7:4).
The military campaign of the Assyrian king Sennacherib against Judah recorded on the Taylor Prism (2Kings 18:13-16).
Assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons (2 Kings 19:37) recorded in the annals of his son Esarhaddon.
Tablets were found showing that Belshazzar, king of Babylon, was Nabonidus' son
and he served as Nabonidus' coregent in Babylon [
and because of this authority Belshazzar could offer to make Daniel "third highest ruler in the kingdom" (Dan. 5:16).
(In 1854, Sir Henry Rawlinson discovered some Babylonian records which made mention of Belshazzar, the son of King Abonidas.
His relationship to Nebuchadnezzar was probably that of grandson. George Frederick Wright and Melvin Grove Kyle, "The Testimony of Archaeology
to the Scriptures" in The Fundamentals (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, reprint), p. 118.)
The royal palace in Babylon where King Belshazzar held the feast and Daniel interpreted the
handwriting on the wall (Daniel ch 5) and Belshazzar's position (5:16).
[and Babylon's Ishtar gate
The campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak (1 Kings 14:25-26) recorded on the walls of the Temple
of Amun in Thebes (Karnak), Egypt.
The siege of Lachish by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:14, 17) recorded on the Lachish reliefs.
A plaque which once marked the burial place of King Uzziah of Judah (Isaiah 6:1) was found in a
Russian museum on the Mount of Olives by E. L. Sukenik in 1931. The inscription reads, "Here were
brought the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah - do not open." (Possibly because of leprosy.)
The captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon (2 Kings 24:15-16), as recorded on the
Babylonian Ration Records.
The fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets in the book of Nahum and Zephaniah (2:13-15) recorded on the
Tablet of Nabopolasar.
The fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-14) recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles.
Archaeologists recently found a clay impression from Jeremiah's time bearing not only Baruch's name, but
apparently even his fingerprint! (Jeremiah 36:1-32; 51:59-64). These facts confirm even some of the
tiniest details of the Bible – four people mentioned in the book of Jeremiah who lived in Jerusalem.
Tsvi Schneider, who in 1991 served as assistant librarian at Hebrew University's Institute of
Archaeology, writes about a seal with Baruch's name on it: “The first and best-known biblical
name to be identified on a bulla [a lump of clay bearing a seal impression] is Baruch son of
Neriah. Baruch was the scribe, loyal friend and political ally of the prophet Jeremiah. The
inscription is in three lines and reads: ‘Belonging to Berekhyahu/son of Neriyahu/the scribe.' The
bulla refers to Baruch by his full given name . . . Baruch son of Neriah, the seal impression tells
us, was a scribe. Four episodes in the Book of Jeremiah mention Baruch, son of Neriah the scribe"
(Biblical Archaeological Review, July-August 1991, p. 27).
The librarian explains that the names of three other people from Jeremiah's day, including Baruch's
brother, appear in other clay impressions and seals. "It is interesting that chapter 36 of the Book of Jeremiah also contains the
names of two other people whose seals have been impressed in surviving bullae: 'Yerahme'el son of the king' and 'Gemariah son of Shaphan.'"
The seal of Seriah, Baruch's brother, has been found as well. Seriah's name appears several times
in Jeremiah 51 (verses 59-64). "The seal reads, in two lines, 'Belonging to Seriahu/Neriyahu' . . .
Seriah was the brother of Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe; both Seriah and Baruch were the sons of
Neriah and grandsons of Mahseiah." (Jeremiah 32:12, 51:59) (Ibid, p. 30.)
Fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:30-31) recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder.
Freeing captives in Babylon by Cyrus the Great (Ezra 1:1-4; 6:3-4) recorded on the Cyrus Cylinder.
The royal palace in Susa where Esther was queen of the Persian king Xerxes (Esther 1:2; 2:3, 5, 9, 16).
(The gate leading to the King's palace in Susa has been extensively excavated. A trilingual inscription has
been found which attributes the construction of the gate to Darius, it says, "Xerxes the King says, By the
grace of Ahuramazda, the Gate, Darius the King made it, he who was my father". The gate is 131 by 92 feet; it contains
two large central rooms leading to the palace and two side rooms. Four columns supported the central hall.)
