Backgrounders on the Bible through Biblical Archaeology


Taking Every Chance I Get to Talk About Biblical Archaeology

eric metaxas

Eric Metaxas

Several weeks ago I did an interview about biblical archaeology with author Eric Metaxas for his radio program. Today I heard from Albin, the producer: “We are planning to run your terrific interview with Eric in Hour 2 of tomorrow’s (Friday’s) show… starting at 3pm ET. You can follow the links on the website to listen:

The podcast will then (after 6 pm ET) be posted in the podcast section:

Spread the word, far and wide!”

I am so pleased to have this opportunity to talk about Biblical Archaeology with a new audience. I’m actually a regular listener to Eric’s podcast. If you’re a podcast devotee, I would recommend Eric’s interviews with Hugh Ross, Michael Heiser, Mary Neal, and Dwight Longenecker. You will be amazed.


1604-1605 Mark Fairchild – Laodicea, City of Revelation

Mark Fairchild

Mark Fairchild

February 2018 marks 35 years for The Book & The Spade radio program. One of my memories of the early years was a discussion of the Seven Cities of Revelation where it was reported that all of them had been archaeologically excavated except for Laodicea.

Well, for the past two decades, Laodicea has been excavated. As Revelation acknowledges, it was a very rich city. And that is seen in the results of the excavations.

Mark Fairchild, Professor of Bible and Religion at Huntington University, travels to Turkey every year and has watched the excavation of Laodicea from the beginning. He wrote about the Laodicean ruins in Biblical Archaeology Review last year and he joins our program to bring us up to date on what’s happening in Laodicea and the surrounding area of western Turkey (the Province of Asia in biblical times).

1276-1277 John Walton – The Lost World of Genesis One

John Walton

John Walton

In a few weeks I’ll be starting a Genesis Bible study, so I thought it would be good to review this 2011 interview I did with John Walton.

Walton suggests that the best way to look at the first couple chapters of Genesis is from the perspective of the ancient cultures that surrounded ancient Israel: Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, etc. Genesis was written in a way that not only the Israelites but also these cultures could understand. He also observes that the Bible was written for us but not to us.

If you would like to hear more from John Walton, there are videos available on YouTube.  And his book, The Lost World of Genesis One, is available from InterVarsity Press.

1603 Remembering Lawrence Stager

Lawrence Stager

Lawrence Stager

Lawrence Stager was one of the pre-eminent American scholars in Biblical Archaeology. He was the Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard Semitic Museum. He passed away at the end of 2017, just seven days short of his 75th birthday.

His most enduring legacy will be the Leon Levy expedition to Ashkelon, which he began in 1985 and directed until it ended in 2016.

We did a phone interview in 1992 with professor Stager in which he gave a status report on the Ashkelon excavation, including the discovery of a Middle Bronze Age mud brick gate, the oldest such gate in the world. He also lamented the recent death of one of his most capable protege’s, Douglas Esse, who had lost a battle with cancer.

1601-1602 John DeLancey – Excavation Plans for 2018

John DeLancey

John DeLancey

An annual tradition on TB&TS is our review of planned excavations for the upcoming year, to give our listeners the broad overview of what’s happening in Biblical Archaeology. This year I’m inviting John DeLancey back on the program for this discussion, since we will be visiting many of these sites during our 2018 TB&TS Holyland Archaeological Adventure Tour coming up in May.

John has lived and studied in Israel and has visited many of these sites on the more than 50 tours he’s led to Israel; he’s also excavated as a volunteer at some of these sites.

The digs we are discussing are, for the most part, the institutional excavations planned by various educational institutions and the Israel Antiquities Authority for 2018. But we also throw in a comment or two and some brief information about salvage excavations, another part of the excavation picture.

1600 Todd Bolen – 2017 Top 10 Biblical Archaeology Stories

the recently excavated Roman Theater in Jerusalem

Archaeologist Joe Uziel, inside the recently excavated Roman Theater along the western wall of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Our annual Top 10 Biblical Archaeology story is due to be posted by Christianity Today any day now and we’re leaking the list on this program. The top item on our list also happens to be the cover story from the latest issue of ARTIFAX magazine.

As for the rest of the Top 10, you’ll have to listen to the program, or else read the story at the Christianity Today website, when it’s posted.

My thanks to Todd Bolen, professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University and editor of for joining me on the program. Todd and John DeLancey, of Biblical Israel Ministries and Tours, were both kind enough to share their thoughts with me as I was putting together this year’s list. This is a subjective list of some of the top discoveries and developments in biblical archaeology in 2017.

620 Charles Aling & Clyde Billington – Historians Look at the Christmas Story

Professors Charles Aling and Clyde Billington

Professors Charles Aling and Clyde Billington

You knew there weren’t three Wise Men in the Christmas story, right? Separating historical details from tradition is what this program is all about.

For several decades I’ve been working with Professors Charles Aling and Clyde Billington on the quarterly magazine ARTIFAX, which summarizes the latest news on biblical archaeology discoveries and developments. And it was about 20 years ago when they joined me on this program for a discussion of some of the historical background of the Christmas story.