Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Value of Biblical Archaeology

What is the value of archaeology to a Bible reader? Gary D. Myers provides his perspective in a Baptist Press article.

This leads some to ask why biblical archaeology is important to Christians. For me, an archaeologist-in-training with only four digs under his belt, the answer is context and a love for Scripture. I think the same can be said for travel in the Bible lands.

Archaeology and Bible lands travel create a framework for more informed, thoughtful study of the Bible. For me, there are great reasons for evangelical Christians to keep digging.

As a child attending First Baptist Church in Calvin, Okla., my image of the Holy Land looked like eastern Oklahoma, filled with rolling hills and oak trees. As I read the Bible, I pictured what was familiar to me. The Jordan River looked like the South Canadian River. I imagined David picking up smooth stones from a brook similar to Sandy Creek near my home. Later, as I saw photographs of biblical places and terrain, my contextual understanding grew.

Then in 2005, I took my first trip to Israel.

I expected the trip to be a spiritual mountaintop experience and it was in some ways. But, as I visited the places where Jesus walked, the Old Testament cities and Jerusalem, it was the lay of the land and the ruins that made an impression on me. It was real to me in a new way. Travel like this creates a framework for study of the Bible. Archaeology exposes ancient ruins and provides clues to the way people lived so we can better understand the cultures and people mentioned in the text.

The article continues here.

Gezer watersystem, tb070506104

Gezer water system
Photo from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands

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