Although we do not have the original manuscripts of the New Testament, we do have more than 99.9 percent of the original text because of the faithful work of manuscript copyists over the centuries.
Copying was a long, arduous process. In ancient days, copyists did not sit at desks while writing–but, rather, stood or made copies while sitting on benches or stools, holding a scroll on their knees. Notes at the end of some scrolls tell of the drudgery of the work:
- ‘He who does not know how to write supposes it to be no labor; but though only three fingers write, the whole body labors.’
- ‘Writing bows one’s back, thrusts the ribs into one’s stomach, and fosters a general debility.’
- ‘As travelers rejoice to see their home country, so also is the end of a book to those who toil.’
Even so, without the work of the faithful copyists, we would not have the Christian Scriptures today. As one scribe aptly noted: ‘There is no scribe who will not pass away, but what his hands have written will remain forever.’
If you truly want your work to last, do work that touches the eternal truth and nature of God.