7 Important Christian Artifacts

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

One would think that, if Christianity were true, if God really exists, and Jesus really did walk the earth, there should be evidence, physical evidence, of this truth. Well, it just so happens that there is physical evidence which corroborates and strengthens the biblical record.  An entire science, archaeology, is dedicated to unearthing our past.  Biblical archaeologists are especially concerned with digging up things that pertain to the Bible.  This article will look at seven of the many finds that support the biblical record; many more could be cited.

The Shroud of Turin

In the 19th century, a man named Segunda Pia took some pictures of the Shroud of Turin.  This shroud is alleged to be the shroud in which Jesus was buried.  When Pia took his pictures, the image of a badly beaten man appeared on the negative.  The odd manner in which this image appeared led many to believe that it was of supernatural origin and sparked speculation that this was indeed the image of our Savior after He had been crucified.  This has led to over a century of studying the Shroud; some believe that it is the image of Jesus, while others maintain reservations.  However, the truth of Christianity does not depend on whether it is or it is not Jesus’ burial shroud.  Biblical scholar Ben Witherington III says, “Naturally, finding an image of Jesus would be the biggest find of any sort relating to the New Testament. But the jury is still out on the Shroud”.[1]

Manuscripts of the Bible

The discovery of more and more copies, and parts of copies, of the biblical manuscript has increased our confidence in the fact that we have, in our Bibles today, the Words that God intended for us to have.  We have around 5,000 manuscripts of parts of manuscripts of the New Testament; the earliest piece is a small portion of John 18 which dates to around A.D. 125.  Because of the material that the original manuscripts were written on, we do not know of any that still exist.  However, by comparing and contrasting these manuscripts copies we do have, we can be assured of having a very accurate copy of those originals. 

The House of Peter

A house, excavated in 1906 and called the “House of Peter” has provided us with very early evidence of the existence of house churches.  These house churches were where, and how, the earliest Christians met right after the time of Christ.  This is right in line with the destinations of Paul’s letters being sent to these house churches.  And it sheds light on just how the early Christian community functioned. 

The Qumran Scrolls

7 Important Christian Artifacts

These scrolls, also known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, were discovered around the vicinity of the Dead Sea beginning in 1946-47.  They contain portions of the Old Testament.  They indirectly shed light on how this particular Jewish sect functioned during the time of Jesus.  One of the major finds within this discovery is a complete copy of the Old Testament book of Isaiah.  It is believed to be the oldest copy of the Book of Isaiah in existence and, once again, confirms that the Bibles we have today have not deviated from the original manuscripts. 

Confirmation of people, and places, mentioned in the Bible

There was a time when the existence of Pontius Pilate, who figured prominently in the crucifixion of Jesus, was doubted.  However, an inscription found in 1962 referring to Pilate as a ‘prefect’ confirms that he was indeed a ruler in Judea for over a decade.  This artifact actually confirms the existence of a New Testament biblical figure.  The existence of Herod can also be substantiated through records and artifacts found which attest to the reality of his having walked this earth.

Many other finds confirm that people, places, and things mentioned in the Bible actually existed, much to the atheist’s chagrin.  Some of these discoveries include the Jewish structures of the first century such as Masada, an ancient Jewish fortification; the Herodium, where Herod built a fortress, a palace, and a small town; and the Temple Mount, the location of the Israelite’s Temple. 

The “Jesus Boat”

In the early 1980’s, a fishing boat, dating from the first century AD, was discovered in the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee.  Discoveries of this type, while not confirming the existence of any specific person, allows us to see how the people lived, and the things that made up their lifestyle during that period of time. 

Dead Men’s Bones

Finds like these also confirm the Roman practice of crucifixion and even provide details of the procedure.  A buried foot, unearthed in 1968, was found with the spike from his crucifixion still embedded; thus giving us a physical example of the way the Bible describes Jesus method of execution. 

The ossuaries, or burial chests, have also been unearthed containing what are believed to be the remains of some people mentioned in the Bible.  The burial box of the high priest of Jesus’ day, Caiaphas, was discovered in the early 1990s. 

