Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In Jesus’ day, why was reading from a scroll quite an undertaking?


A common size of the sheets that were used in making scrolls was from 9 to 11 inches [23 to 28 cm] long and from 6 to 9 inches [15 to 23 cm] wide. A number of these sheets were joined together side by side with paste or sewn together with linen thread. In some cases, longer sheets were used. The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah was made of 17 parchment strips, totaling approximately 24 feet [7 m] in length in its present state of preservation. The scroll of Isaiah that Jesus used in the synagogue in Nazareth may have been of a similar length.—Luke 4:16, 17.

With regard to this account, Alan Millard says in his book Discoveries From the Time of Jesus: “The reader held the book [scroll] and unrolled it with his left hand, taking the outer edge in his right and rolling it again as he read, column by column. To reach Isaiah 61, the chapter he read in the synagogue, Jesus would have unrolled most of the scroll and re-rolled it again.”

At that time, there were no chapter and verse divisions for the book of Isaiah as we know them today. When the scroll of Isaiah was handed to Jesus in the synagogue in Nazareth, he had to locate the passage that is now marked as Isaiah 61:1, 2 in our Bibles. Jesus easily “found the place,” showing how familiar he was with God’s Word.

Why not check the Scriptures here?



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Christian view the Bible as the inspired Word of God, absolute truth, beneficial for teaching and disciplining mankind.