Thanksgiving for God’s word
by Terry Broome
We are so fortunate to live in a time when Bibles are available in nearly every bookstore, variety store like Wal-Mart, and in most libraries. Most homes in America have several copies. At first I was a bit embarrassed to admit I have approximately 40 Bibles in my office covering many translations for comparative study. Many Bible students have computer programs that contain at least that many translations right on the computer screen at a key stroke. We all have them, but I have to wonder if they are deeply loved and appreciated as they deserve to be. After all, this is God’s personal message to mankind about the great hope of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Our easy access to the Scriptures wasn’t always the case for mankind. A person living in Bible times was very fortunate if their family had managed to acquire any portion of the copies of Scripture that scribes from centuries before Jesus had copied. It’s hard for us to realize that every word of every page had to be hand-copied on whatever the preferred writing substance of the day was. I guess we could say that God wrote the first Scriptures on tables of stone. Stone, clay, wood, and leather were the first known substances that messages were written, cut, or carved on. Later, papyrus was the “paper” of choice. The Papyrus plant formerly grew in abundance along the Nile River. Thus ancient Egypt began using it as far back as 3000 B. C. Its popularity spread from Egypt to become the universal medium for making books in Greece and Rome. From the pith of the stem thin strips were cut and laid side by side to form a sheet. A second layer was laid across the first and joined to it by moisture and pressure. After drying and polishing, the sheet was then ready for use – sometimes as a sheet by itself, and sometimes joined together to make a roll. Papyrus rolls varied in size but the average roll was about 30 feet long and 9 to 10 inches high In New Testament times, velum and parchment, untanned but specially dressed animal skins, had become the choice writing substance. Velum originally referred to skin of calves and antelopes, while parchment referred to the skin of sheep and goats. (See “How We Got The Bible,” Neil R. Lightfoot, 1986, pp. 1-6). Usually only wealthier people might have portions of these ancient writings.
Paul wrote a letter to Timothy in his imprisonment in Rome and asked him to come to him and bring his “parchments” and “books.” (2 Timothy 4:9, 13 (KJV) 9Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me. . . 13The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
It’s important for us to take note — God took careful measures to preserve His Holy Message by means that were adequate to guarantee to us today that we have an accurate rendering of this same saving Gospel that Jesus came to preach. We need to appreciate just how easy our access is to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and learn to be thankful for its saving message!!
Where would we be without the Bible? It introduces us to God and defines His personality to us. The Heavens declare His glory but they do not tell us His name, or about His Son, and about salvation. The Bible is His message to us to introduce Himself and His Way to us. God in all His wisdom gave mankind a roadmap to find his way to heaven. Thank you Lord, for the precious Bible – Book Divine!!! This Thanksgiving may we remember to thank God for His Word which is a “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psa. 119:105).
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.