It is also believed that the ossuary of James, the brother of Jesus, has been found.  If this is true, it will be the oldest existing evidence of the existence of Jesus and His family.  This ossuary has been dated to within 30 years of Jesus’ death.  This find confirms that Jesus and His family were fully Jewish in religious traditions, it confirms that they spoke Aramaic (the inscription on the ossuary is in Aramaic, not Hebrew).  

If this ossuary is indeed the burial chest of the brother of Jesus, then there is something that needs to be mentioned and thought deeply about.  James is identified as the “Brother of Jesus”.  This is an expression of honor towards his brother.  However, Jesus died a shameful death, in the eyes of many, on a cross.  Therefore, why would James be so proud to be Jesus’ brother that he had His name inscribed on his ossuary so that anyone viewing it would connect the two men?  The Bible’s explanation is that, before James died, he became convinced that Jesus was who He claimed to be, the only begotten Son of God, the Messiah who came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29 ESV).  Being Jesus’ human brother would certainly be something that would make one consider himself to be blessed, wouldn’t it? 

Conclusion

These archaeological discoveries, of which many more could be cited, certainly provide insight and confirmation that what we read in the Bible is Truth.  While it is true that we live by faith; our faith is supported by these, and other, archaeological finds.  There will never be any find that, when correctly interpreted, contradicts anything recorded in God’s Word, the Bible.

However, when one accepts the Truth of the Bible, his or her heart is so touched by the Holy Spirit that physical evidence is merely the icing on the cake.  The Holy Spirit assures us that the biblical record is true and that we have been forgiven of our sin, and accepted as righteous in God’s eyes, because Jesus Christ paid for our sins on a cross.  That is the Truth to which these artifacts witness.

More reading: Is There Evidence That A Global Flood in the Days of Noah Really Occurred?

Resources – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. [1] http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/septemberweb-only/9-22-21.0.html?paging=off

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Miller April 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Awesome article, Robert! I became interested in apologetics early on in my faith, and though my passion for that field of study isn’t as strong as it once was, I still enjoy reading things like this. Thanks for sharing! Also, great name you have there.

Reply

Robert May 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Thank you Robert,
I am proud to share a name with you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

DocReits April 21, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Thank you for the good article Robert,

The frustrating part is when I ask my atheist friends what it would take for them to believe, they answer as one, “nothing would make me believe”.

It leaves me somewhat dumbstruck, but then I remember Jesus’s own words, in Abraham’s mouth, ” neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”(Lk 16:31).

Blessings,

DocReits

Reply

Robert May 1, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Hi Doc,
Thanks once again for reading and commenting. Your atheist friends underestimate the power of God, methinks.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

Mr A Cotton May 17, 2014 at 2:54 pm

You are quite Robert about the evidence that has been found today to support some things that happened in the bible.
One key one when divers went down to the bottom of the Red Sea to see what they could find about where Gods chosen people crossed the Red Sea.
After a while on the bottom they came across some articles they found,and went to back up to the top to have a good look at what they found.
They were amazed when they found what were parts of an Egyptian chariot wheel,and bits of weapons to prove that God did part the Red Sea,and crashed it back together again destroying the Egyptian soldiers.
Sodom and Gormorah has quite a bit of evidence that God destroyed them both.
Buildings and other structures that have turned into Pumice with when opened there is Sulphur,and it still burns through another substance. Pumice is mentioned a lot.
Their is no plant life at all with the road running along side to it with hardly any traffic at all.
No hotels or modern buildings of any sort are there. It`s like a desert.
Then the Rock that Moses cracked that water came gushing out to give water to the people. This is in Saudi Arabia surrounded by barb wire,and people are not allowed to be there. This one could be disputed.

Reply

phil July 6, 2015 at 3:02 pm

All of them beautiful. Really faith-renewing. thanks for posting.

Reply

Aiseosa igiebor October 31, 2016 at 4:18 am

Thanks for this faith lifting episode. I love my Jesus he is to faithful to fail. Thanks lord God for giving us this amazing son of yours. Thank you Jesus again and again and again.

Reply

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