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Dead Sea Scroll Caves

When history is the topic at hand and mouths yawn, I perfectly understand. After all, I am a teacher and have been exposed to many circumstances that make slumber a viable option for exhausted students. Some topics like history have a tendency to seem boring.

However, there are certain history stories that have so greatly impacted our lives—and in my case, my faith—that they are exhilarating! The Bible is a case in point. This treasured book is the product of historical finds of ancient manuscripts.

Cave in Qumran, where the dead sea scrolls were found in Israel

Once, a shepherd boy (or perhaps a goats’ herder) was wandering in the desert region of Qumran. He was trying to round-up any stray animals. That is when he spied a cave.

Naturally, an animal trying to escape the heat and sun may have sought shelter in such a place of refuge. The boy tossed a rock inside to scare any of his animals out. Instead, he heard the crashing sound of broken pottery.

Now, his curiosity got the better of him. He climbed into the cave and saw that his stone had broken a clay vase. Parchment with writing on them were strewn about.

He brought some of these parchments back to his father. They kept them for later use. When they went to a market place, they attempted to trade them, to barter for items they needed.

The price of these ancient manuscripts of the Bible were ridiculously low. In actuality they were priceless. Someone in the marketplace recognized their intrinsic value and got the herdsmen to agree to show them where they were discovered.

Dead Sea Scrolls, Qumran Caves Scrolls, manuscripts found in the Qumran Caves near the Dead Sea in Israel

This launched one of the largest, most productive archeological expeditions in modern times. From this came many other caves. Ultimately, over 900 fragments and manuscripts of the Bible and other historic notations as well were retrieved from these caves.

It was a great find because of the historic significance. Yet, there was more than that. These documents validated the precision of the current Bible translations that were being used in modern times.

The Bible is not just an amazing anthology written over decades by scores of different authors. It is a well-preserved book with an uncanny accuracy that has spanned the ages of civilizations and catastrophic human events. These caves in this desolate part of the world are a major player in this profound validation of the Holy Bible. Not a bad story that all began with a shepherd boy tossing rocks into a cave.

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by Bruce Fong. This article first appeared on Bruce Fong’s Blog here. Used by permission. The original find was in 1947.

Ministering at the intersection of parachurch, pastoral, and academic ministry, Bruce W. Fong is committed to teaching God’s Word “to anyone and everyone who will lend him an ear.” By serving as the Dean of Dallas Theological Seminary–Houston and Professor of Pastoral Ministries, he is excited to minister to and train the next generation of Christian leaders. Dr. Fong and his wife, Yvonne, have five children (three children plus two in-law children that he and his wife love so much that they are counted as their own). He enjoys the outdoors, spending time with his family, and riding his motorcycle.

To read more of Dr. Fong’s writing and see some of his photographs, check out his blog here.