One method of showing the truth of Scripture is by prophecy fulfilled. Another is to show that tangible, historical, secular evidence that non-believers accept is also established by the Bible. The branch of theology that deals with the defense and proof of Christian doctrine is known as “apologetics.” For us as believers, our faith in the Scriptures is all that is required, and our belief is all that is necessary. The reason, however, for resorting to defending the Bible by means other than mere belief is to have a testimony of reasonableness, common sense, and credibility which may win others to our faith. Let me give some examples of Biblical truth which make it difficult for non-believers to discredit the Bible as the literal Word of God.
Abraham came from Ur in Chaldea. Chaldea was the old name for Mesopotamia, or Babylon, which we now call Iraq. Excavations in the 20th century by the eminent scientist C. Leonard Wooley attest to the existence of Ur, long thought by many scholars as being completely mythical. Found in Ur were middle class houses having 10 to 20 rooms on upper and lower floors. A school was found that existed during Abraham’s era, and the pupils were taught the three R’s as today. They used multiplication and division tables and worked with square and cube root. Think for a moment about someone you know today who may be unable to do these kinds of calculations. A bill of lading dating from 2040 B.C. showed a highly developed commerce at the time of Abraham. Even the name “Abraham” was found on excavated tablets.
Modern scholars have said that there were no camels in Egypt at the time of Abraham, although the 12th chapter of Genesis says Abraham had camels. Archeologists have since found not only statuettes, plaques, and rock carvings of camels, but also camel bones, skulls, and camel hair rope dating from 700 B.C. back to 3000 B.C.
Chapter 15 of Genesis tells about God’s Word to Abraham, that his descendants would be slaves in Egypt for four centuries, but would return to Canaan in the 4th generation. Exodus 12:40 says that Moses led the Israelites from Egypt after 430 years in bondage; and Moses was the 4th generation from Jacob: Levi, Kohath, Amram, and then Moses. It has to be more than wild happenstance that Luke in the New Testament Book of Acts, written more than a thousand years later, mentions this same historical event.
What could be greater evidence of the Bible’s uncanny, long-term accuracy than the account of Ishmael, the child of Abraham and Hagar. You will remember that Hagar was the Egyptian servant of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. The Lord told Hagar that her child would have descendants without number, and that they would be wanderers and always in conflict. These of course are the Arabs of today, and the Arabs have been nomads for 4,000 years.
Chapter 17 of Genesis tells God’s promise that kings would be among Abraham’s descendants. This has been fulfilled countless times: all of the kings of Israel and Judah came from Abraham. Genesis contains many, many more evidences which confirm Bible truth; but our space limitations require that other Scripture passages be considered.
In Exodus, as one traces the route of the 40 year wanderings of Israel through the wilderness, it is discovered that the geographical features of that part of the world as described in the book correspond entirely to what a modern map would provide. Moses, the writer of Exodus, as well as the other of the first five books of the Bible, could not have come up with such a documentary by sheer chance.
Bible critics, upon reading about a seven-candle lampstand in the tabernacle in Exodus 25, declared that such a candelabra was unknown until 600 B.C. in Babylonia. However, excavations just south of Jerusalem by the renowned archeologist W. F. Albright revealed seven-sprouted lampstands dating from 1200 to 1400 B.C.
The Book of Leviticus states that, in spite of all the attempts of enemies to hate and destroy the Jews, the Lord will never allow them to be completely wiped out. Scattered for 25 centuries, and with never-ending attempts to eradicate them from the face of the earth, they not only continue to exist, but are a force that cannot be denied. Even if only a very few Jews were left in the world, after the diabolical effort to exterminate them, it would be more than sufficient evidence to trust the Word of God. By comparison, just ask what happened to the numerous other peoples whose future was not assured by God. Where are the Amalekites, the Amorites, Jebusites, Hittites, Philistines, Assyrians, and all the other nations that existed in history? There is not a trace of them today.
