And copied by hand.
I remember how my heart raced the first time I was handed an ancient handwritten copy of the New Testament. It felt dense in my trembling hands. The aged binding was only a few hundred years old, but the smooth vellum pages inside were more than a thousand years old.
I gingerly turned the pages, thinking about that anonymous scribe who labored for years to record these precious words of God. The ink was dark and clear, in a Greek cursive that I had just started learning to read. I let my thumb gently fan through the pages while I breathed in the smell of those ancient leaves.
And then I noticed that the corners of some of the pages were light while others were very dark. I quickly realized that the discoloration corresponded to favorite passages, stained by the oily fingers that frequently touched them. That meant that the pages with lighter corners were somewhat neglected.
As Christians, we’re instructed to read the whole Bible and live by all of it—not just our favorite parts or the passages that comfort us. It’s all equally inspired. That got me thinking…
If someone found my Bible 100 years from now, would they be able to tell which passages I avoided?
One of the first lessons I learned from examining ancient handwritten copies of the Scriptures: Don’t neglect the difficult passages in favor of familiar ones.