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Illuminating the Bible

Recent Discoveries from Archaeology and History

Far from being an abstract spiritual story, the Bible provides the names of myriads of characters (not only the heroes of the stories, but also minor players), places, weights, years and time spans, plants and animals, customs, and traditions. Take for example how the Gospel of Luke (3:1, 2) prefaces the story about John the Baptist by mentioning not less than seven contemporary rulers.

Nonetheless, Bible scholars and historians have called into question much of what the Bible says. Often, they quote the lack of archaeological evidence, the argument from silence, to cast doubt on the Scriptures. Archaeologist Michael Hasel explains: “Although more than 200 years have passed since this discipline [biblical archaeology] was established in the Near East, we have barely scratched the surface. Only a fraction of biblical sites are known. Of those that are, only a fraction have been excavated. Most of those excavated have only had 5 percent of the

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  1. M. G. Hasel, “Archaeology and the Authority of the Bible,” Ministry, March 2012.

  2. A. Biran & J. Naveh, “An Aramaic Stele Fragment from Tel Dan,” Israel Exploration Journal, No. 43, 1993, pp. 81–98.

  3. O. Muncaster, 101 Reasons You Can Believe: Why the Christian Faith Makes Sense (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2004), pp. 72, 73.

  4. M. G. Hasel, “Postmodern Bible Critics and Recent Archaeology,” Adventists Affirm, Vol. 20(3).

  5. Rinat Harash & Ari Rabinovitch, “Biblical bad guys the ancient Philistines came from Europe, DNA shows,” Reuters,, July 3, 2019.

  6. Hasel, “Archaeology and the Authority of the Bible”

  7. “Impression of King Hezekiah’s Royal Seal Discovered in Ophel Excavations South of Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,, Feb 12, 2015.

  8. “Impression of biblical king’s seal found in Jerusalem,” BBC News, Dec 2, 2015.

  9. R. O. Muncaster, 101 Reasons You Can Believe: Why the Christian Faith Makes Sense (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2004), pp. 72, 73.

  10. I. Wilson, The Bible is History (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), p. 218.

  11. J. H. Charlesworth, “The Historical Jesus in the Fourth Gospel: A Paradigm Shift?” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, No. 8, 2010, p. 32.

  12. “Bullae,” City of David,

  13. Ben Witherington, quoted by Chad V. Meister, Building Belief: Constructing Faith from the Ground Up (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2009), p. 146.