A team of researchers accidentally discovered what could be the oldest known copy of a gospel in existence.
The scientists were looking at a papyrus wrapped mummy mask when they discovered a piece of the Gospel of Mark. The papyrus dates back to around 90 A.D., at least 10 years older than any previously found Biblical gospel text.
The Smithsonian said that the mummy mask for the average person turned into a mummy was recycled material like papyrus. The classic image of ancient mummies with jewels and golden sarcophagi was only for the wealthy.
The research team will be using a method to unglue papyrus that will keep smearing the ink.
“We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries,” Craig Evans, a professor of New Testament studies at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, told Live Science.
Evans said that the mummy mask’s text could show that the Gospel of Mark has been changed over time by multiple translations.
Wycliffe Bible Translators USA has said that over 5.8 billion people worldwide now have access to God’s word.
“Last year, Wycliffe Global Alliance reported that 4.9 billion people could access at least part of the Bible in their first language. This year the number has grown to 5.8 billion,” Bob Creson, president and CEO of Wycliffe, told The Christian Post. “This represents tremendous progress toward our goal of starting a translation project in every language needing one by 2025.”
Creson said that advances in technology that increase the speed of translations have helped them.
“There are about 7000 languages in active use and at least one book of Scripture exists in almost 2,900 of these languages,” noted Wycliffe Global Alliance. “At least 1.3 billion people do not have the full Bible available in their first language. Over 634 million of these have the New Testament; others have portions or at least some level of work begun.”
Noted evangelist John Piper says that pastors who are bullying and using fear to control congregations need to be rebuked for their sinful actions.
Piper addressed a question from a listener on his podcast about abusive leaders within the church.
While Piper said the words “bully” and “bullying” are not in the Bible, the application of what the Bible calls “bad shepherds” applies in the cases of what we today would call bullying.
“Does the pastor get down and live alongside his people, giving examples to them or is he always pompously pronouncing with a domineering sense of I’m a big shot in this church and you guys ought to toe the line,” Piper said. If it was the big shot mentality, Piper stated, “That’s bullying and that’s the opposite of what God calls his shepherds to be.”
Piper also said that in some cases what is called bullying is really pastors exercising the authority given to them by God to rebuke and correct those under their teaching to guide people to be more like Christ.
Piper added if someone is unsure about their pastor’s actions, to “go to the Bible, especially the New Testament, use all of it to form a well-rounded picture of what biblical leadership and biblical shepherding is and then measure your pastor by that.”