This manuscript almost got me in trouble. I’ve told this story on the DL in the past, but I do not believe I have on the blog. This image comes from a book I purchased back in 1993 during the Papal visit to Denver. The “Papal Treasures” exhibit was in town, and Rich and I went to visit it one afternoon during our outreach efforts. Early on in the exhibit, almost right inside the door, was a sealed case containing this portion of manuscript î72 containing the end of 1 Peter and the beginning of 2 Peter. This is the earliest extant papyri of these books. As I stood gazing down upon this small piece of papyri from a few decades one direction or another from A.D. 200, a flood of thoughts filled my mind. First, what a wonderful thing that in nearly two thousand years, the Spirit was still active, for He had made this ancient brother of mine from long ago love the Scriptures enough to hand-copy this manuscript, and generations later he had created a love in my heart for the same words. Second, why on earth did I forget to bring my Greek NT for comparison’s purposes? Third, look at the obvious nomina sacra in the first chapter of 2 Peter! There’s the Granville Sharp Construction! Fourth, I can write better than my ancient brother! And finally, will that security guard over there get suspicious? In answer to the last, yes, he did. Rich had to keep dragging me off to go look at some boring tiara or some other solid gold object for a while before getting back to it. I’d be translating along and others would come up. They would look at the placard describing the manuscript. They would look down at the manuscript itself, and then look quizzically at me as I mumbled along, translating the text. They would look at Rich and ask, “Can he read that?” Rich would say, “Yes,” and I’d hear, “Hey George, come over here, this fellow is reading this ancient manuscript!” and soon I would have to move on again, having drawn way too much attention from the guard once again.
   In any case, I happened to run across the book I purchased at the end of the tour that day that had this very high quality image in it. My full scan of it (which I use as a desktop background) is fully readable…in fact, in some ways, more readable than it was in the case when I saw it in 1993. Actually, even the version of it I have loaded in SplashPhoto on my Palm T5 is readable, that is how clear it is. Even the 400pixel wide version above displays the clear sign of the nomina sacra and you can see the Granville Sharp Construction in 1:1, here blown up for you:
   See it? It starts at the end of the first line with TOU, then at the beginning of the next line you have the abbreviated form (nomina sacra) of God, then HMWNKAISWTHROS followed by the abbreviated version of Jesus Christ (again using the nomina sacra forms). OK, so I’m strange to get all excited about an ancient text containing a particular grammatical/syntactical form. What can I say? It happens to be relevant to the deity of my Lord, His power to preserve His Word, and His fulfillment of His promises to do so! So I get excited. I hope you do too!

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