Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Outward Evidences of Inspiration

The Bible claims inspiration for itself. Paul proclaimed in his second letter to Timothy, “All Scripture {is} given by inspiration of God, and {is} profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (3:16-17).

One of the reasons we can have confidence in this assertion is that the Bible is continually validated both historically and geographically by archaeological discoveries. I thought it would be interesting to share a few of these with you. All quotations will be taken from a book entitled The New Testament Documents – Are They Reliable? by F.F. Bruce.

The Middle Wall of Division

Scripture reveals that Gentiles were not allowed to enter beyond the outer court of the temple, as they were considered unclean. You may recall that Luke records a near riot which ensued when the Jews were under the impression that Paul had taken Gentiles into the inner areas of the temple, (Acts 21:27-ff). Apparently, the Roman authorities, in an attempt to curry the favor of the Jews in Jerusalem, had warnings posted in both Greek and Latin, warning the Gentiles not to pass beyond the outer court. As Bruce states, “One of these Greek inscriptions, found at Jerusalem in 1871 by C.S. Clermont-Ganneau, is now housed in Istanbul, and reads as follows: ‘No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the temple and enclosure. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to thank for his ensuing death'” (pg. 93). This helps to shine a light of understanding upon Paul’s statement, penned in Ephesians 2:14, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division {between us}.”

The Pool of Bethesda

The pool of Bethesda is mentioned in an account of one of Jesus’ healings, in John 5. Take the time to read verses 2 and following, and compare closely with this passage from Bruce’s book:

“The pool of Bethesda, described in John 5:2, has been located in the north-east quarter of the old city of Jerusalem, the quarter which was called Bezetha, or ‘New Town’ in the first century AD. In 1888 excavations near St. Anne’s Church, in that quarter, revealed the remains of an ancient church building. Beneath this lay a crypt, with its north wall divided into five compartments in imitation of arches; on this wall there could also be distinguished traces of an old fresco representing the angel troubling the water. Clearly those who built this structure believed that it marked the site of the pool of Bethesda. And subsequent excavations below the crypt showed that they were right; a flight of steps was uncovered leading down to a pool with five shallow porticoes on its north side, directly underneath the five imitation arches on the north wall of the crypt. There are few sites in Jerusalem, mentioned in the Gospels, which can be identified so confidently” (pg. 94).

Zeus and Hermes

In Acts 14:11-12, Luke records, “Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian {language}, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.” Interestingly, archaeological discoveries have lent credence to this account, revealing that the Lystra area commonly worshiped these two pagan deities. The following Bruce quote is revealing: “But more precise evidence of the joint worship of these two deities in the vicinity of Lystra was found in 1910, when Sir William Calder discovered an inscription of c. AD 250 at Sedasa near Lystra, recording the dedication to Zeus of a statue of Hermes along with a sundial by men with Lycaonian names, and again in 1926, when the same scholar, along with Professor W.H. Buckler, discovered a stone altar near Lystra dedicated to the ‘Hearer of Prayer’ (presumably Zeus) and Hermes.”

These are just a few, relatively minor examples of archaeological discoveries which confirm the veracity of God’s word. Many others could be cited, but these suffice to show that the New Testament is an accurate historical and geographical document. There is no documented inconsistency or mistake to be found anywhere in the New Testament. There are many today who assault the word of God, claiming it to be the work of fallible men. Their feeble attempts fall uselessly upon the anvil of truth. Our faith is based upon unassailable evidence. The Bible is the inspired word of God!