4 Reasons Archaeology Cannot Prove the Bible

Rusty Osborne | March 14, 2017

Each fall I look forward to reading the press releases from major excavations in and around Israel summing up their summer seasons. Last fall did not disappoint. Reports included discoveries of a cultic, idol-desecrating toilet linked to the reign of King Hezekiah, a Philistine cemetery from the ancient city of Gath, and a palace structure linked to the time of King Solomon.

With finds like these, it’s tempting for those in the media (and those reading the mainstream press releases) to start using terminology like “this may prove the Bible is true.” While serving as highly effective conservative Christian clickbait, this isn’t a helpful way for Christians to talk about the relationship between biblical archaeology and the biblical witness.

Here are four factors highlighting why we shouldn’t say the finds of biblical archaeology can—or even may—prove the Bible.

1. The goal of biblical archaeology is not to prove the Bible.

What makes biblical archeology “biblical”? Whether or not archaeology is biblical isn’t based on the conclusions of the excavation but on the questions prompting the research in the first place. Biblical archaeology uses the same methods as all archaeologists; the difference is the subject matter. Kenneth Kitchen long ago argued that biblical archaeology…

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