Although the Bible mentions the Hittites 48 times, critics have long contended that any such people, if they did exist, were of little consequence. The archeologist G. A. Barton mentions in his book, Archeology and the Bible, that an archive of clay tablets records a military treaty between the Hittites and Egypt thirteen centuries before the birth of Christ. This would certainly make the Hittites a significant culture with whom the Egyptians were politically involved.
Going on to another section of the Bible: The book of Joshua details how Israelite soldiers marched around the city of Jericho seven times in a day. Sir Charles Marston’s book, New Biblical Evidence, reports that the excavations of old Jericho show walls to be only 650 yards—which is a third of a mile—in circumference, enclosing an area of only seven acres. Thus a seven-lap march in one day is entirely feasible. Excavations of other ancient cities such as Troy, and even Jerusalem, show that the walled sections were places of refuge to which people could flee in time of trouble, and did not enclose the entire city where people regularly resided.
The Bible quotes Joshua as cursing anyone who would rebuild Jericho (Josh. 6:20), declaring that any such person would suffer the loss of his oldest as well as his youngest son. When the book of I Kings was written centuries later, it recounts how the evil King Ahab endeavored to rebuild the city (I Kings 16:34). Listen to this detailed description of the rebuilding: “The builder was from Bethel, and was named Hiel. As the foundation of the city was laid, Hiel’s first-born son, Abiram, died; and as the gates were set up in the walls, his youngest son, Segub, died.” It seems unreasonable to assume that a duplicitous plot between Bible writers who did not know each other, and who lived centuries apart, could have manufactured such a tale whose pieces fit together so perfectly. Anyone, or any group of conspirators attempting to plan a story like this by deceit would certainly be doomed to failure. But because the Scriptures are all divine in their authorship, one needs never to worry that close scrutiny will reveal anything but absolute truth.
Probably the most boring part of the entire Bible is, at the same time, a most revealing evidence of its being God’s truth. I am referring to the book of I Chronicles. I have read it through, and if you do not want to read it through, at least leaf through it to see the genealogies. No one—absolutely no one—would contrive such a book as a self-serving act with the pretext of promoting some religious dogma. One thing such a book does show is God’s personal concern for everybody—each individual who was ever born.
Today’s thinkers, philosophers, and so-called intellectuals place great importance on secular intellects of the past such as those of ancient Greece. Concerning the earth, those presumed masterminds came up with the most bizarre, hare-brained ideas as to be laughable by any civilized intelligent standard; and still the Greek scholars are revered today by those who refuse to recognize the wisdom of God and His Holy Book. If the Bible were to assert that the earth was carried on the shoulders of the god Atlas, who stood on the backs of giant tortoises, which stood on the backs of elephants, this would be more than sufficient reason to discredit the Holy Scriptures as being of God. What does the Bible say about the earth? What keeps it up? Job 26:7 states that God spreads the skies over empty space and suspends the earth on nothing. The Bible is not a book of science; yet in not even one point does it contradict any principle of modern science that has been established as fact rather than mere theory.
There are in this country, and in several European countries, chapters of the Flat Earth Society, whose members are convinced that the earth is not round. Up until the 15th century, centuries after Isaiah lived, no one knew, nor would many people believe, that the earth was not flat. Without benefit of a telescope or a knowledge of the physics of astronomy, Isaiah wrote in chapter 40, verse 22, that the Lord sits enthroned above the circle of the earth. Noted Bible teacher, J. Vernon McGee has stated that the word, “circle,” is synonymous with “globe,” a round geometric figure.
Moses was not an oceanographer, but in Genesis 7:11 he wrote that fountains, or springs, of the great deep burst forth, at the same time the rains fell from heaven, flooding the earth. Only relatively recently have our scientists discovered that there are, indeed, great water fountains erupting from the ocean floor.
