(Jesus said) "You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me." John 5:39
When I grew up, there was a television program called, You Are There.
Using a TV news format, the program took the viewer back in time to various historical events. The landing of the Hindenburg, the Salem witchcraft trials, the Gettysburg address, and even the trial of Jesus all were given an episode.
Now it appears You Are There is becoming a reality.
Let me explain. Recently, Daniel Wallace, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, announced that seven New Testament papyri have been discovered. Six of those writings are from the second century and, one, a fragment of the book of Mark, probably originates in the first.
Simply stated, that means the papyrus was written during the time when eyewitnesses of Jesus' resurrection could still have been alive.
So, what does that mean to the average Joe and Jane?
Since this manuscript would be about 150 years older than any other New Testament Gospel fragment we have, it would imply that it probably is more accurate. That's because there would have been fewer copies made and, therefore, fewer errors made by the copyists.
Indeed, this manuscript moves us 150 years closer to the time our beloved Lord and Savior walked the earth.
Now the manuscripts are not due to be released until next year. I have not seen them, nor has anyone else I know. Even so, I am willing to go out on a limb and, without claiming any prophetic ability, make the following predictions: I predict after this manuscript has been compared with other ancient texts, there will be no glaring or major changes. Further, I predict this manuscript will offer no modifications that might impact any major or minor doctrine.
Once again, in making these predictions I lay no claim to having any prophetic gifts.
What I do claim is a belief that God's Word is God's Word, and the Holy Spirit has protected it, so we might be confident we have an accurate record of God's entire plan of salvation.
This is why, when the manuscripts are published, I pray you will join me in giving thanks that, once more, the Lord has told us the Savior's story of salvation is faithful and true. In fact we can do that right now.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, the Holy Scriptures tell the story of how Your Son paid the price necessary to forgive our sins and save our souls. May we be truly grateful for all You have done, including giving us a book which can be trusted to tell the truth. In Jesus' Name I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries