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Don Stewart :: Why Should the Historical Background of the Bible Be Studied?

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Don Stewart

In what ways does the study of history help with understanding the Bible? Can it be help for us? Should we take the time to find out the results of historical investigation?

It Is Helpful In Many Ways

There are at least five ways in which the study of the background of the Bible can be of help to the Bible student.

1. There Are Many References To Historical Events

First, the entire biblical revelation centers on what God has done in history. For example, one chapter in Scripture, Genesis 10, has five times more specific geographical references of importance than the entire Koran, the holy book of Islam!

In addition, there are over 300 references in the Book of Acts alone to names, places, and events. With so much attention to detail, the historical reliability of the Scriptures is of vital importance. If the Bible is the Word of God, then it must be able to withstand the most thorough historical investigation.

2. It Is Important To See If The Bible Is Factual

The study of history, and its related fields, gives us a means to check up and see if the Bible is factual. The Biblical faith is not a "blind faith"-it claims to record the works of God in history. Since the Bible itself makes the claim to record events that have happened in history, we should see how it matches up with the secular evidence. This can be done by comparing what the Scripture says to the known facts of history.

It Is Popular To Believe The Scriptures Are In Error

It is popular in many circles to believe that the Bible is no longer authoritative and that the God of the Bible never did exist. Modern historical study has supposedly refuted the historical accuracy and uniqueness of the Bible. It is argued that when one learns what the facts really are, it is not possible to intelligently believe the Bible is God's Word or that the God of the Bible is there.

This Is Not The Case

Although this is a popular idea, it is not the case at all. While there are people with religious training coming forward and announcing to the world that modern humankind cannot trust the Bible, or believe in the existence of God of the Bible, it is not based upon any newly discovered historical facts. To the contrary, the more we learn about the ancient world, the more we find that the Bible gives a precise picture of people and events.

3. This Places The Events In Sharper Focus

Looking at the subject of Biblical history can place the events in the Bible in sharper focus. By understanding the background we can better assess the Biblical story and its meaning.

4. It Can Help Solves Problems

Studying the biblical background can help solve problems that occur in Scripture. An understanding of the customs, language, geography, and politics of the day can help understand certain difficult sayings and events.

5. It Can Fill In The Gaps

Gaps in the biblical records can be filled in by a study of the background history. Since the Scriptures are selective in what they record, a study of the background can help fill in the gaps.


The study of the historical background of the Scripture is essential in confirming the truth of the Biblical record, along with clearing up certain difficulties that arise in the text. Background studies also help with our interpretation of Scripture-giving us a better understanding of times and customs when these events transpired. For these reasons, the study of the background of Scripture is essential for our learning more about the Bible.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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