7Dec '11

Codex Sinaiticus

I pass through St Pancras station in London twice every week. A few hundred yards from there, in the British Library, is a room full of treasures so ancient, so delicate that they may only be viewed through a dusky almost-light. In the centre of this room is a a book that is so valuable that without it and a few others, we would understand as little of the ways of God as an ant knows about Facebook. And such would that mystery have remained, untold, untaught, unpreached, if its pages had been left hidden behind a shroud of ignorance. The first time I saw it – Codex Sinaiticus, an ancient, handwritten Bible, and the oldest copy of the New Testament we have – I cried. Not because of some unique superstitious power infused in its parchment pages – but because of a new recognition of the message it contains. And what a message that is! It is a living, breathing thing! It is the origin of every Jesus-follower’s relationship with God; it is the source of every mustard-seed of faith; it is the God-breathed, self-sufficient proof, the truth, of the furious grace of our Lord. I thank God for every scholar, every spectacled academic, every student who devoted themselves to the study of this text and others like it. I spent years learning to read the New Testament in Greek, but I could barely follow the lines and forms of the Codex’s unpunctuated text, which does not even have a space between its words! I thank God for every transcriber, every translator and every teacher who helped me to find the truth that, were it not for them, would remain hidden behind this impenetrable encryption. It’s time to bury once and for all the unscriptural distrust of learning and intellectual ability that has kept the Church hamstrung and less effective than it might have been, for so long. It’s time to repent of both dehydrated theology that denies the power of God, and the dangerous, easy path of an oversimplified, that-settles-it faith. In Paul, God chose to use a man of extraordinary ability and exceptional education, who, having submitted all he was to the Lord, walked incomparably in the power of the Spirit to establish the early Church. Let’s not celebrate ignorance, or intellect either for that matter; “All things are ours”, whether Paul or Apollos… or Wigglesworth. Let’s celebrate instead the goodness and grace of God, and choose to submit *everything* we are to him in the pursuit of our great mission to make his name famous in this broken world. http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/

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