Luke 4:17a
“And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias.”

Two thousand years ago parchment or papyrus pages of written works were all stitched together end to end into a long roll wound around a wooden or metal bar. It was called a scroll. The problem in reading it was that you had to spin through the entire roll if you wanted to read, say, a passage on the last page. Just like Torah scrollthe old video or audiotapes. The invention of the book consisted of stitching those same written pages all together on one edge rather than from end to end. This permitted access to the last page just as easily as the first. In other words, the invention of the book format allowed random access just as the CD format does today. As we all know, this is a major advance.

Who made this advance? It was the early Christians who broke away from the Jewish scroll format and did so to reduce the wear and tear on their hand-written Bibles. Recently, scholars identified the oldest bound book ever discovered. It was a wood-and-leather-bound copy of the Psalms found buried with a child who died 1,600 years ago. So next time you hear someone say that Christians are against education and don’t appreciate books, just remember that Christians and their love for the Bible are responsible for the convenient form of our modern books.

Dear Father, I thank You for the love of Scripture that You have worked in the generations of believers before us, as well as the examples of their love for Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Photo: Torah scroll inside of the former Glockengasse Synagogue in Cologne. Courtesy of Willy Horsch. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.