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In 1899, two men B.P. Grenfell and A.S. Hunt were excavating in Ancient Tebtunis (southern Egypt). They discovered a crocodile cemetery. In disgust, a workman flung a mummified crocodile against a rock. Out popped some papyrus. Other crocodiles were opened, and it was discovered that they had been stuffed with papyri to help hold their shape. All kinds of documents were included in these findings, including ancient classics, royal ordinances, petitions, contracts, accounts, private letters, and for the most part they were dated in the first and second century A.D. Before the papyri were found nobody had ever read a manuscript of a first century scribe that had been written in the language of the common people of Egypt and Palestine. In making a study of these papyri, it was discovered that they were written in the same exact language of the New Testament. The New Testament books were written in the dialect of the middle class in the vernacular of the home and shop. They were written by both the learned and unlearned to working men in the tongue of the working man. Christianity from its beginning spoke the tongue of the peasant. It’s no wonder that Mark 12:37 reads “the common people heard him gladly.”

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