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Folks like to play in the dirt over in Israel. There is a good reason for this: that dirt covers ruins that shed light on the life and times of the Bible. Often, we are challenged to stand on the Bible rather than on the interpretation in publications written by people who don't take God's word seriously. But there are those that look at the same evidence through the lenses of faith.

Dr. Eric Mitchell, of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is such a man. Writing for the Christian Examiner he states:

"Standing on these sites highlighted for me a personal connection to events and people of the biblical text. This connection drew me further into the academic study of the historical geography, archaeology, history, languages and culture of the land."

--[Eric Mitchell, Christian Examiner, July 19, 2016]

The site he writes about in this article is that of ancient Gath, a city ruled by the Philistines, a warrior race that was a thorn in the side of the Israelites for over 400 years, finally being subjugated by Judah by king Uzziah (contemporary to Isaiah and Hosea, among others).

We can be assured by good Christian researchers that the archaeologist's spade will never take us by surprize. Time after time, ancient trash heaps have shown that the record we have in our hands is reliable. How could it be anything else, for the writers and compilers over the ages have had a connection far better than any we might hope to have to the events of their day.

It is hard for us, in our Sunday School rooms with colorful illustrated lessons, to grasp the reality of what happened some three thousand years ago. Perhaps we should walk across an open field sometime and dig in the dirt! There is no telling what we might find out about the past. When we "get our hands dirty" in our research, we connect with the reality of the past. This digging need not be in the literal dirt of our backyards, but it should remind us that the truth is sometimes "just under the surface." All we have to do is dig for it.

Do some research, understand the big picture before speaking out, or writing a blog or posting remarks on social media. It is what builds credibility. People trust those who know what they are writing about and have the courage let others know about it.

--SouthWriter (talk) 04:30, July 20, 2016 (UTC)

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