If the Bible is true, then we should expect the work of archaeology to support the Bible. As we examine archaeology we find this is exactly what happens.
Nineteenth Century Discoveries
In the 19th century, archaeologists began to discover the ancient remains of Egypt and Assyria. These early discoveries confirmed certain events and descriptions found in the Bible. These discoveries also led to a new interest in archaeological study in the lands of the Bible. Before this archaeological resurgence, a number of the kingdoms and civilizations mentioned in the Bible (like the Hittites, Ninevites, and Arameans) were thought by skeptics to be a work of biblical fiction. Critics questioned the existence of David and many of the major events of Israel’s history portrayed in the Bible. However, archaeologists have uncovered a vast amount of artifacts, ruins, and writings that independently verify the biblical record. In addition, archaeologists have found palaces and libraries that give us detailed information about the world of the Bible.
Affirmation from History
These discoveries have shown us what life was like at the various points of Israelite history. They affirm that the lives of the patriarchs (like Abraham) correspond with what we know about the Middle Bronze Age. Historical work in ancient Egypt has demonstrated that Egypt had a rise to world prominence and then a slow decline, as depicted in the Bible. The relative weakness of Egypt and Assyria during the time of the united, Israelite monarchy fits well with biblical description. This also explains (from a historical perspective) how a small country like Israel could have risen to the heights that it did under David and Solomon.
Records from Ancient Assyria
Of particular value to students of the Bible are the records of Assyrian kings, which chronicle various conquests. These records give us names of the kings of Judah and Israel and provide the same sequence of events as described in the Bible. Thus, they corroborate the time line of the events of the Bible. They also give us exact dates of when these events took place, which the Bible doesn’t give us.
More Affirmation from Modern Archaeology
There are many examples of how archaeology has affirmed the trustworthiness of the biblical accounts. For example, the Tel Dan inscription is a stone tablet that was discovered in the 1990s. It is the first extra-biblical evidence of King David. The tablet was erected by Hazael, King of Aram, which is in present day Syria. The inscription offers an extra-biblical account of the wars between the Arameans and the Israelites in the 9th and 8th centuries B.C. This corresponds to the biblical account in 2 Kings 6-8 and 2 Chronicles 22.
Discoveries like these show how archaeology can demonstrate the validity and reliability of the Bible. Although not everything is verifiable through archaeology and historical research, these disciplines give compelling evidence toward the trustworthiness of the Bible.
[Related: The Dead Sea Scrolls]