A charge detractors of Christianity make to cast doubt on the Bible’s authenticity is the alleged lack of historical evidence for the assertions found in Scripture. The Bible employs different forms of literature to covey truths about God and the created world. Skeptics have long denied the facts put forth, particularly in the Bible’s historical books, as contrived and untrue. Modern day archeological discoveries, however, confirm the historical events and persons recorded in Sacred Scripture are both factually correct and historically valid.
1. The story of Abraham rescuing Lot is historically accurate.
Chapter 14 in the book of Genesis tells the story of Abraham rescuing his nephew Lot from the four kings. The famous German biblical scholar, Julius Wellhausen, called the story "simply impossible." Contemporary archeological research proves the details of the account to be true.
2. The city of Ur existed.
For over a century, conventional wisdom held that the city of Ur, from which Abraham came, did not exist. This view prevailed well into the 20th century. Excavations show that Ur was an advanced city and a major trading hub of the ancient world.
3. Sodom and Gomorrah were actual places that were destroyed.
Marvin Olasky writes in, The Religions Next Door: "For a long time some archeologists viewed the Sodom and Gomorrah story as untrue." Excavations at Tell Mardikh [in present day Syria] unearthed tablets mentioning both these cities as having been destroyed. Furthermore, the soil surrounding the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah [in present day Jordan] contains large deposits of salt dating back to biblical times; lending credence to the demise of Lot's wife [Genesis 19: 26].
4. Moses was a highly literate member of Egypt's upper class.
19th century scholarship was of the opinion that Moses was probably illiterate. Someone else had to have authored the first five books of the Bible ascribed to him. Thanks to archeological finds, historians now recognize that the Egyptian upper class was highly literate. By virtue of his adoption by Pharaoh's daughter, Moses was raised and educated as a member of Egypt's upper class.
5. Ancient rulers and peoples [i.e.: the Hittites] described in the Bible were real.
At one point scholars insisted various civilizations, such as the Hittites described in Sacred Scripture, did not exist, nor did rulers like Belshazzar of Babylon or Sargon of Assyria. Archeologists have found records of all these civilizations and leaders. Paul L. Maier writes in his article, Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Historicity of the Bible, that:
A century ago, the Hittites were unknown outside of the Old Testament. Critics claimed they were a figment of biblical imagination. In 1906, however, archaeologists digging east of Ankara, Turkey, discovered the ruins of Hattusas, the ancient Hittite capital at what is today called Boghazkoy, as well as its vast collection of Hittite historical records, which showed an empire flourishing in the mid-second millennium BC.6. The specific chronological references to kings who reigned between 2000 - 400 BC. in the Old Testament are historically correct.
If the references to Old Testament kings were out of order or inaccurate, it would argue against the Bible's reliability. Many academics saw such references as fanciful inventions. Robert Wilson, a Princeton professor fluent in twenty-six ancient Middle Eastern languages and dialects disagreed. In A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament, he writes that: "No stronger evidence for the substantial evidence of the Old Testament record could possibly be imagined than the collection of kings. Mathematically, it is one chance in [750 with 21 zeros after it] that this accuracy is mere circumstance."
7. The Bible has not been altered by subsequent editors and copyists.
Skeptics of Sacred Scripture have asked: "Why couldn't subsequent editors and copyists have kept the factual framework and distorted the doctrines to conform to their own prejudices?" Since the original copies of Scripture have long been lost to history, such questions were impossible to refute. Then in 1947, two-thousand-year-old scrolls hidden in a desert cave [part of the Qumran Caves] located near the Dead Sea in Israel were discovered. The Dead Sea scrolls are 1,200 years older than the earliest copies of Scripture known to have existed previously. They contain passages from the book of Isaiah and other books of the Bible identical to the ones we have today. That means that the copying over the centuries has been accurate.
There are many more instances of archeological research demonstrating biblical integrity that could be cited. Still, the Bible is not a history textbook. Sacred Scripture's main purpose is to proclaim God and His actions throughout human history to love, save and redeem man.
Sources: The Religions Next Door, Marvin Olasky and "Biblical Archaeology: Factual Evidence to Support the Historicity of the Bible," Paul L. Maier.