There was a time when Babylon was where mighty kings exalted themselves above the God of heaven; and that Babylon might ultimately become only a memory would have been unthinkable. However, Isaiah prophesies in chapter 13, verses 20-22 that Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of their pride, will be overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah; she will never be inhabited throughout all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there; no shepherd will rest his flocks there; jackals, owls, wild goats, and hyenas—only desert creatures—will lie there.
In contrast, the city of Tyre according to Isaiah 23:14-18, was to be devastated and desolate for 70 years, and then restored. What actually happened was that Tyre was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and was left in ruins for 70 years, but rebuilt by Alexander the Great. The 18th verse goes on to say that Tyre would return to a life of commerce, and the profits would not be hoarded, but instead be consecrated to God. Eventually, true religion did return to Tyre. Jesus visited Tyre as did Paul, as we can read in Matthew 15:21 and Acts 21:3-6. The historian Eusebius wrote that when the church was founded in Tyre, much of the city’s wealth was dedicated to God; and Jerome, another noted historian of the 4th century A.D., wrote that the wealth of Tyre’s churches was not stored away, but given to those of the church who were in need.
Mathematics is regarded as the purest of the sciences, and the value of the Greek letter “pi” as approximately 3.1416 is recognized as a basic numerical constant throughout the universe as well as a function of geometry. How easy it would have been for an author of one of the Bible’s books to err in recording some data involving mathematical computations. Only God’s inspired authorship, however, prevented any such thing from happening. In I Kings 7:23 is given a description of the huge water reservoir in the temple used for ceremonial washings. We are told that the basin was 10 cubits, or about 15 feet, in diameter and 30 cubits in circumference. Technically, using the value of “pi,” this should be 31.416 cubits rather than 30. But in verse 26 we learn that the basin was a “hand breadth” thick, or about three inches thick, which would make the inside circumference 30 cubits as the Bible says. Even the most nit-picky critic should be impressed with this evidence of Biblical accuracy.
Luke, in Acts 17:6, refers to a city official by using the Greek term, “Politarch.” This term has never before been found in Greek literature, so Bible critics have pointed out what seemed to be an invention by Luke. In the year 1835, an arch in Thessalonica was discovered with the term “Politarch” inscribed on it, and the Apostle Paul was in Thessalonica at the time of which Luke was writing. In 1867 the arch was destroyed, but the block containing the word “Politarch” was rescued and is now in the British museum. My wife, son, and I saw the display of Greek memorabilia when we visited the museum, but unfortunately we did not take note of this particular piece of stone. Incidentally, since the discovery in 1835, this same description has been found on 16 other monuments in various other localities in Greece.
In summary, all of the foregoing examples—which hardly scratch the surface—demonstrate the uncanny, inexplicable accuracy and complete reliability of God’s Word. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself in John 17:17 said that God’s Word is Truth. In John 10:35 the Savior says the Scriptures cannot be broken; and Matthew 5:18 quotes the Lord as saying that the smallest letter (which is iota in Greek) or the least stroke of a pen (referring to the minuscule embellishments added to the Hebrew alphabet) would not disappear as long as there was a heaven and an earth. The Bible teaches that there will be a heaven and an earth forever.
Let me conclude by suggesting that whenever we are confronted with presumably authoritative opinions that seem to be at variance with what one reads in our Bible, we take to heart the Apostle Paul’s words found in his first letter to the Corinthians. He triumphantly declares, “I know very well how foolish it sounds to those who are lost, when they hear that Jesus died to save them. But we who are saved recognize this message as the very power of God. For God says, `I will destroy all human plans of salvation no matter how wise they seem to be, and ignore the best ideas of men, even the most brilliant of them.’ So what about these wise men, these scholars, these brilliant debaters of this world’s great affairs? God has made them all look foolish, and shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. For God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never find God through human brilliance, and then He stepped in and saved all those who believed His message, which the world calls foolish and silly….This so-called `foolish’ plan of God is far wiser than the wisest plan of the wisest man, and God in His `weakness’—Christ dying on the Cross—is far stronger than any man.” Amen and amen!