One of my fondest memories as a kid, was having the family together to watch television programs such as National Geographic, The Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and Disney’s Nature Series. All provided fascinating realities and some explanations about the world in which we live.
I’ve always had a desire for discovery. One of the most dramatic discoveries of all times, in the opinion of a great many, is the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were found in 1947 by two Arab boys searching for their lost goat in the Judean wilderness. They threw stones into the caves to scare the animal out, but instead of hearing the bleating of their goat, they heard the sound of breaking pottery. Inside the earthen jars the boys found scrolls tightly rolled up and bound with a pitch-like substance. Believing they found something old and of value, the boys took some of the scrolls to an antique dealer in Bethlehem. They asked 20 pounds in exchange. Twenty pounds in 1947 was worth a lot more than it is today, but for understanding the dollar equivalent today about $34.58. The antique dealer turned them down. As you read on, you’ll likely agree that the antique dealer’s decision was no doubt one of his greatest life regrets!
Next the boys traveled to Jerusalem where after bargaining for weeks, they finally managed to sell four of the scrolls to an Archbishop of St. Marks’ Syrian Monastery and three to a professor of Archeology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Ultimately the scrolls were taken to D. John Trever, Acting Director at the American School of Oriental Research, Jerusalem who studied them and sent photos to Dr. W. F. Albright of John Hopkins University. Dr. Albright tentatively dated them to be about 100 B.C. and declared them “an amazing discovery.” Which is a tremendous understatement!
Many people today know very little about the Bible, for themselves. They only know what others have claimed about the Bible. The question to be answered in part with this post is, What makes the Bible distinct from all other so-called divine inspired documents of religious authority?
What follows is an excerpt from my Bible study method workbook, His Word Afresh, My Life Anew! available on Kindle and Amazon.
From Original Manuscript Translation
Specific to the Old Testament, the oldest Masoretic Hebrew manuscripts, discovered before the Dead Sea Scrolls, are dated no earlier than the late ninth centure AD. According to The New Unger’s Bible Handbook, the Dead Sea Scrolls, together with fragments of all but one of the Old Testament books (Esther), were discovered in 1947 and date from the second to the first century BC. They give us a Hebrew text a millennium earlier than any previous discovery! In addressing the question of human error in the hand copying of ancient manuscripts, we now have factual evidence against which to compare, revealing that the Bible we have today is substantively the same as the oldest known manuscript.
For me, to have objective, verifiable evidence that proves that the Bible we have today is substantively the same as the oldest known manuscript and that it pre-dates any previous discovery my a millennium, makes it an easy leap of faith to believe that it has remained unchanged since it was originally penned.
What about you? How does this information about the Bible impact you? Was there anything in this post that was new information to you or something you’d like more information on? Post a comment and I’ll gladly get back to you!
This is part two of a series about the Bible, proving it to be the only document of religious authority inspired by the One True God. Watch for future posts and share with friends, especially if you need to be better equipped to share your faith.
Pamela Christian is a speaker and an author known as “the Faith Doctor, ” because she’s been helping people in matters of faith for over twenty years. If you’d like to learn more about potentially having Pamela come present to your group either as an outreach or for deeper life application of the Christian faith, Contact Us!