A "fairy tale"? I beg to differ.......
The external evidences of the Bible, that is, evidences found outside the Bible.
The first external evidence is the indestructibility of the Bible. The Bible is the most well-known book in the history of the world, and no book has been attacked more than it. Skeptics have tried to destroy the authority of the Bible for the last eighteen hundred years. It has undergone every kind of scrutiny possible from archaeology, science, philosophy, and computers. Yet, despite all these attacks, the Bible proves itself to be true again and again. Each time the skeptics have been wrong, and the Bible has proven itself true. Just the fact that the Bible has remained steadfast in its authority after two thousand years is another piece of evidence supporting its divine origin.
The second source of external evidence comes from archaeology. Middle Eastern archaeological investigations have proven the Bible to be true and unerringly accurate in its historical descriptions. Nelson Glueck, a renowned Jewish archaeologist, states, "No archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.''(2)
Dr. William Albright, who was not a friend of Christianity and was probably the foremost authority in Middle East archaeology in his time, said this about the Bible: "There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of the Old Testament."(3)
Here are a couple of examples of the historical accuracy of the Bible. A good example is found in Genesis 14. The Bible speaks of Abraham's victory over Chedorlaomer and five Mesopotamian kings. For years, the critics stated that these accounts were fictitious and many people discredited the Bible. In the 1960s, however, the Ebla tablets were discovered in northern Syria. The Ebla kingdom was a powerful kingdom in the twentieth century B.C. The Ebla tablets are records of its history. Thousands of tablets have been discovered. What is important is that many of these tablets make a reference to all five cities of the plain proving the Genesis 14 account to be accurate.(4)
Another example is the story of Jericho recorded in the book of Joshua. For years skeptics thought the story of the falling walls of Jericho was a myth. However, in the 1930s, Dr. John Garstang made a remarkable discovery. He states, "As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely, the attackers would be able to clamber up and over the ruins of the city." This is remarkable because city walls fall inward, not outward.(5)
The March 5, 1990 issue of Time magazine featured an article called, "Score One For the Bible." In it, archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon claimed Jericho's walls had fallen suddenly. Many scholars feel this was caused by an earthquake which may also explain the damming of the Jordan. Additionally, grain was discovered, which shows the city was conquered quickly. This find adds credence to the biblical account. Further study by Brian Wood found the date of the fall of Jericho to match the Bible's date.(6)
Here are just two great examples of archaeology authenticating the historical reliability of the Bible. No book is as ancient, and at the same time, as convincingly accurate as the Bible.
Indestructibility and archaeology are two external evidences for the Bible.
There are many more external evidences for the Bible, but I'll just cover one more: evidence from prophecy. The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies which have come to pass. No book in history has ever come close to the Bible when it comes to fulfillment of prophecy.
The prophecies in the Bible are very specific and accurate. Nostradamus claims to have made hundreds of prophecies that have come true, but if you read his prophecies, you will find them to be vague and unclear. His symbols and language can be taken to mean a number of historical events. Unlike many such prophecies, biblical prophecy is very specific.
Here are some examples. In Ezekiel 26, which was written in 587 B.C., Ezekiel prophesies that the mighty city of Tyre would be destroyed. Tyre was made up of two parts, a mainland port city and an island city half a mile off shore. Ezekiel predicted mainland Tyre would be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, many nations would fight against her, the debris of the city would be thrown into the ocean, the city would never be found again, and fishermen would come there to lay their nets.
In 573 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland city of Tyre. Many of the refugees of the city sailed to the island and the island city of Tyre remained a powerful city. In 333 B.C., however, Alexander the Great laid siege to Tyre. Using the rubble of mainland Tyre, he built a causeway to the island city of Tyre. He then captured and completely destroyed the city.
Today, Tyre is a small fishing town where fishing boats come to rest and fisherman spread their nets. The great ancient city of Tyre to this day lies buried in ruins exactly as prophesied. If we were to calculate the odds of this event happening by chance, the figures would be astronomical. No, it was not by coincidence.(7)
Here's another example. There are over three hundred prophecies made of Jesus in the Old Testament. Prophecies such as His place of birth, how he would die, His rejection by the nation of Israel, and so on. All these prophecies were made hundreds of years before Jesus ever came to earth. Because of the accuracy of the prophecies, many skeptics have believed that they must have been written after 70 A.D.--after the birth and death of Jesus, and the destruction of Jerusalem. They have thereby tried to deny that they are even prophecies.
However, in 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. These scrolls contained the book of Isaiah and other prophetic books. When dated, they were found to be written from 120 to 100 B.C.,(8) well before Jesus was born. It would have been an incredible accomplishment for Jesus to have fulfilled all three hundred prophecies. Some say these prophecies were fulfilled by chance, but the odds for this would be exceptionally large. It would take more faith to believe in that chance happening than in the fact that Jesus is God and these prophecies are divinely inspired.(9)
No book can match the Bible when it comes to prophecy. Understand that I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds of additional proofs for the Bible, yet I have only mentioned a few. I hope this study has aroused your interest to further study the Word of God.
© 1991 Probe Ministries
1. Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict (San Bernardino: Here's Life Publishers,1979), 17.
2. Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert: A History of the Negev (New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Cudahy, 1959), 31.
3. William F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (Baltimore: John Hopkins, 1953), 176.
4. Merrill Unger, Unger's Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody, 1971), 330.
5. John Garstang, The Foundations of Bible History; Joshua, Judges (London: Constable, 1931), 146.
6. Michael Lemonick, "Score One for the Bible," Time, 5 March 1990, 59.
7. Ralph H. Alexander, "Ezekiel," in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), 869.
8. Unger, 291-292.
9. McDowell, 167.