Catholic Answers Press

The Word Set in Stone: How Archaeology, Science, and History Back Up the Bible

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  • The Word Set in Stone by Dave Armstrong defends biblical truth with science and archaeology, confronting skeptic claims head-on.
  • Dive into The Word Set in Stone, where Dave Armstrong uses rigorous research to validate biblical narratives with scientific precision.
  • Explore The Word Set in Stone, a compelling defense of biblical historicity through archaeology and scholarly insights.
  • Dave Armstrong's The Word Set in Stone presents a robust case for the historical accuracy of Scripture, supported by archaeological discoveries.
  • Discover how The Word Set in Stone dismantles skepticism about the Bible with compelling evidence from archaeology and science.
  • In The Word Set in Stone, Dave Armstrong empowers readers with evidence that affirms biblical narratives as historically reliable.
  • The Word Set in Stone by Dave Armstrong offers a scholarly exploration of how archaeology confirms the authenticity of Scripture.


Anti-Christians have a lot of slick, smart-sounding attacks against the Faith, and their favorite target is the Bible.

How can you really believe that Moses parted the Red Sea? they’ll ask. What makes you think Abraham, Joseph, and King David were real people and not just fantastical characters? That’s not what the experts say. And how can you take the Bible seriously when the Old Testament is filled with camels . . . way before camels even existed in Israel?

Supernatural faith is a beautiful thing, and strong theology is indispensable, but wouldn’t it be great if we could prove the Bible with hard science, too?

In The Word Set in Stone, veteran apologist Dave Armstrong uses secular historiography and proven scientific disciplines such as archaeology, meteorology, and even zoology and hydrology, to show that not only are some of the most fantastic-seeming episodes of the Bible possible, they are probable—even quite likely. From the Gospels to the Prophets all the way back to the Garden of Eden, you’ll see that Scripture skeptics don’t need a leap of faith to see that the Bible is one of the most historically reliable documents ever written. (And yes, that goes for the Red Sea, too.)

Presenting rigorous scientific research and theory, yet written in a way that’s accessible to the average reader, The Word Set in Stone levels the playing field between those anti-Christians who cling to a caricature of science and the amateur apologist in all of us. The truth of the Bible is not just a matter of faith; it’s elementary.

"Archaeology, like other disciplines, can be interpreted differently and used to promote agendas. Often skeptics use certain misinterpretations of findings to debunk or refute the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. But in this punchy book, Armstrong presents evidence in a clear and astute manner that the archaeological evidence does indeed confirm the words and historicity of Scripture. He pushes back on the skeptics and hits on some of the most heated topics, demonstrating that archaeology is actually a bedrock of confirmation. History and archaeology do not contradict the written Word, though many wish they did. Armstrong presents convincing arguments to assure novice and scholar alike that Scripture is accurate, from every discipline by which it is analyzed."  - Steve Ray, Apologist and Author of Crossing the Tiber

"Dave Armstrong has provided an invaluable service to Christians who feel intimidated by biblical skeptics. After years of dialogue with atheists and painstaking research, he shows that science and archeology actually support the historicity of the Sacred Scriptures. His approach is neither that of a young-earth biblical fundamentalist nor that of a modernist critic. Instead, his aim is to show that the biblical stories—when properly understood—are authentic historical accounts and not mere myths. Those who wonder whether there is any historical foundation for the Garden of Eden, the Great Flood, the destruction of Sodom, the crossing of the Red Sea, the reign of King David, and the Star of Bethlehem will find this book fascinating and illuminating". - Robert L. Fastiggi, Ph.D. Bishop Kevin M. Britt Chair of Dogmatic Theology and Christology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI

"Popular works that vindicate the Bible through archaeology and science line bookshelves in evangelical bookstores, but rarely does one find anything comparable in Catholic bookstores; that is, until now. Dave Armstrong has filled this need through a well-written, spirited defense of Holy Scripture, using cutting-edge research and other discoveries. I highly recommend The Word Set in Stone to anyone who wonders whether the Bible is grounded in history." - Gary Michuta, Host of Hands-On Apologetics

"Dave Armstrong has put together a masterful work that makes the claims of Sacred Scripture & Sacred Tradition shine bright when examined through the lens of archaeology. Dave’s book is not only a powerful tour de force, but it is composed for the scholar and lay reader alike. It is nearly impossible to find such a fantastic piece of work written from a Catholic perspective like ‘The Word Set in Stone’. This is a perfect book for any season." - William Albrecht, Author of The Secret History of Transubstantiation: Pulling Back The Veil On The Eucharist

"Christian readers who are not Roman Catholics should not simply chalk this up as a "Catholic book" and not read it.  As a Lutheran theologian, I can say that nothing in the book rests on ecclesiastical authority.  It is all firmly based in Scripture and credible archaeological research.  This book should be on the bookshelf of everyone who is interested in biblical apologetics but has shied away from books on the subject." - Kenneth Howes, STM, JD, Professor of Theology

"Christian apologist David Armstrong’s new book is a wonderful gift to the believing community. First, he presents archeological evidence associated with biblical narrative. Second, he summarizes the skeptic’s dismissive claims, and, finally, he refutes the disbelieving skeptic’s assertions by providing the reader with positive arguments for the biblical data. I highly recommended as a book not just to read and put on the shelf, but to access and reference for the rest of one’s life."
- Dr. Paul Patton, Professor Emeritus, Department of Communication and Media, Spring Arbor University

"Many non-Christians have sought to discredit the events described in the Bible by appealing to archaeology and pointing out the evidence--or lack of evidence--of various places, people, and happenings, and Christians have been on the defensive against such attacks over the past century. But, as Dave Armstrong painstakingly lays out in his book, The Word Set in Stone, when treated fairly, the archaeological and historical evidence that has been discovered offers a compelling argument for the Bible! The book is one of those necessary volumes that we Christians need to readily defend the truth of the Bible on the natural level." - Devin Rose, Author, The Protestant's Dilemma


 "In The Word Set in Stone, Dave Armstrong has provided us with a fascinating and thought-provoking journey through the biblical record and how it compares with the findings of archaeology.  Once I picked up this book, it was hard to put it down!" Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Author, Jesus: The Way, the Truth, and the Life


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Dave Armstrong
Softcover Book, 320 pages
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5 Reviews

  • 5

    An intriguing and adventurous exposition of the evidence

    Posted by John DeRosa on Jul 14th 2023

    Armstrong’s new book “The Word Set in Stone” will be of interest to all readers who take the Bible seriously. He sets out not to prove that the Bible is true or inspired, but rather to defend it against objections. Over the years, there have been many objections proposed by academic critics or popularizers which aim to cast doubt on Sacred Scripture. Some of these charges include: - Genesis is purely mythical fiction, there’s no evidence Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or Joseph even existed. This first book of the Pentateuch also contains anachronisms, misplaced cities, fabricated peoples, or other blatant historical blunders. - There is no evidence for the Exodus and many aspects of Israelite wandering defy logic, archaeology, and common sense. - There is no historical support for Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. - King David never existed and was a figment of the imagination. The Word Set in Stone addresses each of these concerns (and many more). Armstrong also considers New Testament topics such as the star of Bethelehem and the reliability of Luke and John’s Gospels. Along the way, he situates his arguments in between the extremes of rigid fundamentalism and anti-supernatural liberalism. Opposing rigid fundamentalism, he does not take all of the events narrated in Scripture to be necessarily true in a wooden, literal sense. He is open to providential timing and natural explanations accounting for some of what the Scripture writers describe as divine action. For example, the Earth swallowing up men following Korah’s rebellion could be explained by a well-timed seismic event. Opposing anti-supernatural liberalism, Armstrong is adamant in his acceptance of miracles as part and parcel of the Christian worldview. Hence, even when he offer naturalistic explanations as possibilities, he often does not rule out some supernatural intervention being involved. One of the coolest aspects of Armstrong’s book is the exposure to top-notch sources. At every turn, readers are treated to quotations from knowledgeable experts and relevant scientific articles. These include Kenneth Kitchen, James K. Hoffmeier, and many others. As a result, this book is an excellent introduction to the wide variety of evidence supporting the Bible in archaeology, science, and history. Interested readers can pursue the resources cited in the book’s 393 endnotes. One criticism of the book concerns the chapter, “Search for the Garden of Eden.” Armstrong tracks the four rivers mentioned in the Bible and provides a plausible case for the location of Eden in the “general region where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet.” Yet, Armstrong does not focus much attention on the genre of these early chapters in Genesis, which may leave the reader open to the impression that Eden *must* be a real, specific garden that Genesis 2 intends to identify precisely. While that is a possibility, Catholics are permitted to read the text as containing ample “figurative language” , and they are not married to a strict geographic reading of Genesis 2. Of course, Catholics also hold that the Fall refers to a real, historical event in which our first parents turned away from God. Yet, the precise time and place of that transgression is something the Church leaves very open. Space concerns may have prevented Armstrong from going into these details, yet I wanted to register some concern that this omission could be confusing to Catholic readers. Overall, Armstrong has put together an intriguing and adventurous exposition of the evidence supporting the Bible. For those interested in such topics, this book will be a great read.

  • 4

    An engaging read

    Posted by William Pat Cunningham on Jul 10th 2023

    I bought this book for spiritual reading. It is a very good summary of various archaeological and parallel secular evidence for the truth of both OT and NT, not terribly inspiring but very engaging and supportive of belief that what the Scriptures say is empirically true.

  • 5

    Gospel of John 4:12

    Posted by Faith Allison Mancini on Jun 19th 2023

    The Gospel of John has subject matter that can be proven through archaeological exam .

  • 5

    The Word Set in Stone

    Posted by Pat L on Mar 31st 2023

    I bought this book for my husband, as biblical archeology is a hobby of his. He was very pleased. I'll be interested in reading it myself when he finishes.

  • 5

    Set in Stone

    Posted by Mark on Mar 29th 2023

    Excellent book. Couldn’t put it down. Read it in about two days. Fascinating stuff

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