The devotionals recently have aimed at strengthening your faith and I hope God has used them to that end. We have a few more to go in this vein. Today’s devotional shows how archaeology led one man from thinking Luke-Acts was worthless as history to thinking Luke was the most accurate historian in the ancient world. God bless you.
Because of Calvary,
Psalm 19:7-14 (ESV)
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
When Sir William Ramsay (1851-1939) began his archaeological work in Asia Minor, there was much to do. “There did not exist at that time any trustworthy map of the country in its ancient or even in its modern state. The situation of a few important ancient cities in inner Asia Minor was known…but occasionally doubts were expressed even as to the correctness of the site ascribed to one or the other of them. About their history, their foundation, fortunes, and decay, hardly anything was known…. The inadequacy, the inaccuracy, and the frequent lack of information in the modern works on ancient geography made it necessary as a first step to read afresh all the original authorities, and to find others hitherto unnoticed…. Among other old books that described journeys in Asia Minor the Acts of the Apostles had to be read anew. I began to do so without expecting any information of value regarding the condition of Asia Minor at the time when Paul was living. I had read a good deal of modern criticism about the book, and dutifully accepted the current opinion that it was written during the second half of the second century by an author who wished to influence the minds of people in his own time by a highly wrought and imaginative description of the early Church… He cared nought for geographical or historical surroundings of the period A.D. 30 to 60. He thought only of the period A.D. 160-180, and how he might paint the heroes of old time in situations that should touch the conscience of his contemporaries.” [Sir William Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1915), p. 35-38]
The result of his studies? “The present writer takes the view that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness” [Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, p. 81]. “You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment, provided always that the critic knows the subject and does not go beyond the limits of science and justice.” [Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, p. 89]