Sought-after New Testament expert, teacher, and author, Dr. Craig Evans, talks with Dr. Jeremiah Johnston about the important evidences of the Bible and Christian faith found in archeological discoveries.
Johnston emphasizes the importance of not neglecting the past as a whole. “I fear we are becoming an ahistorical culture. History adds value, meaning, beauty, and justice to our lives. We have so much information and yet so little wisdom” without the lessons of history, he says.
In not-so-distant history, a person in the West was considered uneducated without some knowledge of the Bible. That notion has changed, but knowledge of Scripture remains the beginning of wisdom.
Evans iterates the value of the Bible for today. “There’s this notion out there that the Bible is an outdated book. The Bible ties into and contributes to history and is informed by history,” he says. “It comes as a surprise to many that archeologists use the Bible as a very important source. In fact, it’s the number one source. The Bible helps archeologists know where to dig and how to interpret where they dig.”
Evans sheds light on biblical passages such as the resurrection of Lazarus that become more rich and easier to understand when a person knows the historical and cultural framework behind them. Likewise, artifacts uncovered are affirming the people and accounts found in the Old Testament and New Testament.
“Archeology can prove that the historical narratives in the Bible are talking about real people, places, and events,” Evans explains. “Archeology provides us with vital background information so that we can understand the Bible.”
While archeology cannot prove there is a God or exhibit the resurrection of Jesus, it can support the claims of Scripture and bring clarity to biblical texts. For Evans and Johnston, the importance lies in the truths to which the evidence points. Belief in the Jesus of the Bible is supported by numerous archeological finds. More historical treasures are being discovered as skeptics and faithful alike acknowledge their significance.
Dr. Craig Evans is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins for Houston Baptist University. He is an expert on the historical grounds of New Testament writings. Dr. Evans has published more than 600 scholarly studies, including more than 80 books. His book, “Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels,” is a best-seller.