Last year about this time – to be specific, it was one year ago tomorrow – I wrote a post called “Contents of the Ancient Lead Codices of Scripture Revealed!” If you remember, this was just after some archaeologists announced that they had discovered some new codices (books) of Scripture which were covered in lead. I wrote this post about the content of those amazing books. They filled in many holes in our ecclesiology…
(By the way, if you enjoy this post, you might also enjoy these posts, which just happened to have been published on April 1, 2010 and April 1, 2008 respectively: “Jesus is not risen” and “A Completely Biblical Church.”)
Recently, news sources have reported the existence of some ancient (2000 years old) lead-lined codices (books) which have been described as (possibly) “the biggest find since the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
While scholars and academic-types discuss and debate the source of these new codices, very few have mentioned the ground-breaking contents of these old manuscripts. I had the opportunity to scan a few of these pages, and make public (for the first time) my translations of the ancient scripts.
From a previously unknown letter from Paul to the Corinthians, we read this: “Concerning my previous letter, I do not want you to be ignorant. When I wrote that whenever you gather together you should edify one another, I did not mean your worship services. During worship services, it is necessary for you to sit quietly and learn from your leaders. They will edify you. However, when you meet in your small groups, which are not church gatherings, then you should edify one another under the authority of a church designated teacher.”
Also, there was this page from a missing section of Paul’s letter to the Romans: “And when I arrive, please do everything that you can to arrange a meeting with Simon Peter, Bishop of Rome. I need his ruling on a few rules of doctrine and to ask his blessing on some things that I have written that others say are difficult to understand.”
There was also this alternative opening to Peter’s first letter: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ and Bishop of Rome…”
Apparently, Paul wrote a third letter to Timothy which we have just now recovered. It begins like this: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God to Timothy, my beloved son in the faith and senior pastor of the church in Ephesus.”
A previously unknown work of obvious apostolic origin detailed the necessary beliefs of all Christians in the categories of Scripture, God, Man, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Salvation, Church, and Eschatology.
Another codex collects several of Timothy’s sermons to the church in Ephesus and Titus’ sermons to the church in Crete. As an added bonus, a sheet was folded and stuffed into the back of this codex which gave detailed minutes of a church business meeting which included the ordination service of Titus’ successor as senior pastor of Crete after God called Titus to a larger church nearby.
Finally, almost miraculously, a bulletin for a church service in Philippi survived the years among this collection. It turns out that this church service began with prayer and three songs. After taking up an offering and a special choral anthem, the pastor preached from three verses from the letter that Paul had recently sent them. Then, after singing another song and praying, they were dismissed. According to a note at the bottom of the page, you could have received a 10% discount from a nearby restaurant by showing this bulletin.
I can’t wait to read more from this exciting discovery!