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Five and a half centuries old!

Not me!!  But, last week, in my hands along with several dozen others is the Torah, aka the Law, the Five Books of Moses, the Pentateuch.  It is about 80 feet long.  It is copied on to sixty lamb skins.  A project that would have been meticulously worked on for about three years – at the very least by a reader of an older copy, the writer and one supervising him.  They would have read it letter by letter and counted the letters.  Checking and double checking to make sure not one word, not one letter, was missed or added.  And beyond that…

‘The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.’ Psalm 12:6-7

This copy of the Word of the God was discovered in Germany and has been dated around AD 1450.  Just consider what all took place in Germany from the 15th to the 20th centuries.  Simply amazing it survived!  Those who know the Hebrew language assured us that what we have today matches this scroll.  Just as those who have studied the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ which date from the Hellenistic Period, 332-63 BC.

As I stood hanging on to that ancient text, two thoughts overwhelmed me: First, it is a good thing we do not have the original autographs from Moses to David to Paul and John for as men we tend to worship things and we would certainly do that.  Second, I was moved with an emotional gratefulness to God and for the men and women who sacrificed their time, their resources and even some their very lives so I and billions of others could read the Book of books.  When that scroll was produced it no doubt had to be shared by an entire village, a city or more.  What a shame that so often I take it for granted that I can open the Bible any time: from the leather bound copy on my desk or a click on my computer or phone.

‘Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.’  Psalm 119:9-11

Think about it.