The Bible – Is it Inspired by God?

Part 4 – Its Historical Accuracy


Dr. John Hoole – June 24, 2018




Over the past month and a half, we have been investigating the validity of the Bible.  We are currently investigating a variety of things that make its validity more reasonable.  We have thus far look at:

a)  It contains knowledge beyond human origin.


b)  Biblical internal information on how the Bible ascribes for itself that it is the Word of God.


c)  The unity of the Bible, though it was written over 1,600 years by 40 writers, most of whom did not know each other, yet without contradiction.


d)  Though the entirety of the Bible, there is but one focus – Jesus Christ.  This is a strong argument for the Bible being inspired by God Himself/


Today we continue with another topic that implies at the very least that the Bible is God’s Word.


The Bible is a divinely inspired record of the creation of all things, including man, and of God's dealings with the human race.  The Bible is not a history book, just as it is not a book written for people with a scientific mind, or for people with interests in other fields of learning.  However, it is a fact that whenever God's Word touches incidentally on any of these areas, it is always accurate.  The Bible is amazing in the accuracy with which it deals with whatever subject it may touch.


The Bible is primarily concerned with the Person and nature of God, and His interactions with humanity in creation and redemption.  But this description of the Bible’s purpose means that it must have a lot of historical content.  That is, the Bible purports to record a chronicle of real events from the ancient Near East.  It is against this backdrop that the revelation of God was communicated.  The work of Yahweh in the Old testament is depicted as being a part of history itself.  And wherever the Bible has made a specific historical claim, it has been shown to be correct where external corroborating evidence exists.


God's Word is absolutely dependable in every statement made and every fact presented.  No new editions have ever been printed to remove errors from the Bible that the Holy Spirit made.  Well, that is true except for one incident, and the Holy Spirit did not make this mistake..


In 1631, Robert Barker and Martin Lucas, who were printers in London, caught an error after they began printing copies of the King James Version Bible.  One word was accidently omitted from Exodus 20:14.  The missing word could not have been at a more disruptive place.  Here is a photo copy of a part of that page, which reads:  “Thou Shalt Commit Adultery.”


The printers were heavily fined and they lost their printer’s license.  Since this time, this edition has been called “The Wicked Bible.”  It was not caught for almost a year and they had the copies returned and burned.  That is, except for 10 copies that still exist.


The skeptics of the Bible challenge believers, claiming they cannot prove absolutely there is a God.  But it is just as true that it is impossible for infidels, rationalists, and atheists to disprove such things.  So, to accomplish their goal, these people have had to resort to other lines of attack.  Since "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God," they have made the Bible the battle ground.  They have tried to cast doubt on the authorship of the books of the Bible, their date of writing, the miracles, and the historical accuracy of the book, to name a few.


So, do the statements of Scripture regarding people, places and events in ancient Israel line up with archaeological findings and records from other civilization.  The answer is an overwhelming YES!!!


The Bible contains two kinds of information.  Some of it can be checked; some of it cannot.


For example, it is not possible to “check” scientifically the accuracy of Genesis 1:1.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  This is pre-human-history and therefore does not lend itself to empirical investigation.  On the other hand, the Scriptures contain hundreds of references that arise out of the background of human history.  These may be tested for accuracy.  If it is the case that the Bible is demonstrated to be precise in thousands of details, is it not reasonable to conclude that its information in other matters is equally correct.


The attacks on the validity of the Bible has been vicious.  German rationalists of the late 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries have led in this attack.  We stated a moment ago that the Bible is not a history book, but since it is a record of God's dealings with man, the setting of the events of both the Old and New Testaments had to be included.  What coinage and weights and measures were in use at the time?  Who was on the thrones of nations?  These, and a host of other things, the Bible deals with almost incidentally, and these are some of the things that rationalists have denied when proof of their accuracy did not already exist.


This line of attack is a valid one.  If the Bible cannot be relied upon when making a statement about some historical matter, then why would a person be inclined to believe a statement about heaven or salvation?


Have these attacks had a very negative outcome about the Bible’s accuracy?  Far from it! In fact, these attacks have probably been partially responsible for the interest taken in modern archaeological efforts in areas where Bible events unfolded.  In turn, these diggings into the ruins of such areas have provided the proof of facts previously denied.


Julius Wellhausen, a German rationalist, declared that "we can learn nothing from the Pentateuch about the history of patriarchal times, but only about ideas, customs and rituals that came into being many centuries later."  He also said that "Abraham is certainly not the name of a person - he is not to be considered a historical person. He might rather be thought of as a free creature of unconscious art" (Christianity Today, Sept. 19, 1980, p. 35).


