Why I Believe the Bible #03 (The Bible Is A Book of History)

Wayne —  August 26, 2009 — 3 Comments

BIble
Well, sort of….The Bible is not primarily a history book.  It is a book about God.  It is a book that deals with God’s relationship with his creation (man), man’s rebellion against God (the fall), man’s redemption (through Christ’s death and resurrection), and ultimately God’s restoration of man to himself.

It does, however, tell that story within the setting of the history of mankind and therefore includes a multitude of references to specific historical people, places and events as it relates the story of God’s relationship with man.  Indeed, the Hebrew people are the only people on earth who can give such a clear and accurate picture of their origins and history.   In his book The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell cites the following quote from The Cambridge Ancient History:

“The Israelites certainly manifest a genius for historical construction, and the Old Testament embodies the oldest history writing extant.”

Indeed, scripture itself tells us about this important role played by the Hebrew nation in maintain a history of their nation:

“Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.”  [Romans 3:1-2 ESV]

In the coming weeks, we will look closer at how seriously the Israelites took this  responsibility to record the history of God’s interaction with their nation and how that provides assurance regarding the reliable transmission of the history.  Today though, we are concentrating on the historical aspects of the book itself.

Although not written as a history book, we would expect that any references to historical people, places or events would be 100% accurate given our claim that the bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God.  So, how does the Bible stand up to such a claim?  Well, we will deal much more with this in more detail in later posts dealing with archaeological proof for the Old and New Testaments, but in short, the Bible passes with flying colors.  While all references to people, places and events have not been independently verified by other discoveries, no discovery made to date has disproved any of the historical account contained in the Bible.

The following are selected lists of references to historical individuals and places in the Bible which have proven to be accurate and have been confirmed by archaeology and/or independent sources:

People

  • The Hittites (Gen 23:10, Genesis 25:9, Genesis 26:34, Genesis 27:46)
  • The Philistines (1 Samuel 14, 1 Samuel 17)
  • King David (1 Samuel, 2 Samuel)
  • Baruch (Jeremiah 32)
  • Belshazzar (Daniel 5)
  • Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24-25, 2 Chronicles 36, Daniel 2-4)
  • King Jehoiachin (2 Kings 25:27-30)
  • King Ahab (1 Kings 16-22)
  • Omri (1 Kings 16)
  • King Jehu (1 Kings 16, 1 Kings 19)
  • King Uzziah (2 Kings 15)
  • Sennacherib (2 Kings 18-19, 2 Chronicles 32, Isaiah 37)
  • Pharaoh Shishak (1 Kings 11, 1 Kings 14, 2 Chronicles 12)
  • King Cyrus (2 Chronicles 36:22-23, Ezra 1-6, Daniel 1:21, Daniel 6:28, Daniel 10:1)
  • Sargon, King of Assyria (Isaiah 20:1)
  • Lysanius (Luke 3:1)
  • Claudius (Acts 18:11-12)
  • Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 18-19)
  • Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3, Matthew 26:57, Luke 3:2, John 11:49, John 18:13-14, John 18:24, John 18:28, Acts 4:6)
  • Sergius Paulus (Acts 13:6-12)
  • Erastus (Romans 16:23)

Places

  • Sodom (Genesis 13)
  • Gomorrah (Genesis 13)
  • Haran (Genesis 11)
  • Canaan (Genesis 9-13, Exodus 6:4, Numbers 13:2)
  • Jericho (Joshua 1-6, 1 Kings 16, Matthew 10, Luke 18-19)
  • Ur (Genesis 11:28-31)
  • Beth Shemesh (2 Chronicles 12)
  • Pool of Gibeon (2 Samuel 2:13, Jeremiah 41:12)
  • Gibeah (1 Samuel 10:26, 1 Samuel 11:4, 1 Samuel 15:34)
  • Beersheba (Genesis 21, Amos 5:5)
  • Jacob’s Well (John 4:6)
  • Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13, Mark 8:27)
  • 10 Cities of the Decapolis (Matthew 4:25, Mark 5:20)
  • Areopagus (Acts 17:19-22)
  • Ephesus (Book of Ephesians)
  • Seven churches of Revelation (Revelation 2-3)
  • Solomon’s Colonnade (John 10:22-23)
  • Pool of Siloan (John 9:7)
  • Bethsaida (Matthew 11:21, Mark 6:45, Luke 10:13, John 1:44)
  • Cana (John 2)
  • Pool at Bethesda (John 5:2)

Unlike other supposedly spiritual books, the stories of the Bible take place in the midst of human history which is independently verifiable.  Now, the fact that these people and places exist is not, in and of itself, proof of the supernatural origin of the Bible.  It does though lay a firm foundation.  It is astounding that a book penned by so many different authors over thousands of years would be as remarkably historically accurate as the Bible.  As we start to see these other areas where the Bible proves itself 100% trustworthy and accurate, intellectually honesty requires us to ask, should we then start to trust in the parts for which we cannot see tangible proof?

Return to the Why I Believe The Bible index page.

m4s0n501

3 responses to Why I Believe the Bible #03 (The Bible Is A Book of History)

  1. The Bible holds the true word of GOD and therefore we need to read each and everyday for guidance. And it is not just about reading it, it is about reading it to get the deepest meaning.

  2. The more I study my faith in CHRIST, the more sure I am that my trust in him is not blind but a logical conclusion based on the facts contained in it and confirmed by history, science, and philosophy. So, with the things my eye can’t see, my finite mind can’t fathom, and for those things a laboratory can’t test, I take a step forward in faith knowing that if I can trust his word with minute details I can trust it with my soul. To conclude, Peter said it best:

    …..”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

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