Archaeology Testifies to the Hezekiah of the Bible

Below are a video (2:58) and an audio (3:55), produced by different sources, which report yet another occasion where modern archaeology confirms the claims of the ancient Bible.

People interested in history and truth turn to the Bible.

Video (2:58) from CBN

Audio (3:55) from the Colson Center for Worldview  [Editorial note as of March 3, 2017: Sorry, but it appears that the Colson Center (Breakpoint) is no longer maintaining this page.]  

A Brief Sample of Old Testament Archaeological Corroboration

From J. Warner Wallace.

I’ve learned to test witnesses in my criminal investigations before trusting their testimony, and I evaluate them with the template we typically use in jury trials. One dimension of this template is corroboration: Is there any verifying evidence supporting the claims of the eyewitness? Corroborative evidence is what I refer to as “touch point” evidence. I don’t expect a surveillance video confirming every statement made by a witness, but I do expect small “touch point” corroborations. The authors of the Bible make a variety of historical claims, and many of these claims are corroborated by archaeological evidence. Archaeology is notoriously partial and incomplete, but it does offer us “touch point” verification of many Biblical claims.

A Brief Sample of Old Testament Archaeological Corroboration by way of The Poached Egg (Ratio Christi).

A Brief Sample of Archaeology Corroborating the Claims of the New Testament | Cold Case Christianity

Opening excerpt:

Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, a 19th Century English historian and prolific writer, held a pervasive anti-Biblical bias. He believed the historical accounts in the Book of Acts were written in the mid-2nd Century. Ramsay was skeptical of Luke’s authorship and the historicity of the Book of Acts, and he set out to prove his suspicions. He began a detailed study of the archaeological evidence, and eventually came to an illuminating conclusion: the historical and archaeological evidence supported Luke’s 1st Century authorship and historical reliability:

“(There are) reasons for placing the author of Acts among the historians of the first rank” (Sir William Ramsay, St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen, p. 4).

via A Brief Sample of Archaeology Corroborating the Claims of the New Testament | Cold Case Christianity.

HT: Apologetics 315

Craig Evans and Bart Ehrman Debate the Historical Reliability of the New Testament Regarding Jesus of Nazareth

The title of this debate between Craig Evans and Bart Ehrman is “Does the New Testament Present a Reliable Portrait of the Historical Jesus?”  (recorded January 19, 2012 at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)

Craig Evans on the textual integrity of the New Testament documents (12:37-14:02):

“The Greek text of the four Gospels – indeed the text of all 27 writings that make up the New Testament – is stable, and in all probability is quite close to the original text.  No one claims that we have recovered the autographic texts – the originals – but most New Testament scholars and textual critics, think that through comparison and careful study we have reconstructed the text within – pick any percentage you want – 98, 99, more, less, percent of its original form.”

“We have the complete text of the four New Testament Gospels preserved in documents about 270 to 280 years removed from the autographs.  We have substantial portions of the texts removed by about 130 to 200 years.  We have tiny portions of the texts, perhaps as many as one dozen documents, about 70 to 120 years removed from the autographs.  All in all, not a bad record compared to the many classical writings and histories where in most cases there are gaps of 800 to 1,000 years or more between the time of the author of the original and our oldest surviving copy of his manuscript.  It is an excellent record indeed.”

I became aware of this video clip from a post on James McGrath’s blog Exploring Our Matrix.

Here is a rough outline of the debate with approximate reference points on the video:

00:14 to 01:54  Moderator Greg Monette (of the SMU chapter of Navigators) introduces the debate.

01:55 to  4:39  Moderator introduces Craig A. Evans

4:46 to 35:10  Evans’ opening statement

35:17 to 38:49  Moderator introduces Bart D. Ehrman

38:56 to 1:06:44 Ehrman’s opening statement

1:06:55 to 1:12:16  Evans rebuts Ehrman

1:12:24 to 1:18:16  Ehrman rebuts Evans

1:18:25 to 1:18:47  Moderator introduces dialogue/discussion period

1:18:48 to 1:42:07  Discussion period (Evans and Ehrman interact)

1:42:08 to 2:06:21  Questions from audience

2:06:22 to 2:10:29  Evans’ closing statement

2:10:43 to 2:16:16  Ehrman’s closing statement

Q: Can We Trust Jesus through the Bible Without Being Religious?

This following answer was originally given here, in response to an unbeliever’s challenge to the historical reliability of the Bible.

A: The Nicene Creed holds no importance for me because it is a product of the post-apostolic church and therefore cannot speak with the same authority as Scripture, which comes from Israel’s prophets and apostles. As I’ve said elsewhere, church is obsolete in our day. The only one that mattered is described in the New Testament.

Neither do I cling to the idea of inerrancy. It is a flawed idea which, counterproductively, tends to focus attention on peripheral rather than central matters. Yes, I believe that the Bible is the word of God, but it was written by human hands long ago and can’t be treated as if it were an idol we should worship. It’s the ideas the Bible puts forth that should be considered as coming from God, and it is reflection upon, and practice of, those ideas that brings God’s blessing.

Treating the Bible as a set of religious documents – and therefore subject to a different set of rules – instead of as a set of historical documents is a mistake. And I see this mistake made not just by those who revere the Bible, but by those who, like you, dispute it. The Bible’s documents should be historically judged by the same standards as we judge any other ancient documents. You can’t throw out Paul’s letters, for example, because they deal with the subject of God. Those letters were written, sent, copied, distributed, and preserved in a historical context. The starting point of any study of them is their historical context and nature.

The Bible’s contents are as reliable as you can get for documents from antiquity. Their textual integrity makes reading them less an exercise of faith in copyists than reading Plato or Homer. Do we have photographic representations of the original documents? Of course not. Because of the abundance of copies and their relatively early dating, however, we can be confident that what we’re reading is, for all practical and important purposes, the same as what was originally written. Textual uncertainties are minor.

You don’t have to consider the New Testament as the word of God to come to decision about whether or not it’s reasonable to put faith in Jesus. All you have to do is acknowledge that those documents are more historically reliable than any other documents from antiquity and then draw conclusions from what you read.

There have been innumerable Bible scholars in the last 2,000 years: archaeologists, historians, theologians, linguists, and more. They have agreed on many things and they have argued about many things. Are we to throw out the New Testament because one, or even a few, archaeologists think Nazareth didn’t exist in the time of Jesus? If so, what are we to do about the archaeologists who disagree with him or them? There can be no end of controversies about the Bible, just as there can be no end of differing opinions about politics, business, and marriage. But we should quit none of these fields because of it. Rather, we should act like men, make our decisions, and live by them.

Some things are beyond controversy among scholars. For example, the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. Even the famously skeptical Bart Ehrman thinks that Jesus’ Mythicists are not just wrong, but are dwelling outside the realm of scholarship.
Jesus Christ lived…and men must make their decision about what, if anything, they’re going to do in response. You are certainly free to disregard Him, for He has given you that freedom. Nor will your disregard of Him keep you out of heaven, because everyone is going there. You will, however, find that your experience in heaven carries with it the regret you’ll have for not having lived up to your moral potential down here. For once we get there, there’s nothing we can change about what we did down here. That’s why I want to spend the rest of my life down here making up for the selfishness I’ve previously practiced. When I get to heaven, in whatever place I land, I hope to hear Him say that I finished life better than I started it. If He’s been generous enough to give me the opportunity to repent, I don’t want to insult His kindness.