It is interesting that William F. Albright, the author of the above article, said that "Wellhausen never showed any interest in the discoveries of archaeology."  It is well that he showed no interest in archaeology (if he wanted to remain in ignorance), because archaeological material (according to Albright) "has been accumulating at an accelerated pace.”


We know from discoveries all over the Middle East how well the biblical and Patriarchal narratives fit into the Middle Bronze age, between ca. 1900 and 1500 B.C.  Consider the ruins of Mari, on the Euphrates River, on the eastern border in modern Syria.  Since 1933, excavations have yielded, 22,000 cuneiform tablets belonging to the then recently settled Western Semites of Abraham's time, whose language and customs were very close to those of the early Hebrews" (History, Archaeology and Christian Humanism, p. 29).


The ancient city of Mari was a thriving metropolis ca. 2400-1760 BC.   This is the time of Abraham.  Mari was the capital of the Amorites.  Amorites were spread far and wide throughout the ancient Near East, including the hill country of Canaan vanquished by the Israelites (Nm 13:29; Jos 10:6).


Numbers 13:29 NKJV


29     The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."


Not only does the Bible name tribes of people, but, in some cases, states where they were located.


We know from Genesis 12 that Abraham and his family, including his father, left Ur, and traveled northwest along the Euphrates River to a place called Haran.  Haran was 200 miles further upstream from Mari, so Abraham’s family must have gone through Mari.


Ancient Mari was in the vicinity of the ancient biblical patriarchs.  Some documents found there detail practices such as adoption and inheritance similar to those found in the Genesis accounts.  The tablets speak of the slaughtering of animals when covenants were made, judges similar to the judges of the Old Testament, and gods that are also named in the Hebrew Bible, like Ashtar and Dagan.


A city named Nahur is mentioned in the Mari tablets, possibly named after Abraham’s grandfather Nahor (Genesis 11:22-25),  It also mentions the city of Haran where Abraham lived for a time (Gn 11:31-12:4).  Hazor is spoken of often in the Mari texts and there is a reference to Laish (Dan) as well.  A unique collection of 30 texts deals with prophetic messages that were delivered to local rulers who relayed them to the king.  The findings at Mari show that the Patriarchal narratives accurately reflect the socio-economic conditions of that time and place.


The Bible prophesied accurately that highly educated men and women would scoff at God and His revealed Word.  Although mankind has sneered at God in every generation beginning with Adam, ours was to be the very worst.


The apostle Paul wrote, in Romans 1:21-22, 28:


Romans 1:21,22,28 NKJV


21     because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22     Professing to be wise, they became fools,


28     And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;


Although Paul is speaking specifically about the earliest men, we have not changed for the better.  Mankind’s attitude toward God has become worse.


Since the 17th century, men have produced an amazing stock of knowledge in the industrial and scientific areas.  Yet, pursuing knowledge about God has been left out.  Our generation knows less about God and what God is doing than any prior generation.  We have created a scientific-centric world.  And we have pushed religion, especially Christianity, to the outer fringes of our civilization.


The apostle Paul saw our day and said, in 2 Timothy 3:5,that our end-time religion has a “form of godliness, but that men deny its power.”  Most of the educated people of the world believes that mankind has outgrown the need for God.  God has been made to be powerless.  This fact should alarm us Christians.  It is time we turned back to the all-powerful God.


In 2 Peter 3, the apostle Peter warned us:


2 Peter 3:3, 5-6 (NKJV)


3       knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts,


5       For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,

6       by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.


Peter clearly states that one of the hallmarks of our day is a willing ignorance of God.  The truth is, men could know much more about God but choose not to.  What does this mean?  Peter warns that willing ignorance of God, along with a great expansion in all other fields of knowledge, is the cause of the soon-coming, final global disaster mentioned in the next verse (v7).


2 Peter 3:7 NKJV


7       But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.


Mankind, assuming self-rule without God, will bring itself to the brink of annihilation.  Thankfully, God promises to intervene and stop our self-destruction.


Here are some perfect examples of what Paul and Peter are talking about.  Bertrand Russell, the late British philosopher and avowed agnostic, wrote this in his History of Western Philosophy: “The early history of the Israelites cannot be confirmed from any source outside of the Old Testament, and it is impossible to know at what point it ceases to be purely legendary.”  Mr. Russell dismisses the Bible as unreliable legend in just a few sentences.  Even though first printed in 1945, his book is still widely read by university students, and is considered one of the best books of its kind.  Young, bright minds have been and still are being prejudiced against the Bible, which is the foundation of true knowledge.


