Have you ever heard the name, Sir William Ramsay? If you haven’t, that is ok, you’re in the majority. However, Ramsay serves as an example of what happens when a person desires to know the truth and seeks it out. William Ramsay lived from 1851-1939. He was an archeologist and professor at Oxford University. Ramsay held an anti-biblical bias and was naturally skeptical of Christianity. Therefore, Ramsay, set out on an archeological mission to undercut the historical reliability of Luke by examining multiple cities, events, and people recorded in Luke’s writing, the book of Acts. Ramsay knew if the historical record contained in Acts could be shredded, then there was no reason to trust the New Testament. However, at the conclusion of his research, Ramsay made the following statement regarding Luke as a historian, “There are reasons for placing the author of Acts among the historians of the first rank.” What an amazing shift in prospective of Luke!
There are several reasons why the story of Sir William Ramsay is encouraging:
1. It is encouraging because it shows that even the toughest skeptics, when seeking to undercut the Bible, can come to a realization that the Bible is, at the very least, a reliable source of first century history.
2. It is encouraging because we can know that the disciples in the first century believed that Jesus was a real person, who really suffered crucifixion and rose from the dead.
3. It is encouraging because through persecution, social changes, and the fall of nations, these tenants have not changed in over 2,000 years!
I personally do not know if Sir Ramsay ever converted to Christianity, but his mission should breathe confidence into the faith of Christians regarding the accuracy and historical reliability of the New Testament documents.
1. How does Sir William Ramsay’s story affect your faith?
2. Does his story answer quell and doubts you have about the New Testament?