The Bible is the best selling book of all time. It has been the book that was repeatedly reproduced many many times since the start of the printing press. It was one of the first books ever printed by the Guttenberg press. But even before the invention of the printing press, since the Old Testament times, the content of the Bible were painstakingly copied by committed people from one generation to another.
When we were in Israel, we visited Qumran which is across the Dead Sea. This place is now an archeological site and a national park. The importance of this place is that in the caves of Qumran, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found between 1947 to 1956. The sacred manuscripts were stored in earthenware vessels buried in the earth or within the caves.
What is the significance of the 15,000 fragments? Why are the remains of 800 to 900 original manuscripts significant to Christianity?
First, the Word of God will always find a way to reach people. The Bible that we have is a copy of a copy of a copy. The Dead Sea Scrolls jumped back near the original copies. This tells us nothing can destroy the Word of God.
Second, the Word of God is meant to be shared. If we realize that countless people copied the contents of the Bible from one generation to another, then we should have a burden to share the message of the Bible to people. We do not need to find ink and parchment, sit down and write for long hours anymore. We can easily share it via social media, and other media.
I saw the replica of these fragments at the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, and I can feel the commitment of those who copied it and shared it.
Reflect on this: The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” Isaiah 40:8 was written between 740 BC and 686 BC. Later, 1 Peter 1:24-25 quoted the book of Isaiah. It was written between 81 to 96 AD.
This means that even after 800 plus years after Isaiah was written, people were reading it. Wow! Indeed, it takes commitment, passion, and faith that the Word of God is true, and is meant to be shared.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on