The Bible as History

When we use the term history, we use it in two senses: what really happened in the past, or about what happened in the past. The Bible in one way or another fits these terms since it asserts certain facts or events that occurred in the past. The question becomes, did these events occur and in the way the Bible presents them?

 The main purpose of the Bible is to identify how God interacts with humans and their affairs; who God is and His purposes, and the results of our obedience and disobedience to His purpose. Luke (Luke 1:4) was aware of this historical purpose when he wrote, "That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed."

 There is not enough room in this article to examine the evidence that is continually being uncovered. These sources and documents provide new historical insights that complement the Old and New Testament record. I refer the reader to sources that examine these historical facts in great detail. Just a few of these sources are: 1. Rivers In The Desert by N. Glueck; 2. St. Paul the Traveler and the Roman Citizen by W. M. Ramsay; 3. Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament by A. N. Sherwin-White; 4. Rocks, Relics and Biblical Reliability by C. A. Wilson; 5. The Stones and the Scriptures by E. Yamauchi.

 The believer cannot maintain that the spiritual truths in the Bible are valid if the Bible does not speak truthfully about the physical world. Truth corresponds to reality while error does not correspond to reality. We cannot believe the spiritual revelations are true if the historical events are not true. Jesus often used historical Biblical events to compare to His spiritual teaching. Examples of this are Jonah and the great fish (Matthew 12:40), Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37-39), and Adam and Eve (Mark 10:6).

 In conclusion, those readers who embrace the spiritual truths while discarding the historicity of the Bible must answer the question that Jesus put to Nicodemus in John 3:12, "If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" What will you say to Jesus?


Charles Royal, Decatur AL