Bible and historicity

otseng wrote: Thu Feb 03, 2022 9:52 am One thing interesting about the Bible is it is based on the context of history. Many sections of the Bible are set in the background of historical events, places, and people. So, it is possible to then confirm its validity through historical methods (written records and archaeology). This makes the Bible stand out among other religious scriptures since it is empirically testable. The Bible is not set in mythical lands or fictional characters or imaginary events. It is set in places you can actually go visit and dig and find things that corroborate the Biblical accounts.

I don’t think this point can be emphasized enough. The Bible is unique as a religious text that sets itself in the background of historical events, people, and places. In many passages, it’s easy to fall asleep reading through these verses. Sometimes you wonder, “Why did the writers think it was so important to be so specific with names of people and places?” But, one thing it does allow for is for us to compare the Biblical claims with archaeology. It is like the Bible is a giant picture. And archaeology is like a box of puzzle pieces. When we find a piece, we can see if it fits on the picture. If it fits, then it affirms the Biblical claims.

We can compare this to what the Bible was not written as. It was not written simply as a set of doctrinal statements, a set of rules, and a set of sayings. Though the Bible does contain this, it is not the majority of the text. And even interspersed in these are references to historical reality.

Another interesting aspect of the Bible is its honesty in accounts. Typically, any work of history will only paint a positive picture of themselves and a negative picture of everyone else. And they will not record anything that is embarrassing. For example, the Assyrian account does not explicitly state why Sennacherib left Jerusalem. But, the Bible does not hold back in relating embarrassing accounts. The sins of Israel is a constant theme in the Old Testament. Israelite Kings were full of weaknesses. Failures of the apostles were common. The chief of the apostles, Peter, denied Jesus three times. Women were the first to see the risen Jesus and not the apostles. We could go on and on. But, rather than being a weakness of the Bible, it is actually a strength. It demonstrates the Bible strives to be honest. And thus it lends to it being a reliable source.

I bring up honesty when dealing with archaeology because we need to realize other cultures are typically not as honest in their accounts. That’s not to say the Bible is always completely honest either, but I would say it would be more honest than others since it contains embarrassing accounts.