The Value and Limitations of Archaeology (Part 6) (The Covenant & the Cross #11)

We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Joshua 1:8 which reads: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from R. C. Sproul. He said: “Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy.”

Today, we are going to continue our overview of some topics that will help us as we study the Bible throughout future episodes.

Our topic for today is titled: “The Value and Limitations of Archaeology (Part 5)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Michael A. Harbin.

Today, let’s consider The Problem of History.

Even when we have historical documents, we encounter a number of problems. One of the biggest is that what the contemporaries thought was important does not always correlate to what we think is important, for we have knowledge of subsequent events. As a result, the lives of many persons who turned out to have been significant are poorly documented. And for the most part, the figures we read about in the Bible were not the movers and shakers of their day. For example, while Abraham was rich, he was not in charge of a nation nor did he lead large armies. Likewise, Jesus really had a small following and a limited ministry in His lifetime. It was not until after His death that the true significance of His life began to be felt.

I have stated that I intend to take the historical approach. Thus, I need to explain what is meant by “history.” For a working definition, history is the recording of eyewitness accounts of events in written form. History begins with writing, and so any culture that does not record its events in written language is by definition prehistorical, regardless of when the people lived. Thus, we have prehistoric people even today in some of the more remote places of the world.

This principle also gives us our basis for defining civilization. Usually the concept of civilization is predicated on the knowledge of writing. As such, we find that civilization (and history) began no earlier than 3200 – 3100 BC in Sumer at the mouth of the Tigris-Euphrates Rivers. Virtually all scholars agree on this point.


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