Making History Today

My Dad and I recently visited the Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible exhibition which is currently featured at the Milwaukee Public Museum. It displays the history of the Holy Land during the era in which the scrolls were written, from the third century BC through the first century AD, then leaps forward over two millennia to the discovery of the first scrolls in the 1940s. In addition to actual Dead Sea Scrolls, it features some of the oldest Greek New Testament papyri, pages from rare hand copied medieval Bibles – including the oldest manuscript of part of the Masoretic Text or traditional Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) – and early and modern printed Bibles.

Coming away from the museum, I was struck by two thoughts; First, what amazing labor and care it required to preserve the biblical text. God bless these many unnamed scribes who diligently worked over decades and centuries to copy and bequeath manuscripts to later generations. God used their fastidious effort to produce the Bibles which we carry today. 

Second, at the exhibition’s conclusion, where they displayed various modern translations, I was delighted to see the ESV (English Standard Version) and NLT (New Living Translation). The reason why these particular Bible versions grabbed my attention is that at College Church, where I serve on the pastoral staff, we have in our congregation men whose publishing companies produced these translations. This personal association made me think of how even today we are connected to the great history of advancing God’s word. What an amazing thought and indescribable privilege that the act of presenting Scripture to the world continues through us as we embody and proclaim biblical truth.

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