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Introduction: sometimes we forget, or take for granted, the easy availability of God’s Word. Retail stores (not just Christian bookstores) sometimes have copies of the whole Bible for a dollar per copy! Secondhand or thrift stores occasionally have donated Bibles and other portions for a very nominal price. I once found a leather-bound study Bible for $2.00 USD!

That wasn’t always the case. Before the printing press was developed (kudos to Gutenberg!), everything—everything—had to be copied by hand. To say the least, this must have been a tedious process, comparing the text to be copied and making an exact copy onto the blank scroll or whatever material being used.

We’re not told much about who did the actual copying of Scriptures. One clear example is found in Jeremiah 36, where the LORD told Jeremiah to make a “book (scroll, most likely)”of all the messages God had given. Jeremiah did the verbal part, and Baruch did the writing. The sad story of how that scroll was treated is found later in Jeremiah 36 (the king, shall we say, didn’t like it).

But somehow, a copy of Jeremiah’s scroll found its way to Babylon! Daniel mentioned this in chapter 9 of his book, how that he “sought by books (scrolls)” how many years the Hebrew people would remain in captivity in Babylon (9:1-2). Something I confess that I haven’t really given much thought to is this—where did the “books” come from?

Who wrote them? Were these brought or taken from Jerusalem, or were they produced in Babylon? Did Daniel have access to other portions of the Old Testament (notice he said “books”, in the plural) there in Babylon?

Chances are, even though Daniel was among the most educated of his day, he didn’t write or copy Jeremiah’s messages. Admittedly, he may have done so but was forbidden to mention this.

The one thing we can be grateful for is this: through the years, there has always been any number of unsung heroes who worked on making copies of the Scriptures. Daniel had access to Jeremiah’s messages. Many years later, Jesus Himself preached from a copy of Isaiah (Luke 4:17-19) and after that, the Ethiopian eunuch was reading from Isaiah 53 when Philip met him on the road to Gaza (Acts 8:26 and following).

We may never know who made these copies, but we can be grateful for what they did. These unsung heroes kept the Word of God available for many years. Where would we be otherwise?

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV)

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