A Hidden Treasure
The curator opened an imposing wood and brass door and flipped a few light switches. My eye was first drawn to a lovely stained glass window inspired by the journey of the Word of God into English. Then I saw the pristine glass cases containing dozens of Bibles, some hundreds of years old. This treasure trove of historical Bible manuscripts is not in some obscure, unreachable location, but right here on the campus of Pensacola Christian College.
The Bible Manuscript Room is a trek through history. The tour starts with Hebrew and Greek manuscripts copied before the Bible was ever translated into English for the first time. One of these works is Jacob ben Chayim’s Hebrew Old Testament. This Jewish scholar set out to edit and compile ancient Hebrew texts and, at the end of his studies, could no longer deny that Christ was Messiah.
From the medieval period, there are Latin Vulgate and early English Bibles. It is obvious that these volumes have been very well loved through the centuries. It was amazing to me to think that they were owned by Christians who loved and used their Bibles just as we do today.
My personal favorite exhibit was a small New Testament with Psalms, signed and given by Florence Nightingale to a soldier during the Crimean War. In the same case are a Bible owned by William Booth and a Russian Gospel of John that was designed for use in prison camps.
Through thousands of years and hundreds of languages, God has given and preserved His Word for us. The Bible Manuscript Room is a celebration of His goodness. With such a treasure on campus, you would be remiss not to experience it.
(The Bible Manuscript Room is open for tours Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM. See the Library Circulation Desk to begin your tour.)0