Lessons from the Seattle Dead Sea Scroll Exhibit

            During the holidays our family visited the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Seattle at the Pacific Science Center. Here are a few observations that were reinforced by the evidence in the exhibit—

o        The accuracy of the OT/Hebrew Bible has been remarkably preserved through the centuries. The Dead Sea scrolls have disproved the skeptics who say we cannot trust the Bible because of errors in the copying process.

o        Early Christianity was very Jewish in its flavor. (Later there was a clearly anti-Jewish sentiment that developed that was fostered particularly by the Roman church.)

o        There is a danger in putting the Bible & traditional writings on equal footing.  (In the Essene community of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, the Hebrew Scriptures, Apocryphal & pseudepigraphal writings, and community rules were all given the same painstaking attention, resulting in a distorted view of God and His ways. But God still used an unbalanced community to preserve His word!)

o        Presuppositions greatly affect one’s interpretations of God’s word. (One of the early so-called “scholars” who studied the Dead Sea scrolls came to the conclusion that “Christianity started as a fertility cult that used mushrooms as hallucinogens.”)

o        God has protected His word through the centuries from errors and extinction.

o        Something of incredible value can be greatly underestimated. (The scrolls, when first found by some Bedouin shepherd boys, were treated very casually. Even today many are more fascinated with the treasure described in a copper scroll that was found than the treasure of the Messiah described in the Isaiah scroll.)

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