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Written by Nancy Ruegg for “From the Inside Out” @ http://nancyaruegg.com
View original post @ https://nancyaruegg.com/2021/01/07/when-truth-unfolds/
When Truth Unfolds
January 7, 2021 by Nancy Ruegg
Young William Ramsay, along with his bride of just one year, leaned against the rail of their ship. Eagerly they scanned the horizon in order to catch the first possible glimpse of their destination, Smyrna, Turkey, with its whitewashed structures nestled into green hillsides.
William’s archaeological adventure, funded by a scholarship, was about to begin.
While the ship creaked around him, William daydreamed of the renown he would garner, even as a young Oxford professor, when he proved at least one book of the Bible, Acts, was mostly fiction.
Granted, no one could say unequivocally that Peter and Paul had not performed miracles in Jesus’ name. But he could prove that Luke’s record of the apostles’ work was full of errors in the categories of geography and history, thus casting great doubt on the whole.
The inspiration for such an endeavor began with William’s exposure to the Tubingen School of thought. They asserted that only four of the epistles were actually authored by Paul, and the rest of the New Testament was written much later—perhaps two hundred years later.
(The School of Theology at Tubingen University today)
In an effort to lionize the heroes of the early church, these Tubingen scholars decided Luke had exaggerated the stories and didn’t concern himself with accurate details. But no one had proven these theories until William set out to do so in 1880.
Soon after arrival in Turkey, the Ramsays met Sir Charles Wilson, an experienced explorer. He invited William to accompany him on two lengthy investigations that included Phrygia, Lycaonia, Cappadocia, and Galatia (1).
(Ancient limestone cave houses of Cappadocia,
deteriorated into cone-shaped structures due to erosion)
Beginning with these excursions and continuing over the next thirty-four years, Ramsay saturated himself with the geography and history of the Graeco-Roman world. He began to uncover facts that refuted the Tubingen theories–information that only a first-century eyewitness like Luke could have known.
In Acts 14:1-7 Luke reports the escape of Paul and Silas from Iconium, before they were stoned to death. They fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe.
However, later Roman writers including Cicero asserted that fleeing to Lystra and Derbe wouldn’t have saved the men because all three cities were in the same district.
(Turkish town of Konia, Paul’s Iconium–1911)
But in 1910 Ramsay discovered a telling inscription. In the first century A.D., Iconium was not under the authority of Lycaonia but of Phrygia, from A.D. 37-72—the exact time period when Paul and his companions would have visited the area (2).
Acts 17:1-9 relates the experience of Paul and his companions in Thessalonica. Luke uses the term politarch (translated “city officials” in NIV) in verse 6, a word not found in any other Greek literature. But Ramsay found five inscriptions in Thessalonica that used the title (3).
In Acts 18:12-17 Paul was brought before Gallio, the proconsul of Achaia. At Delphi, Ramsay and his team discovered an inscription of a letter to the proconsul from Emperior Claudius: “Lucius Junios Gallio, my friend and proconsul of Achaia.”
(The ruins at Delphi, Greece)
Historians date the inscription to 52 A.D., which corresponds to the time Paul and Silas would have visited the area (4).
In all, Ramsay was able to verify ninety-five geographical details included in the book of Acts, as well as historical facts and the names of people who existed at the time. He found no evidence of errors (5).
(Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, 1924)
Ramsay authored numerous books that give record of his findings. In one he wrote:
“I began with a mind unfavorable to it, for the ingenuity and apparent completeness of the Tubingen theory had at one time quite convinced me . . .but more recently I found myself brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor. It was gradually borne upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth . . .
“. . . Luke is a historian of the first rank not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy . . . this author should be placed along with the very greatest historians” (6).
Some say Ramsay’s search for truth brought him to faith in Christ; others argue that he did not embrace Christianity.
But I can’t imagine dedicating decades of my life toward a cause in which I held no personal belief.
What I can imagine is God leading Ramsay from proof to proof, while simultaneously working in his heart, bringing him to the point of belief in the Bible and finally in his Son as Savior.
See Acts 18:23, 14:6, and 2:9 for mention of these provinces.
William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915, 222.
P.S. (from bruce) When there is no other place to turn…turn to God !! If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ?? Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ… https://godsmanforever.com
To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…
You say you are a “born again” believer… BUT are you “ON FIRE” for the Lord ?? If not, open this link – https://godsmanforever.com/2020/08/01/are-you-a-christian-in-gods-eyes-and-on-fire-for-the-lord-or-not/
Picture credit: https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS832US832&sxsrf=ALeKk01Es8xGn8kLr_mIOurcfnRDJVvoWw:1610110023012&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=image+jn+17:17&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjA0eGfr4zuAhWytlkKHUYRCYwQjJkEegQIBhAB&biw=1366&bih=957#imgrc=CEJHOHmIEdAmIM