New Testament Bible Class

Archeology & the Bible – Issues 1 to 5

Archaeology & the Bible #1

The Tel Dan stela of the 9th century BC furnished the first historical evidence of King David outside the Bible, identified the two kingdoms (Israel and Judah) and acknowledged David as the first king of a dynasty because the stela was written more than a century after David lived and yet refers to the kingdom of Judah as “the House of David”.  The stela commemorates the victory of an Aramean king over his two southern neighbors:  the “king of Israel” and the “king of the House of David”.   The king boasts that he vanquished several thousand Israelite and Judahite horsemen and charioteers before personally dispatching both of his royal opponents.  Most scholars believe the stela recounts a campaign of Hazael of Damascus in which he defeated both Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah..  Proves once and for all that David was an historical figure and not a fantastic literary hero.   (BAR, July-October 2009)

Found/excavated:  The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:1-4). ( &

Archaeology & the Bible #2

The fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-14) is recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles. This Cuneiform tablet mentions the capture of Jerusalem in 597.  In fact, the Babylonian Chronicles dates Jerusalem’s fall precisely to March 16, 597 BC!

The tablet is in the British Museum, London.   ( & &

Forcing Jews to leave Rome during the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41-54) as mentioned in Acts 18:2: There he (Paul) met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome., is recorded by the Roman scholar and official Suetonius (c.71-c.135), best-known as the author of the Lives of the Twelve Caesars.  ( &

Scripture is accurate again and again in detail great and detail seemingly small.


Archaeology & the Bible #3

1)       Another king who WAS in doubt was Belshazzar, king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. But, tablets were found showing that Belshazzar was Nabonidus’ son who served as coregent in Babylon. Thus, Belshazzar could offer to make Daniel “third highest ruler in the kingdom” (Dan. 5:16) after himself and his son Belshazzar for reading the handwriting on the wall, the highest available position.  

Without this information is does seem odd that King Nabonidus would offer Daniel the opportunity to be number 3 in the kingdom! 

Here we see the “eye-witness” nature of the Biblical record, as is so often brought out by the discoveries of archaeology.  (

2)       A friend pointed out, and rightly so, that while biblical archaeology is interesting, our faith cannot rest on a foundation of historical facts.  After all, there are historical facts for all kinds of people some with great ideas and some with awful ideas and philosophies.  Besides, the understanding of an archaeological find often changes over time and is often understood differently among archaeologists.

It is by faith that we are saved, not by knowledge; Saving faith is in the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit in whose Name we receive the gift of baptism. 

When trials of faith come (and they do/will) Christians stand sure on the forgiveness of sins offered through the Name above all names, Jesus Christ and not on what they know that someone has discovered. 

But, knowledge of the historical verification of Scripture CAN help us to gently share the Good News with people who have not yet received Jesus as Savior and are looking for reasons to respect the Bible.

So, please read, enjoy, and use what is shared – but don’t base your eternity on it!


Archaeology & the Bible #4

Acts 17:6 and Politarchs in Thessalonica: 

The credibility of the Bible has been challenged for many years by critics who have insisted that Luke, the author of the Acts of the Apostles, erroneously used the Greek term Politarch in referring to the officials before whom Christians associated with the apostle Paul were taken in the city of Thessalonica (see Acts 17:6). It has been adamantly asserted that no such office existed at that time.

However…an inscription containing this term has been found in that city and is now displayed in the British Museum. The inscription, which was attached to a first century (when the events found in Luke’s “Acts of the Apostles” took place) arch on Egnatia Street, begins “In the time of the Politarchs…”

Thirty-five inscriptions have now been discovered which contain this term; nineteen of them come from Thessalonica, and at least three date to the first century A.D.

These inscriptions prove that the office of politarchs existed in Thessalonica in the time of the New Testament and that the Bible is accurate in its use of the term.  (

The historian Luke is correct – once again!

Archaeology & the Bible #5

Rolling Stones at Tombs:

In Matthew (see 28:2) it is stated that an angel descended from heaven to the tomb of Jesus, “rolled back the stone and sat upon it.”

Many tombs from the time of Christ have been discovered in Jerusalem, and some of them still have these rolling stones by their entrances. A tomb from the time of Jesus was built for the burial of Queen Helena north of the Damascus Gate of Old Jerusalem and has the stone still in place. Another, better preserved rolling stone still stands beside the entrance to the tomb of the family of Herod the Great, south of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. More than 60 rolling stone tombs have been found and studied in Israel and Jordan in recent years.  (


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