Biblical Archeology

The archaeological investigations of the Bible lands during the last 150 years have reopened the history of the past.

SIEGFRIED H. HORN, Professor of Archeology and History of Antiquity, SDA Theological Seminary

Archeology, ancient history, and the geography of the Bible lands have become important auxiliary sciences for the study of the Bible. During the Middle Ages ministers were trained almost exclusively in sacred theology and philosophy. The Reformers, however, feeling that this training was insufficient, began to place also a strong emphasis on a thorough understanding of the Bible text, and therefore required that ministers should be acquainted with the Biblical languages, Hebrew and Greek. During the last century new disciplines have been added to those in which a minister must be at home, to which belong a knowledge of the historical backgrounds of Bible times and of the cultural, reli­gious, topographical, and climatological environments. A minister who has spent no time in studying these auxiliary sciences cannot lay claim to a rounded-out theological education.

The archeological investigations of the Bible lands during the last 150 years have reopened the history of the past, and have brought to light the religions and cultures of many nations of antiquity. We know now how the people of Bible times were dressed, what they ate, how they spent their days, what kind of furni­ture, musical instruments, and weapons they used. Also we have become familiar with their hopes and fears, their beliefs and concepts, that influenced their lives from the cradle to the grave. Many inscribed and uninscribed monuments have been found in the various Bible lands, covered up by the dust and debris of ages. They have shed light on the Bible and have confirmed many historical passages. Ancient Biblical manuscripts have also been discovered, such as the famous Dead Sea scrolls or the Chester Beatty papyri, which have provided evi­dence that the Bible text has been faithfully transmitted through the centuries. Most of this material is housed in great collections in famous museums of the Old World, including those of the Bible lands, for which reason one can get a firsthand acquaintance with these discoveries only by visiting the lands in which these collections are found.

Bible teachers and ministers alike teach, lecture, and preach all their lives about countries that most of them know only from books or other secondary sources. Since it is difficult without a firsthand acquaintance with the Bible lands to obtain a true picture of life in the Orient, so different from that to which Western man is accustomed, mistaken views can easily slip into lectures and sermons. On the other hand, the presentation of Biblical truth can gain much in forcefulness and conviction if all historical, geographical, or archeological facts used in its presentation are accurate and based on firsthand observations and on an intimate acquaintance with them. These are some of the reasons why a visit to the Bible lands can be a great inspiration to Christian ministers and teachers. Many denominations have recognized the value of such pilgrimages and have sponsored tours for their ministers under qualified guides.

The 1957 Guided Tour to Western Europe and the Bible lands conducted by the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary was planned in such a way that the participating Bible teachers and ministers would have a maximum opportunity for studying the results of the archeological work carried out in the various Bible lands, and to obtain a firsthand knowledge of the countries and places in which Bible history was made. Before the tour began, the participants gathered in Washington, D.C., for an orientation week of intensive study in preparation for their trip. During the actual tour, which then lasted for nine weeks, many famous museums of antiquity in Europe and the Near East were visited, some time was spent in all major Bible lands, and many of those ancient places were visited that played a significant role in Bible history or prophecy.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

SIEGFRIED H. HORN, Professor of Archeology and History of Antiquity, SDA Theological Seminary

January 1958

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

From the Thames to the Tigris

The wonderful insights from our recent Seminary Guided Tour to Europe and the Bible lands.

Viewing Archeological Treasures in European Museums

How our visits to many various museums in Europe shed light on the Bible and strengthened our faith.

We Saw Sinai

Climbing Mt. Sinai and revisiting that ancient way.

Pompeii an Example of the End of the World

A look at the location of Pompeii and how it relates to the end of the world.

Tyre and Sidon

Our great interest in the ancient cities of Tyre and Sidon, always mentioned together in the Gospels, is fixed largely by the specific prophecies of Ezekiel about Tyre. We Chris­tians use this city as a dramatic exhibit of di­vine predictions fulfilled.

A View of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Khirbet Qumran is situated in one of the most unlovely spots in the world, the arid, uninhabited wilderness north and west of the Dead Sea. That was the unanimous opin­ion of the members of the Seminary Guided Tour who spent three hours on a fiercely hot day last July scrambling over the ruins of this ancient Essene community.

Questions on Doctrine

Does this new book represent the work of one man or the combined work of a large representative body?

Cities of Prophecy

Our adventure through old Babylon.

Our New Baby!

Who is the Adventist Shepherdess?

Our Declaration of Fundamental Beliefs

When did we first officially adopt our "Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists"?

Discovering Interest in Our Church Services

With the exception of the introductory quotation from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the following references are translations from authentic Portuguese works carefully preserved in the libraries of Portugal. They indicate how difficult it was to substitute pouring and sprin­kling in place of immersion as the accepted mode of this ordinance of the Christian church.

Polytheism as Expressed by the Serapeum

The Serapeum, or subterranean Apis tombs, is today hardly discernible above the desert waste under which it lies. But it's history is very revealing.

Comments on Baptism From Portuguese Sources

A problem that confronts all progressive Seventh-day Adventist churches is to be­come acquainted with the stranger that is within our midst.

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - Southern Adv Univ 180x150 - Animated

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - NAD Stewardship (160x600)