Josh McDowell, author of best seller, "More Than a Carpenter" spoke at our church last Sunday. He brought a 500-year-old Lodz Scroll copied in Poland or Germany and allowed the audience to touch, examine, and study the Torah. This is one of the few full complete Torah scrolls in the world; and one of the only ones not placed behind glass in museums.
During his presentation, McDowell revealed the extensive techniques used by scribes to make sure the Bible we hold in our hands today is the most historically accurate document in history. While many assume the Bible is full of copying errors because of the proverbial "telephone game," the historic reality is quite the opposite.
Scholars copied the document around 1450 AD from a scroll dated to 1000 AD. It has survived the Holocaust, the persecution of the Reformation, the Black Death, and Jewish persecution during Medieval Times.
Photo Courtesy of Author.
The commitment to copy the Scriptures was a sacred task with thousands of quality control methods designed to ensure reliability. The Scribes placed bone or tooth on each side of the parchment to form a grid for placing Hebrew letters to hang from. They were required to memorize over 4000 laws before begining to write.
Nothing could be copied from memory. Each word must be written one letter at a time - often with a three-scribe system. While one scribe called out each letter, the second scribe carefully wrote each letter with a third scribe checking his work. Letters were written the same each time; and no letter was allowed to touch.
Most full copies of the Torah were around 70 feet long and took over three years to compose. After completion, three scribes checked the document for accuracy before it could be used.
Scribes, known as counters, would literally count the letters from beginning to end. They counted the 304,805 letters in the Torah stopping at the 152,402rd letter in Leviticus 11:42, knowing the next letter was the center letter. If that letter was not correct, the scroll had to be rexamined. If it was correct, they could continue counting the letters to see if the last letter of the scroll was 152,402 letters later.
Photo Courtesy of Author.
Then the counters moved from letters to words. Scribes would count the 79,847 words in the Torah knowing that the middle word was in Leviticus 13:33. As with the letters, the counters knew that there were 39,923 on both sides of the middle word. If that word was correct, the scribe could be validated.
The Scriptures were confirmed by using an authorized scroll, qualified multigenerational scribe, three-scribe process, and counting system for confirmation. No where in history has there been a copying process with such commitment to quality control. Readers of the Bible are confident that the Bible is the most historically reliable document in history based on the facts of history.
It was an honor to touch the ancient parchments at our church. It was awe inspiring to see ancient documents drawn so precisely that they look like they were printed by a lazer printer. Josh travels the world offering this experience to many churches in the world.
With the Bible's reliability confirmed, many don't know how to interpret it. Last year, our church developed a DVD series that allows a church, a small group, or a family to understand the entire Bible in eight short 30-minute videos.
If you are new to Bible study or want more information, check out other historic resources by Josh McDowell.
For more information, check out Godonomics DVD at www.godonomics.com, Godonomics: How to Save Our Country and Protect Your Wallet whoever books are sold, or Fast Track Bible DVD curriculum at www.fasttrackbible.com.
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