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HOW WAS THE OT COPIED THROUGH THE AGES?

FEB 17

Romans 3:1-2
Memorise Romans 3:2
"...they were committed the oracles of God..."

In this modern age, making a copy of a document is extremely easy. We just need to find a photocopying machine and press some buttons to get the exact duplicate of the original. We definitely cannot imagine having to copy every single word of the document by hand. You would probably think that you would make more and more mistakes as you become tired towards the end. The Israelites of old who were tasked to copy the Old Testament could not be careless as they were dealing with the Word of God. They “were committed the oracles of God” and thus had put in place very strict guidelines and rules in the copying of God’s Word.

First of all, they only used the skin of clean animals to prepare a parchment and made special black ink to write, showing how highly they treated even the materials they used to copy God’s Word. They organised each page first by drawing columns of between 48 to 60 lines. They had to follow strict regulations regarding how the letters were written and how far apart they could be. They were never allowed to copy from memory and had to have an authentic copy of the OT in front of them at all times. They then had to read out aloud each word before writing it down. When they had to write God’s name “Elohim”, they would clean their pens first. If they had to write the name “Jehovah”, they would have to wash their whole body first. When they proofread and checked the copies, they had to count every word and letter. If there were mistakes, they had to be revised within 30 days or else the whole manuscript would be discarded. One mistake on a page condemned the whole page and if there were three mistakes in any page, the whole manuscript was destroyed.

Knowing how reverently and carefully the Israelites treated God’s Word, we can be assured that they made accurate copies of the Old Testament. Yet, even though the human effort involved was airtight and foolproof, our faith that the Old Testament was copied accurately should lie in God’s ability to preserve His Word. Human beings are never perfect and despite all the safety nets in place, we can still make mistakes. However, if mistakes occurred, by God’s preserving work of His Word, they are discovered and removed.

Thought: Do we treat God's Word with the same reverence as the Israelites did?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for preserving Thy Word.