This article is from
Journal of Creation 36(3):38–39, December 2022

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Titus Kennedy really digs the Bible!

A review of: Unearthing the Bible: 101 archaeological discoveries that bring the Bible to life by Titus Kennedy
Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, 2020

by George LeBret


Secular archaeologists have spent 200 years attempting to establish that the Bible is a collection of mythology and Jewish/Christian propaganda, yet archaeological evidence is more consistent with the Bible as an accurate historical document. In Unearthing the Bible, Dr Titus Kennedy isolates and illuminates 101 archaeological discoveries that buttress the thesis that the Bible is a reliable historical record by the traditionally recognized authors at the traditionally accepted times they lived.

Kennedy’s book should be in the hands of everyone serious about a historical study of the Bible. Sketching 101 intersections between God’s Word and archeological evidence, Kennedy crafts a sturdy structure of information and argument that makes clear that belief in the truth, accuracy, and reliability of the biblical narrative is not merely possible, but it is sensible and rational. Indeed, it takes a full dose of willful blindness and/or intellectual dishonesty to refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy and implications of some of these artifacts. Complete with photographs and translations of ancient inscriptions, a helpful principle of organization, and explanations that are clear and coherent, the book is a genuinely useful tool. No fair-minded reader can deny the book’s success in demonstrating that ancient events left behind extensive evidence that the biblical narrative is accurate.


As Kennedy notes on page 9, “the Bible has been routinely attacked and disregarded on the basis of history or archeology.” Unearthing the Bible challenges those attacks and dismissals head on. The book cites the biblical passages related to each artifact, anchoring the archaeological context with the date and location of each piece’s discovery, a note on the biblical period in question, key words, and citations of related biblical passages. The reader’s sense and understanding of the relevance of each artifact to the scriptural record grows as the array of archaeological discoveries increases in number and characteristic. In the end, a reader hostile to a biblical worldview may still ‘attack’, but ‘disregarded’ is no longer an option.

Names in historical context

Kennedy is careful not to overstate the claims or inferences that follow from these 101 archeological finds featured in the book. On pages 88 and 89, for example, he describes an inscription from an excavation at Khirbet Qeiyafa. The inscription reads, “Ishbaal son of Beda”. As Kennedy points out, the name inscribed on pottery may, or may not, refer to Saul’s son, Ishbaal, but the inscription (in its archaeological context) performs the valuable function of confirming that the name was in use at the time of Saul’s life. Nothing is proven, but the archaeological evidence helps suggest that the sources for 1 Chronicles were written near the time of the events it recounts. It is not likely that some writer (or committee of writers) 500 or 600 years later would randomly make up a name that is historically accurate.

In some cases, Kennedy cites a piece of archaeological evidence not as demonstrably connected to a specific biblical character, but as proof that a particular name was, in fact, in use at a particular time. On pages 38–39, Kennedy points out that

“27 scarab seals bearing the name ‘Yaqob’ (Jacob) and the element ‘El’ (perhaps meaning ‘protected by God’) have been discovered in Egypt, Canaan, and Nubia, dating to around 1800–1600 BC.”

Page 20sumerian-king-list
Sumerian King List dating back to about 2000 BC

He notes that this period is in line with the time of Jacob’s migration to Egypt, but that the name was not used either before or after this time. Without trying to make more of the evidence than the evidence allows, Kennedy points out that it is significant that the archeological evidence of the name’s use corresponds dramatically with the biblical account.

Altogether, Kennedy cites 19 cases of names used at a time in the Bible that corresponds with the time that a particular name was in common use. This list contains both Old and New Testament names. Some of these cases have made the popular press, such as the ‘James Ossuary’ described on pages 224–225. This may, or may not, be the same “son of Joseph and brother of Jesus” that we know in the Bible, but, because all three names are in their proper timeframe and could be common, it certainly is possible.

