Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Historical Reliability of the Old Testament III


We can now conclude that, based on the results of the three tests, the OT can be accepted as historically reliable. A similar analysis would also affirm the historical reliability of the NT. We must be careful of critical arguments that seem credible only because they put the burden of proof on the Bible. It is this kind of unfair treatment of an ancient document, where there are no living witnesses to defend it, that the three tests are meant to prevent. To deny the benefit of the doubt to the Bible but not to other ancient documents is to practice double standards. To reject the Biblical account on the basis of the miracles recorded is to move the debate from history to philosophy, and presumes an outmoded philosophical view.

The Bible should all the more be deemed “innocent until proven guilty,” because this principle is used even in a court of law where living witnesses are available to defend the accused. The Bible presents historical facts to communicate a theological message. The facts and the message stand or fall together. Since the message has eternal implications, a wrong verdict on the Bible has far more serious consequences that a wrong verdict in a court of law.

The purpose of this essay is obviously not intended to be the final word on the subject, especially in regards to archaeological evidence. It is to sensitize Christians to the unfair approaches critical scholars often use to attack the historical reliability of the Bible, all in the name of “objective (read modernist) scholarship.”

Select Bibliography

Geisler, Norman L. and William E. Nix. A General Introduction to the Bible. Revised and Expanded. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.

Krahmalkov, Charles R. “Exodus Itinerary Confirmed by Egyptian Evidence.” Biblical Archaeology Review 20.5 (Sept./Oct. 1994): 54-62, 79.

McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers: 1999.

Wood, Bryant G. “Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? A New Look at the Evidence.” Biblical Archaeology Review 16.2 (Mar./Apr. 1990): 44-58.

--------. “Dating Jericho’s Destruction: Bienkowski Is Wrong on All Counts.” Biblical Archaeology Review 16.5 (Sept./Oct. 1990): 45-49, 68-69.

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