Reasons to Believe

Sifting Fact from Fiction in Biblical Archaeology

Whether it’s tall tales of daring quests and creepy tombs or documentaries of high-profile discoveries, archaeology continues to hold a fascination for many. Biblical archaeology is particularly stirring for Christians who feel the pressure to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, Scripture’s veracity. It may be tempting to use every discovery announced in the media as support for the Bible.

But a little healthy skepticism can keep believers from falling for and disseminating misleading claims. In this month’s Reasons newsletter, theologian and RTB staffer Krista Bontrager offers tips for sifting genuine archaeological discoveries from tabloid fodder. Here’s a recap.

Ask questions:

  • How was the research conducted and documented?
  • What are the credentials of the scientist(s) in charge of the dig?
  • Have other scholars verified the research results?

Do a little research:

  • If the claim sounds too good to be true, look for further validation from responsible sources before touting the discovery as evidence of biblical truth.
  • Find out which journals, if any, have published the research related to the discovery.
  • Check out respected websites like Biblical Archaeology Review and Bible Places to see what they say about the find.

Fortunately, there are plenty of legitimate discoveries out there to support Scripture without resorting to wild claims.

Biblical archaeology is exciting—even without any hype. In her article, Krista reminds us that “Christians must prize truth above all else.” Looks like it’s best to stick with the facts and leave the tall tales for the silver screen.

— Maureen

Resources: Reasons Institute’s Biblical Archaeology course starts October 24. Register now at www.reasonsinstitute.com.

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Subjects: Bible Difficulties, Geology and the Bible