What comes to mind when you look at your Bible? Is it a gift from someone special, a family heirloom, or a daily source of inspiration?
For Christians the Bible is God-breathed and the final authority on matters of life and godliness. When I think of my Bible lying on my desk, next to commentaries, a concordance and Scripture memory verses, I think of God’s Word revealing life, light and love.
But, after viewing the Passages Bible display, I will never take the historical accuracy of the Bible and my freedom to study it for granted. Passages is both a museum-quality Bible exhibition and a media experience, with special effects and interactive displays for all ages.
With more than 450 items organised chronologically, ranging from actual fragments of the ancient Dead Sea scrolls, to hand-copied monastic manuscripts and early printed copies of the martyrs of the Reformation, Passages reflects the historical, personal and evangelistic significance of the Bible.
After viewing the Passages Bible exhibition, most people exclaim that ‘they will never look at their Bible the same way’, Aaron Rutherford, managing director of Passages, said.
When asked to choose his favourite item on display, Mr Rutherford described the beautiful and magnificent 1611 first edition of the King James Bible, which is on display in the Jerusalem Chamber room and was first owned by the king’s friend and household treasurer.
Another highlight of the Passages exhibit is the discovery of parchment pages written over in several languages over five centuries. This document, called the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, was discovered in the 1890s, but now, with new computer capabilities, the under-layer of writing reveals portions of the Old Testament in Aramaic, the language that Jesus would have read.
After viewing the exhibit twice, I was intrigued to view early Bible study aids, confirming that biblical commentaries, Bible memorisation, pocket Bibles and parallel versions of the New Testament are not modern ideas.
My favourite exhibit of such an aid is a Dutch manuscript (1460-1480) of a poem, in which each word reminds the reader of a chapter in the Bible, to aid memorisation.
Since 2011, Passages has visited five cities in the US, in addition to Jerusalem, the Vatican and Cuba.
The Green Collection
Passages is part of a much larger private assemblage of more than 40,000 valuable biblical antiquities, called The Green Collection, named after the sponsoring family, who are owners of the largest privately owned arts and crafts retailer in the world (Hobby Lobby).
This rare collection and research project will be on permanent display in Washington DC in spring 2017.
Mr Rutherford commented on the Green family’s ability to run a business according to biblical principles because of their ‘love of the Word’.
Out of these convictions grew this phenomenal biblical testimony, to share publicly and preserve historic aspects of the Bible for future generations.
Because this is a private collection, it is not under governmental or ecumenical control or censorship. The organisers welcome people of all beliefs, due to the exhibition’s truthful and historical basis.
Although not explicitly stated, the enduring Word of God is proclaimed, honouring the faithfulness of God. ‘So shall my Word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it’ (Isaiah 55:11).
For more information and resources, please visit http://explorepassages.com