Before a shepherd discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, the oldest completed Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament had an approximate date of A.D. 900. But the Dead Sea Isaiah scroll has a date of 200 B.C., and when it was translated, it had no major changes from the text we already have.
God gave the Scriptures to the Jewish people. That’s no small thing. The apostle Paul wrote, “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1–2 NKJV). The word oracles means “the very words of God.”
Jewish scholars and scribes painstakingly wrote out the words of Scripture on scrolls. They preserved that Scripture, and now we have both the Old and New Testaments, which we call the Bible.
There are three ways you can look at the Bible: One, you can see it as a book filled with good ideas and moral lessons—just a general guide to life. Two, you can look at it as a book from God written by man, which may have contradictions but has a lot of good things to say. Or, three, you can believe it’s the very Word of God, inspired by God and given to us by God—total truth.
I hold the third position. It’s the one Paul held, and it’s the one the Bible effectively holds. Hebrews 4:12 tells us, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (NLT).
As important and vital as the Bible is, we must do more than simply read it. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, you should read it, you should study it, and you should know it.