Our Rich History And The Future Of ABR -- By: Gary A. Byers

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 22:3 (Summer 2009)
Article: Our Rich History And The Future Of ABR
Author: Gary A. Byers


Our Rich History And The Future Of ABR

Gary A. Byers

For the past forty years, the Associates for Biblical Research has demonstrated how archaeological evidence lines up with the biblical text. From its inception, ABR (as it has come to be known) was founded on the belief that the Bible can be trusted as an accurate source of historical information and that the results of archaeological investigation will line up with what the Bible says.

It all started in the spring of 1966, when David P. Livingston was studying in Jerusalem. He was disturbed when a professor simply accepted that the biblical account of Joshua’s capture of the city of Ai and archaeological evidence did not match up. The professor went with the archaeological data, and the Bible was left out.

Ai And Biblical Authority

At issue for Livingston was the assumed disparity between the biblical text and archaeological evidence. The argument went like this. Archaeological evidence for Ai does not fit the biblical description of the site. Archaeologists have identified the correct site for Ai. Therefore, the Bible is wrong in its description of the ancient city.

As a veteran educator and missionary, Livingston understood the far-reaching implications of such thinking. If people really couldn’t trust the Bible about the past, how could they honestly trust the Bible for the future—for eternity! Livingston had no doubt the Bible was accurate in its description of both the battle and the city of Ai, so he made a personal commitment to study the evidence for himself.

Consequently, in 1969, he founded the Associates for Biblical Research. The goal was to create an organization of scholars who believed that the Bible spoke authoritatively on history. Together they would roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, investing the time and resources necessary to do good academic research and solid archaeological excavation—all for the purpose of connecting the dots between archaeological evidence and the biblical text.

ABR And Biblical Archaeology

There were a number of sites from the Exodus and Conquest period of biblical history, beyond the story of Ai, where scholars suggested archaeological evidence and the Bible did not match up. So, over the next forty years, Livingston’s research was expanded. ABR sponsored and directed archaeological excavations, surveys and research projects focused on the identification and excavation of the biblical cities of Ai, Bethel, Jericho and Hazor, along with the Exodus route from the Nile Delta through the Sinai Peninsula. Much of this expanded research was done with the addition of Dr. Bryant G. Wood to the ...

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