God has preserved two records of his dealings with mankind throughout history. The one, breathed through the pens of men born along by the Holy Spirit, is the inspired Scriptures.
The other, etched in strange tongues and found midst the rubble and ruined remains of ancient civilizations, recounts to us the wars and treaties, religions and laws, political alliances and languages of peoples of the past.
The science of discovering, deciphering and critically evaluating this second record to understand better the life and times of ancient men is called archeology.
The study of the past is no new pursuit. We find records of Babylonian and Assyrian kings who were avid collectors of what were to them ancient libraries. Nebuchadnezzar even designed a palace museum to house “statues, inscribed stones, and other relics from the past.”
Though Biblical archaeology is a comparatively new field of study, it has made tremendous contributions to our understanding of Scripture. This paper examines the three primary areas which Biblical archaeology illuminates: cultural background, linguistics, and historical setting.