Why are there missing ancient scrolls of the Bible?

Despite its long and storied past, there are still many missing ancient scrolls of the Bible that have never been found. So why are there missing scrolls, and what do they tell us about the history of the Bible?

One reason for the missing scrolls is simply the passage of time. The oldest copies of the Bible were written on fragile materials like papyrus and parchment, which deteriorate over time. Many ancient texts were lost or destroyed due to natural disasters, wars, and other historical events.

Another reason for the missing scrolls is intentional destruction. Throughout history, different groups have sought to control or suppress the message of the Bible. In some cases, this has led to the intentional destruction of texts that were deemed heretical or unorthodox. For example, during the early Christian period, some texts were considered apocryphal or non-canonical and were excluded from the official canon of the Bible. These texts were often suppressed or destroyed in order to maintain the authority of the official Bible.

A third reason for the missing scrolls is simply the fact that not all ancient texts have been discovered yet. Many ancient scrolls are still buried in archaeological sites or hidden away in private collections. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the mid-20th century is a prime example of how new discoveries can shed light on previously unknown aspects of the Bible's history.

Despite the fact that there are missing scrolls of the Bible, scholars have been able to reconstruct the text through the use of multiple manuscripts and other historical sources. Through the process of textual criticism, scholars are able to analyze different versions of the Bible and make educated guesses about what the original text may have said.

Subscribe to Bible Analysis

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson