Our hearts are heavy at the loss of such a giant in the Faith. He will be greatly missed, especially by his beloved wife Esther and his entire family. At the same time, we rejoice that he is free from the body that was afflicted with illness and he is now with his precious Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. And we all look forward to that glorious Day when we will see him once again.
Dave and Esther Livingston obediently and faithfully responded to God’s call to create the ABR ministry in 1969 and produce a team of scholars who would provide strong, biblically faithful answers to skepticism leveled against the Bible. It all started in the spring of 1966, when David 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.
At issue for David 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, David 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.
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, David’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
Each time you read about ABR’s work, please remember that it has all been made possible because of David and Esther’s obedient response to the Lord.
We owe Dr. David Livingston a debt of gratitude for leading the way and leaving a legacy for today’s scholars and students. David combined the mind of the scholar and the heart of a pastor in the ministry of ABR. May those of us who have received the blessing of his life and legacy pass this blessing along to future generations.
Feel free to post comments to this article of your memories of David or your appreciation of his lifetime of ministry in defense of the Gospel and the Scriptures.
Please remember the Livingston family in your prayers as they grieve and cling to Jesus for comfort and peace.
Remembering our Friend and Brother,
The Staff, Board and Volunteers of ABR
The Summer 2009 Issue of Bible and Spade was dedicated to David's lifetime of ministry at ABR. You can read the entire issue by clicking on this PDF file link. Summer 2009 Bible and Spade.
We also encourage visitors to post memories of David's life to our comments section below.
Read a personal bio from David's children: David Palmer Livingston Jr. (PDF)
22-3Final Low Rez.pdf (4.51 mb)
A bio by David's Children- David Palmer Livingston.pdf (76.37 kb)