A more certain name that is found in the Bible and archeology is the title ‘First Man of Malta’. Dr Luke the Evangelist referred to a man named Publius as ‘the first [man] of the island’ in Acts 28:7. The same title was found on an inscription that referred to a man named Prudens as ‘the first of the Maltese’. The Prudens reference was dated 30 years earlier than Luke’s reference to Publius. Inscriptions from 80 years later under a different Caesar did not use the ‘first man’ title anymore, but referred to the person in charge of the island as ‘the father of the municipality’.

Another name that exactly matches the biblical record is found in ancient Corinth. In Romans 16:23, Paul is passing on greetings to the church at Rome. This is a passage that many people gloss over quickly, because we don’t know much about the man Erastus, except that he was a city treasurer in Corinth and that he was associated in ministry with Timothy in Corinth (Acts 19:22, Romans 16:23, and 2 Timothy 4:20). In 1929, an inscription was found in Corinth that reads: “Erastus in return for his aedileship paved it at his own expense.” Apparently, the title ‘aedile’ refers to a city official chosen annually who manages public works and commercial affairs. This is consistent with the title ‘treasurer’ that Paul uses.

One of my all-time-favourite Sunday School lessons is the story of Balaam and his talking donkey. Not only is this a great lesson on God’s sovereignty and faithfulness, but it is an example of a miracle that separates those who believe in God as a miracle worker from those who seek to put the miraculous into a box of natural phenomena. This story is often cited by the latter as an example of the Bible being merely Jewish fiction.

While most people were not really looking for physical confirmation of the events of Numbers 22, the collaborating evidence was found. It appears that Balaam was a historical figure who engaged in the activities described in Numbers 22.

On page 64, Kennedy describes the Deir Alla Inscription. This poetic text was written on a plaster wall just north of where the events of Numbers 22 took place. According to the inscription, Balaam, son of Beor, was called upon to appease certain gods to prevent darkness and chaos. However, it didn’t work out in this way, as Balaam and his message were rejected and condemned.

The Deir Alla Inscription is an independent confirmation that a seer named Balaam of Peor was in the area where the events of Numbers 22 took place, and he was there near the time of Numbers 22. Balaam was engaged in the line of work described in Numbers 22.

God is in control

Moses used artifacts as evidence that God was in control of history. Kennedy does not mention the following artifact, because it has not been found outside of Deuteronomy, and Kennedy’s book is about artifacts that are physically found and documented. The story of Og illustrates that God was very comfortable using physical artifacts as evidence of His actions. The exodus of the slave class from Egypt and their subsequent capture of established kingdoms with walled and gated cities, was hardly a predictable or likely sequence of events. But 40 years after Israel feared the giants of the land and their discipline was over, God showed them how easy it was for Him to take care of giants. In Deuteronomy 3, Og, king of Bashan was subdued, and, in verse 11, the biblical account makes reference to Og’s 4 m- (13-ft)-long iron bed—citing its presence in Rabbah for anyone to see at that time as verification of the historicity of that part of the narrative.

Unearthing the Bible: 101 Archaeological Discoveries that Bring the Bible to Life is a very useful Bible study tool, but, beyond that, Kennedy’s book is a collection of convincing illustrations that scientific evidence does not contradict God’s Word. Just as biology, geology, chemistry, and physics are consistent with the Bible, the evidence found in archaeology is consistent with the Bible.

As I write this today, Dr Kennedy has released his next book, Excavating the Evidence for Jesus: The archaeology and history of Christ and the Gospels. I am eager to discover the biblical truths confirmed in his new book.


Submitted by George LeBret: BS, MS in Geology, Washington State University.

In consultation with E. Victor Bobb: Ph.D., D.A., M.A., University of Oregon; B.A., Washington State University; Professor Emeritus of English Whitworth University (1986–2017).

Edited by my wife, Lynne LeBret: BGS, Gonzaga University.

Posted on homepage: 8 March 2024