The royal gate at Susa at the palace where Esther's cousin
Mordecai (Marduka in Persian) sat (Esther 2:19, 21; 3:2, 3; 4:2; 5:9, 13; 6:10, 12).
The method and destruction of the city of Tyre is accurate (Ezekiel 26)
Gezer was destroyed by Pharoah of Egypt in 1Kings 9:16 (mentioned 13 times in
Joshua 10:33 thru 1Chronicles 20:4)
The existence of Jesus Christ as recorded by secular and Jewish References:
Josephus, Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, the Jewish Talmud, Cornelius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Phlegon, Mara Bar-Serapion, Babylonian Talmud, Macrobius, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, Juvenal, Seneca, and Hierocles; and by Christian References: Lucian and Julius Africanus, Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Quadratus, The Epistle of Barnabas, Aristides, Justin Martyr, and Hegesippus.
Herod, John the Baptist, Jesus, James, the brother of Jesus,
Ananias-the High Priest, and King Festus are mentioned by the historian Josephus.
The Palace of Herod at Caesarea (when Jesus was an infant) and where Paul was kept under guard (Acts 23:33-35).
A Hebrew plaque in the ruins of Caesarea Maritima dating from the third century before Christ which
made reference to the town of Nazareth (John 1:46) confirmed by family lists and tombs in vicinity 1962.
John (2:1) distinguishes between the two cities named Cana -
Cana of Galilee - http://www.cana-of-galilee.com/ &
and Cana (Aenon) on the border of Phoenicia http://www.ourfatherlutheran.net/biblehomelands/galilee/kefarkana/kafarcana.htm &
Capernaum was found where Jesus cured a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28)
and delivered the sermon on the bread of life (John 6:25-59) with its synagogue and the house of Simon Peter where Jesus
healed Peter's mother-in-law & others (Matthew 8:14-16).
The foundation of the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus cured a man with an unclean spirit and
delivered the sermon on the bread of life (Mark 1:21-28).
Bethsaida where the disciples went by boat (Mark 6:45).
Jacob's well at Sychar of Samaria 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).
The "Pool with five porticoes" was discovered in Jerusalem.
The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:1-4).
John distinguishes between the two cities named Bethany (1:28; 11:18)
Prefectus Pontius Pilate who condemned Jesus to torture and crucifixion was verified in 1961.
[View: tablet that reads "Tiberieum, (Pon)tius Pilatus, (Praef)ectus Iuda(eae)."]
The "lithostroton", or "Gabbatha", the paved area of the praetorium
[View: stone pavement]
where Jesus was held and tried during his appearance before Pilate was found in 1925. (John 19:13).
Method of Roman crucifixion detailed in John's Gospel confirmed in 1968 -
All regions, cities, and places named in the Gospel of John.
Grave sites are known for Caiaphas the High Priest (John 18:13).
http://www.msn.fullfeed.com/~scribe/digest19993.htm; Caesar Augustus (Luke 2:1-7)
Fitzgerald, Ian; "Cyrus the Great in Parsargadae, Iran" (Isaiah 45); History Today 5/01/1998
The tribunal area at Corinth where Paul was tried (Acts 18:12-17).
The theater at Ephesus where the riot of silversmiths occurred (Acts 19:29).
(The Golden house of Nero Acts 25:10; 1 Peter 2:13)
A marble inscription found August 6th, 2000 on the island of Cyprus that supports the Biblical assertion
that Apostle Paul preached there.
We find evidence that Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-3) around 7 B.C. confirmed by coin
and based on an inscription found in Antioch ascribing to Quirinius this post. As a result of this finding, it
is now supposed that he was governor twice - once in 7 B.C. and the other time in 6 A.D. Elder, John.
Prophets, Idols and Diggers. Indianapolis, New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1960. p159,160
The forcing of Jews to leave Rome during the reign of Claudius about A.D. 41-54 (Acts 18:2), as recorded by Suetonius.
The cities of Lycaonia included Iconium (Acts 14:6) confirmed as correct.
Sergus Paulus as proconsul of Cyprus.
Artemis temple, statues, and altar (Acts 19:27-28, 35).
1. The archaeological discoveries have validated other numerous biblical
references to people, places and events from the Old Testament showing its historical integrity.