So many scholars today lower the Bible to the level of Homer, as mythology in poetic form.  And yet, there are mountains of evidence to prove otherwise.  The Bible is a book of accurate history.  There is evidence outside the Bible that proves the reality of its history.


Every year, in archeological excavations all over the Middle East, hundreds of artifacts are being unearthed showing the accuracy of the Bible.


A few months ago, I received an e-mail from The Times of Israel news organization.  The article’s title was 53 People in the Bible Confirmed ArchaeologicallyIt was also featured in the Biblical Archeological Review magazine.  Most of them are names of kings, priests, high officials.  The article gives information on all 53 people, giving name, where they reigned and where their name is found in Scripture.  And the list segregates them by country.


For many centuries, some scholars looked at the Bible as a collection of myths and fables.  There was absolutely no credible historical information outside the Bible that even mentions names like Noah, Abraham, king David, Jonah, or Solomon.  In the late 19th century, a new systematic study and evaluation of the Middle East began.  Modern archeology was developed in a methodical, systematic process.  It became a new science.


The area in the Middle East, known as the Fertile Crescent drew many to study its history.  Egyptologist James Henry Breasted was the first to use the term, “Fertile Crescent.”  The term was used to describe a lush, well-watered, crescent-shaped geographic region starting at the Persian Gulf moving up the Tigris-Euphrates valley, then westward over Syria and southward along the Mediterranean Sea through Palestine.  Some took the crescent to continue south along the Nile River.


It is in this geographic region that the lands and peoples of the Old Testament history are located.  Now, for nearly two centuries, the Fertile Crescent has been the focus of intense archeological scrutiny.


Before the early 20th century, there was no secular records existing that could give evidence of the Flood, the Exodus, or the lives of David and Solomon.  Many claimed that Moses could never have written the first five books of the Bible, since writing had not been invented at that time.  But when the curious, energetic men and women dug up the past, these commonly held ideas were proved to be without foundation.  Modern archeology has challenged the world of education to admit that the Bible is factual.  Solid documented evidence outside the Bible record confirms events and persons that were at one time considered to be suspect or plain false.


For the rest of our time today, I want to give you just a few examples where evidence has been uncovered that corroborates the Bible record.




The ones I present in our lesson today have not been publicized as some of the more spectacular ones like the Rosetta stone or the tomb of King Tut of ancient Egypt.  And yet, they are momentous in regards to the evaluation of the Bible chronicle.  The site lies along the road that connected the ancient capitals of the kingdoms of Babylonia and Media.  Those capitals cities were Babylon and Ecbatana.


The deciphering of the writing of the Behistun Rock was one of the most remarkable archeological advancements and the most vital to understanding ancient writings in the Fertile Crescent.  The discovery opened the door for archeology to further confirm the Bible’s historical accuracy.


The inscription is like a billboard on the side of a large stone mountain.  The size is enormous, about half the size of a football field, some 300 feet above the foot of Zagros Mountains of western Iran.  The inscription dates to 516 B.C. and is an account of Darius I’s assumption of the Persian throne (521 B.C. to 486 B.C.).  This account was written in cuneiform in three languages (Babylonian, Elamite and Old Persian).  IN 1835, Sir Henry C. Rawlinson copied and began to decipher the text, finishing the Persian translation in 1846.  He and other scholars were soon able to translate the Babylonian and Elamite portions.


Many of the cultures in the Middle east at that time used cuneiform writing, but these works were a mystery until the trilingual Behistun inscriptions was deciphered.  This discovery made possible the translation of other cuneiform writings.


The Behistun breakthrough led to others, including the translation of thousands of tablets at the ruins of Nineveh, Shalmaneser’s Black Obelisk, Sennacheribs’s Prism, and the epic poems of Gilgamesh and Enuma Elish.  The name Darius that is mentioned in this inscription is also mentioned several times by the prophet Daniel.  There were at least 3 kings with that name, so I am not sure if this one is the one named by Daniel.  The Behistun inscription was put in place by Darius I, or Darius the Great.  We know from Scripture that after the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon, Daniel was taken east to Shushan in Persia.  The date of the inscriptions is about 30 years after Babylon was conquered.  If Daniel was still alive, he would have been a very old man.