The Bible and Indiana Jones
I’ve always had a fascination for biblical archaeology. I think this stems from both my love of the Bible and my secret desire to be like Indiana Jones. (I know, I know… archaeology not nearly as glamorous as Indie portrayed).
I like to follow the latest archaeological finds in Bible lands and learn how they inform and confirm Scripture. A couple years ago, my parents gave me the Archaeological Study Bible for Christmas. It’s a wealth of information and I highly recommend it.
Another resource that I have appreciated over the years is ABR (the Associates for Biblical Research – biblearcheaology.org). They’re a group of Bible scholars and archaeologists who hold a high view of Scripture, and who are dedicated to demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible through archaeological and biblical research. I used to follow their “Current Events” section regularly, until it stopped being updating. Since I followed a number of other biblical archaeological sites already, I reached out to ABR to see if they would be interested in having me update their current events page on a regular basis. To my surprise, Scott Lanser, ABR’s Director contacted me and, after a lengthy discussion and seeing some a sample of my work, agreed to allow me to volunteer in this way. (So in the interest of full-disclosure, I write for the website I’m about to promote.)
Let me highlight three important archaeological discoveries (out of a myriad of possibilities!) that I have found both fascinating and affirming. I’ll also share some of ABR’s ongoing work in biblical archaeology. So put your Indiana Jones fedora on and grab your Bible and get ready to dig!
- The Discovery of Jericho
The Battle of Jericho is one of the most unusual and memorable stories in the Old Testament. It’s a fantastic tale of victory through faith—but is there any truth to the story? Jericho has been excavated for many years, and the evidence is as controversial as it overwhelming. Joel Kramer is an associate with ABR, and he’s produced an excellent video entitled, “Jericho Unearthed” which explains the many ways in which the archaeological discoveries at Jericho confirm what is described in the Bible. You can view it here.
- Who Was The Pharaoh of the Exodus?
We’ve all seen the stunning pictures of Egyptian hieroglyphics and art. They were a learned and literate people, who recorded their history extensively. Have you ever wondered whether there is evidence in their own writings for the Exodus of close to 2 million Israelite slaves under Moses guidance and God’s provision? Doug Petrovich, has written a detailed (and technical) article on the dating of the Exodus, and the archeological evidence for who the pharaoh at the time might have been. Check it out here.
- The Tel Dan Stela
Arguably, one of the most important discoveries in biblical archaeology in past 25 years was the Tel Dan Stela, a fragment of stone with an Aramaic inscription that makes reference to Judah as the “House of David.” Unearthed in 1993-94, it came at a time when some were questioning the existence of the United Monarchy and a king name David. Further, the stela names eight biblical kings. ABR staff archaeologist, Dr. Bryant Wood, gives a good overview of this discovery and its importance here.
In addition to it’s scholarly work in analyzing discoveries in biblical archaeology, ABR is also involved in ongoing archaeological field work. Since 1995, ABR has been involved in excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, amassing considerable evidence that it is the location of the Old Testament city of Ai of Joshua 7-8. The site also appears to be the location of a New Testament city, possibly the city of Ephraim mentioned in John 11:53-54. (Cities were often rebuilt on the ruins of previous cities in ancient times). In fact, ABR’s discovery of an Egyptian scarab (amulet) dating from 1500 B.C. was named the #1 find in biblical archaeology in 2013 by Christianity Today. You can learn about ABR’s excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir by reading the field reports here.
Finally, if you share my interest in Biblical archaeology, I encourage you to regularly check ABR’s Current Events page. Each week I follow reports relating to biblical Archaeology and then highlight one in a quick paragraph and share some links to the reports for further reading. http://www.biblearchaeology.org/currentevents.aspx
For the record:
I’m not an archaeologist, and recognize that I’m “way out of my league” when I read the credentials of the staff and associates at ABR. It’s quite humbling, to be allowed to serve them in the little way I do. I hope you’re encouraged in your faith as you see the historic reliability of the Bible through ABR’s ministry.