2. The New Testament's historical account about places, people and events concerning both the Jews
and the Romans who lived in the first century have been verified by archaeology. These facts provide
strong evidence that the other Biblical accounts are also historically true.
3. Plinius Secundus was governor of the Roman province of Bithynia (Turkey) in A.D. 112. In his Epistles X96
he states that these believers would not worship Emperor Trajan and would not curse their leader, Jesus Christ,
even under extreme torture. Plinius described the Christians as: "people who loved the truth at any cost.
It is impossible to believe that these people would willingly die for something they knew was a lie" or report anything but the truth about a matter.
4. Modern scholars now possess more than 5,000 manuscript copies of portions of the New Testament in the Greek language. In addition, there are an additional 15,000 manuscripts in other languages from the first few centuries of this era. No other important text, whether historical or religious, has more than a few dozen copies that have survived until our generation.
5. Archaeological discoveries show that the Romans had a regular enrollment of taxpayers and also held a census every 14 years. This procedure was indeed begun under Augustus and the first took place in either 23-22B.C. or in 9-8 B.C. The latter would be the one to which Luke refers.
6. Among other historical references of Luke is that of Lysanias the Tetrarch of Abilene (Luke 3:1) at the
beginning of John the Baptist's ministry in 27 A.D. The only Lysanias known to ancient historians was
one who was killed in 36 B.C. However, an inscription found near Damascus speaks of "Freedman of
Lysanias the Tetrarch" and is dated between 14 and 29 A.D.
Bruce, F.F. "Archaeological Confirmation of the New Testament." Revelation and the Bible. Edited by
Carl Henry. Grand Rapids:Baker Book House 1969 p.321
7. When Paul wrote the book of Romans in Corinth, he mentioned the city treasurer, Erastus (Roman 16:23). During the excavations of Corinth in 1929,
a pavement was found inscribed: ERASTVS PRO:AED:S:P:STRAVIT ("Erastus, curator of public buildings, laid this pavement at his own expense"). According to Bruce,
the pavement quite likely existed in the first century A.D. and the donor and the man Paul mentions are probably one and the same.
Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Downers Gove; Intervarsity Press, 1964 p.95
8. Most of the ancient cities mentioned in the Book of Acts have been identified due to the many archaeological finds.
The journeys of Paul can now be accurately traced as a result of these digs.
Albert, William F. Recent Discoveries in Bible Lands. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1955.
9. Josephus complete works in English
10. Magdalen Papyri
11. The location of Paul's shipwreck site from Acts 27:40
12. Sixty-two Old Testament names confirmed -
13. Grave of David http://www.unlimitedglory.org/israeltrip7.html &
and grave of Solomon http://www.christiananswers.net/q-abr/abr-a026.html
14. In 1977 an inscription mentioning Dan was found near the high place (1 Kings 12:28-29)
15. John (3:23) correctly identifies John the Baptist as being in Aeno.
16. A first century Galilean boat holding a crew of 13 was found in 1986.
17. The house of Peter where Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law and others
18. Millstones (Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2) unearthed in Capernaum
19. A stone tablet speaking of the repair of Solomon's temple has been found
A. A Large-Stone Structure has been found north of the City of David in 2005 by Dr. Eilat Mazar with the 5-foot-long proto-Aeolic capital that
must have once been part of the building and a bulla by Yair Shoham that reads "Belonging to Yehuchal ben (the son of) Shelemiyahu ben Shovi"
who was sent by the king to the prophet Jeremiah to pray for the people (Jeremiah 37:3)
B. A city with two gates is under excavation called Ha'arayim (Sha'arayim) [aka Khirbet Qeiyafa] in the valley of Elah located
near the battle between David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:52)
C. The House of Shunamite Woman who assisted Elisha with lodging (2 Kings 4:8-36) and Nimshi, grandfather of King Jehu (1 Kings 19:16; 2 Kings 9:13).
D. The city of Megiddo where king Josiah died in battle against Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt (Joshua 12:21; 1 Kings 9:15; 2 Kings 23:28-30; 1 Chronicles 7:29).
Additional research sites:
Note these special sites: Old & New Testament prophecy
Understanding old texts (Septuagint) quoted in the New Testament