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Archaeological and Bibliographic Support for the Bible 

Larry Dickens

September 7, 2014 PM


Has archaeology ever proved even one statement of the Bible to be incorrect? What about the Bible text? Can we trust it has been preserved without error? How do we know it is not the product of man's conspiracy/collusion, written later than advertised by liars and frauds? How can we know???


I.         Were the authors of the New Testament accurate in things which could be verified; i.e., events, places, people, etc?

            A.        Did the Romans do a census?

                        1.         Biblical references  — Luke 2:1-5; Acts 5:37Archeological Support of Inspiration

                        2.         Held Census every 14 years.

                        3.         Inscription of “Quirinius”, Governor of Syria, Circa 7 B.C., twice

            B.         Who is Lysanias?

                        1.         Biblical reference—Luke 3:1

                        2.         “The freedman of Lysanias the Tetrarch”  - Inscription dated - 4-29 A. D.

            C.         Whoever heard of “Pavement” (Gabbatha) in Bible times?

                        1.         Biblical reference -John 19:13

                        2.         “This court was the court of the Tower of Antonia.”  W. F. Albright, The Archeology of Palestine

            D.        A Disputed City –was Iconium in Phyrigia?

                        1.         Biblical references — Acts 13:13; Acts 14:1, 4-7

                        2.         Cicero placed  “Iconium in Lycaonia”

                        3.         Ramsey (1910) found Iconium in Phyrgia

            E.         A Disputed People: “Politarchs”

                        1.         Biblical reference — Acts 17:1, 6

                        2.         Nineteen different inscriptions found in Thessalonica.


 “It may be stated categorically that no archeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical  reference”.  —  Nelson Glueck



 “Luke is a historian of first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense… in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians.”  — Sir William Ramsay


II.        Can we be sure of Accuracy today?

            A.        How do we know that there have not been significant changes or errors in the process of copying over the years?

            B.         How do we know that there have not been collusion – a secret cooperation for deceitful purposes?

            C.         The acid test: the bibliographical test: Are “our” copies faithful representations of the “originals?” Are today’s copies free of changes, errors, or collusion?

                        1.         How many copies of the document in question are available?

                                    a.         Over 4,500 Greek Manuscripts

                                    b.         13,000 Copies of  Portions

                                    c.         prima facia  evidence of what many people thought about these writings in the first three centuries.

                        2.         Where were the copies found? Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy

                        3.         What length of time passed?   

                                    a.         Several fragments within 50 to 100 years

                                    b.         Several nearly complete N.T. Greek  Manuscripts within 300-400 Years

                                                (1)       Codex Vaticanus – 4th Century— pre-Roman Catholic

                                                (2)       Codex Sinaiticus – 350 A.D. -Mt. Sinai

                                                (3)       Codex Alexandrinus – 5TH C. - Pre- Orthodox

                                    c.         Plus  4,500 others and 13,000 copies of portions        

                                    d.         Compare to length of time passed for secular books

                                                (1)       Histories of Thucydides  -1300 years

                                                (2)       Histories of Herodotus – 1350 years

                                                (3)       Caesar’s Gallic War   -  950 years

                                                (4)       Roman History of Livy – 350 years

                                                (5)       Histories of Tacitus  -750 years

                                                (6)       Annals of Tacitus   -950 years (2 manuscripts)

            D.        What variances exist?

                        1.         More variations in English translations than variances in early manuscripts.

                        2.         Only 0.5% of Text ever been questioned


III.       Why the Bible is Trustworthy

            A.        God Inspired The Book!  — 2 Tim 3:16-17

            B.         God Made Sure Nothing Happened To It!  —  Matt 5:18

            C.         God Has Promised its Surety!  — 2 Peter 1:19-21; Luke 21:32-33

            D.        God’s Book Will Be The Basis Of Mans’ Judgment! — John 12:48; Rev 20:12


Conclusion:      Why Do Some Not Believe It?

            A.                    Because They Do Not Want To Believe

                        1.         2 Thess 1:5-9

                        2.         2 Thess 2:7-12

            B.         Those Who Do Not Believe The Bible Is Accurate Had Better Be Right!



 “No fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading… it cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the text of the Bible is certain, especially is this the case with the New Testament.”   —    Sir Frederick Kenyon



 “The evidence for our New Testament writings is ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of classical authors… the authenticity of  which no one dreams of questioning.”  …“and if the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be held as beyond all doubt.”    —  F. F. Bruce



 “After trying to shatter the historicity and validity of the scripture, I came to the conclusion that they are historically trustworthy.  If one discards the Bible as being unreliable, then he must discard almost all literature of antiquity.”-  Josh McDowell

 ‘One problem I constantly face is the desire on the part of many to apply one standard or test to secular literature and others to the Bible. One needs to apply the same test, whether the literature under investigation is secular or religious.”… Josh McDowell



“Having done this, I believe one can hold the Scriptures in his hand and say, ‘The Bible is trustworthy and historically reliable.’”-  Josh McDowell

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