Archive for January 17th, 2013
In John Rylands Library, Manchester UK, we have the oldest fragment of the New Testament to date. During an age of critical modern scholarship and its heavy critique of Biblical texts, we have a great testimony in direct contrast to many critical claims of modern textual scholars.
Many claim that the New Testament accounts were written much later than they actually were, and when I see this fragment as I do on a regular basis, its surviving words never cease to amaze me. They are a pure testimony to the reality of the absolute identity of Jesus Christ, son of God, who was and is, and is to come, “The Truth”. Not ‘A’ truth, but ‘The’ Truth.
The Greek fragment, of John 18: 31-33, on the recto reads as follows;
“the Jews, “For us it is not permitted to kill
anyone,” so that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he
spoke signifying what kind of death he was going to
to die. Entered therefore again into the Praeto-
rium Pilate and summoned Jesus
and he said to him, “Thou art king of the
The Greek fragment of John 18: 37-38, on the verso reads as follows,
“a King I am. For this I have been born
and (for this) I have come into the world so that I would
testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth
hears of me my voice.” Said to him
Pilate, “What is truth?” and this
having said, again he went out unto the Jews
and said to them, “I find not one
fault in him.”
Is it not amazing that the oldest fragment in the world of the New Testament, dated possibly earlier than 100 AD and no later than 150 AD, speaks of such a great testimony to the word of God? Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24: 35.
This is certainly true.
Old bibles truly bless me, they are so full of age and character and records of past lives. Many old Bibles contain much hand written history of times gone by, where people have lived and died, loved and lost and lives have been changed by the scriptures and their brief histories written down within the old pages.
Old books and history can help us reflect upon our own mortality, indeed it helps me and forever reminds me that one day all of us will die. Each of us will lose our earthly lives but for those who belong to Jesus, each of us will win a much better one. This is not morbid in my eyes, but a demonstration of true glory. For the true Christian who departs this life, will be within a life that has no end.
Thomas a Kempis, an early author who wrote one very old book named, ‘The Imitation of Christ’ said, “Very quickly there will be an end of thee here, look what will become of thee in another world. To-day a man is here; to-morrow he hath disappeared” (Book 1. Chapter 23) Such a touching verse, and one worthy of the memory. No one knows the hour when we will depart this life for our venture into the next, be it heaven or hell?
So next time you see an old book, or see a grave, remember that one day, you will be history, you will go the same way. And if you have ever seen a man die, remember that you must pass the same way. Therefore, think upon these things daily and remember yourself, that you may be remembered.