Archaeology in the New Testament


     Like archaeology does for the Old Testament, it helps us confirm the historical accuracy of the New Testament. The New Testament covers the years from about 7BC-96AD. There is abundant archaeological evidences during this time period. Sir William Ramsey, the great archaeologist in the late 19th & early 20th centuries, set out to prove Luke wrong. Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts. After 30 years of in-depth archaeological research, Ramsey completely changed his mind. Expecting he would disprove large portions of Luke-Acts, the academic world was shocked by his conclusion. Ramsey’s research confirmed Luke-Acts historical accuracy. As a result of his research, Ramsey became a Christian.

     There are many traditional sites in Israel that relate to the time of Jesus: the Church of the Annunciation, the birthplace of John the Baptist, the Church of the Nativity (Jesus’ birthplace), where Jesus was baptized, Peter’s house in Capernaum, the Upper Room, the Church of the Multiplication (where Jesus feed the 5,000), etc.
Then there are the actual cities and places: Caesarea-the Roman capital of Palestine, the Mount of Olives, the Jerusalem Temple, the Garden of Gethsemane, Philippi, Miletus, the whole Galilee region, Ephesus, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Thessalonica, the cities in  northern Palestine like Tyre, Sidon, Nazareth, etc.

     In 1990, construction workers broke thru to a burial cave that has been sealed up since Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD. They found an ossuary with the name Caiaphas on it. That inscription, along with other inscriptions of family members in this tomb, identified it as Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest who plotted against Jesus.

The pool of Bethesda (in John 5:2) was found in 1888.

Other burial ossuaries were found near Jerusalem were found with the mark of the cross and various prayers to Jesus on them. This showed that the followers of Jesus saw His death on the cross as significant and that He was God.

     During an excavation in Caesarea, a slab was found dedicating the theater with Pontius Pilate’s name on it. In 1945, archaeologists discovered two 1st century ossuaries outside of Jerusalem that were marked with crosses and the following words; “Jesus, help” on one and “Jesus, let him arise” on the other. Experts date these 2 ossuaries to about 50AD. It’s conceivable these people were eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. Just recently, the ossuary of James, the brother of Jesus, was found. It read, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.

     The New Testament is so well documented. For further proof, read the booklet, “Can Archaeology Prove the New Testament?” by Ralph O. Muncaster and “New Evidence That Demands A Verdict” by Josh MacDowell and “Archaeology and the New Testament” by John McRay. While there is much in the Bible that archaeology hasn’t proved or discovered yet, there is much that it has. New discoveries are being made every year that support the Bible.

Website References:

Book references:
“Charts of Apologetics and Christian Evidences” by H. Wayne House & Joseph M. Holden
“The Popular Handbook of Archaeology and the Bible” by Joseph M. Holden & Norman Geisler

For His Kingdom,
Dave Maynard