Goliath's skull is found. The final resting place of Noah's ark discovered. There have been some wild archaeological claims over the years. I also know there have been some credible and helpful finds in biblical archaeology, but I'll admit that I cautiously and rarely cite archaeology (or statistics) in my preaching. But now, I'm challenged to reconsider archaeology in sermons. Here's why...
Statistics can be manipulated and interpreted to convey what we want. In fact, only 10% of the statistics cited on blogs are real. ;)) In seriousness, while I have found helpful information about archaeology in my own reading and research, I've cautiously cited it because archaeology can interpret much from so little evidence. I would hate to cite a finding to support something I am teaching only to later discover that finding was wrong.
Dr. Chet Roden at Liberty University has challenged my concern and encouraged me to understand archaeology a bit better. I was with Dr. Roden at the Tel Gezer dig and he led one of the lectures on the subject of archaeology. I came away with this conclusion: There is the field of archaeology and also the field of biblical interpretation. We must know enough about both fields to appreciate how they work and at certain points these fields will converge.
What do we do when the archaeological evidence does not match the biblical narratives? Dr. Roden challenged us to decide which we would trust most: the current archaeological evidence or Scripture. Of course, there is archaeological evidence that has yet to be discovered and some ancient evidence has been lost forever, so archaeology cannot provide the whole picture. Like Dr. Roden, I trust Scripture first. Over the past three years, I read of archaeological evidence that confirms several portions of Scripture, but at the end of the day, the Bible doesn't need to be "proven."
God's word does not need to be defended, but it does need to be obeyed. What God has done in my own life through His word is evidence enough for me. I have been radically changed and blessed by how God has acted in my life and I know many others who have experienced the same. I have experienced the freedom of His truth (John 8:31-32).