You may not be aware of this, but some in the scholarly world do not believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Notice this remark: “For example, Jesus was probably born in Nazareth, not Bethlehem. BAR readers already know this. They are accustomed to reading analysis showing that the Bible is not always literally accurate” (Biblical Archeology Review, November/December, 2013, p. 18). What!?
For the benefit of trying to understand why this would be proposed we want to understand the argument (or arguments) in favor of the opinion that Jesus was “probably” being born in Nazareth. One attempt to sustain the point (see below, #1) have not been arguments at all, but assertions, questions, and imagined contradictions. The closest thing to an argument made is that Jesus was referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth” (a number of verses are given); since this is so, it must have been that He was born there also. But this is NOT an argument, and if it was it would be a pitifully bad argument because the conclusion does not follow from the assertions (non-sequitur). The only thing that actually occurs is an extrapolation of desired thinking! A historical reference point does not address the place of His birth, only what town (or village) He was known to be from.
Another author attempts to give more credible witness to the location of Jesus’ birth not being Bethlehem of Judea, but Bethlehem of Galilee (see below, #2). Since archaeological evidence exists for the latter, and relatively little to nothing for the former, then the likelihood of Jesus being born in Bethlehem of Galilee is greater. They attempt to give additional evidence/information, but not a shred of substantive evidence; in fact, it falls into the same category as in the paragraph above (questions, assertion, and imagined contradictions).
Archaeological evidence is useful and instructive, but not a final determiner of facts. Thus, whatever is to be said about the archaeological evidence presented for Bethlehem of Galilee (which is adjacent to Nazareth), I noticed that in both documents there was little said about historical record of the Bible (what it actually says)! The Bible is not, strictly, a “faith” document, but also a historical record of that which is presented by God. The Scriptures teach that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea (Matthew 2:4-6; Micah 5:2). These passages are either true or not; if true, the discussion is settled, and it matters not what some “scholar” or “scholars” say because of supposed archaeology evidence or some other presupposition upon which they engage the discussion.
Is this of any significant consequence since some scholars think this? You bet it is! In fact, if it can be called into question what the Scripture says with regard to prophecy and historical data, then there is no stopping other unbelievers from altering something else. Don’t be fooled. Just because a person has many letters (much education) behind the name and has spent much time in particular areas of study does not mean they are beyond Satan’s delusion (2 Corinthians 4:4). RT