Where are Bible Manuscripts kept? Priceless Papers

The Bible is the most popular book of all time but where are the original manuscripts. Imagine you can get the original manuscripts from which the current translations were gotten from and you can see for yourself and compare to see the authenticity or to know which of the modern translation is correct. it would be great and there would be less or no argument about which is the most accurate.

Many people have been trying to find ways to get these manuscripts – some archeologists have gone on journeys to discover these manuscripts. Not all yield success. The original manuscripts that are found or available to date are little or probably none exist anymore.

Where are Bible Manuscripts kept?

The original Bible manuscripts have been lost, destroyed or hidden. The New Testament was written nearly 2000 years ago and there remains a fragment in The Manchester Library. The Old Testament was written 450 BC and the oldest copy is the Septuagaint from 300 BC.

The bible has been written thousands of years ago. It was added to little by little till a full bible was combined. People must have copied from the original manuscripts that time before anything happened to them. the books used to be placed in the ark of the covenant. The Pentateuch, the first five books of Moses were kept there before others were added.

The truth is that despite the protection that was given to these manuscripts as at the time they were written, most did not make it. but they have probably been translated before they were destroyed. Possible reasons why the original manuscript is not available anymore.


P. Oxy. VI 846 Amos 2 (LXX) (Where are Bible Manuscripts kept?)
P. Oxy. VI 846 Amos 2 (LXX) 750 bc – Courtesy of Wikipedia

Talking of the materials that these words were written on – they are not durable and cannot last for long. It is easy that these materials are destroyed and possibly be attacked by any animal where they were kept. In the Old Testament, the common material that people used to write on is the skins of an animal. This leather or skin can get destroyed or get burnt by anyone.

The transferring of this material can make it tear. In the New Testament, unlike the Old Testament, papyrus rolls were used. After a while, there was an upgrade; people started using papyrus codex, something that looks like the modern-day books. These materials are perishable and this could be one of the reasons why we couldn’t get original manuscripts today because they couldn’t last many years.


Over time, something that is strong will get weaken and then get spoil or destroyed. This might be the same thing that happened to the manuscripts. That is why everything is different now. If it was at this age, they could have been properly preserved. The environmental conditions, the weather might not be favoring the manuscripts and weakens them faster.


We know the story of Israel and we know that they were in exile when they disobeyed God. the things of the temple were taken away and it most likely that the manuscript might have been taken and then misplaced by people who do not value the writings.

“But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon.”

Ezra 5:12 KJV

The Babylonians destroyed the temple of the Lord and this may mean that most manuscripts were being destroyed with it. Also, people were transferring the manuscripts, scholars translating these manuscripts. since the manuscripts were made of weak materials, they could easily be destroyed.

“And thou shalt not escape out of his hand, but shalt surely be taken, and delivered into his hand; and thine eyes shall behold the eyes of the king of Babylon, and he shall speak with thee mouth to mouth, and thou shalt go to Babylon.”

Jeremiah 34:3 KJV

There was a tradition amongst the Jew when the manuscripts are being copied or translated, they are destroyed. This tradition must have been effective in the 5th century AD that the scribes who translated or copied the manuscripts of the New Testament must have destroyed them also.

Destroyed During the War

One of the things that the Israelites faced almost every time in their lives is war. There were wars fought by different kings. Only King Solomon did not experience too many wars. War could bring a different level of destruction. When the King of Babylon carried all of Judah in captivity, it was through a war that they could not win.

“And they that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia.”

2 Chronicles 36:20 KJV

Deliberate Destruction by Kings

One example of this is found in Jeremiah 36:23.

“And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.”

Jeremiah 36:23 KJV

In the New Testament, Christians were persecuted and then the manuscripts were destroyed too.

Before the original manuscripts were destroyed by people, there had been some other copies that have been copied. One thing about these copied writings is that we can be sure it has not been added to or removed or edited to suit oneself interest.

Bible Fragments

Although the Old Testament of the Bible was written before 450 BC, there are still fragments from before that time! The Aleppo Codex (c. 920 CE) and Leningrad Codex (c. 1008 CE) are some of the oldest forms of fragments around that contain Biblical writings but they are mixed with other teachings.

The New Testament was written just under 2000 years ago and there are fragments that are dated not long after the books were written. There are 5800 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, more than any other book from history, at that time or before. So while there is no complete version of the Bible, there is plenty of evidence to prove its validity.

Fragment of the Gospel of St. John  400 AD

The Gospel of John was written between 80 AD and 100 AD and we still have a fragment of the text that is dated anywhere from 100 AD to 200 AD at Manchester Library in the Uk. Could this have been written by John? Either way, history confirms the Bible and as the Dead Sea Scrolls, there could be hidden treasure out there kept for the time of God’s choosing.

Where are Bible manuscripts kept?

However, there are reviews before after the copying – not immediately but over time, they were able to be reviewed and compared. This is the main reason why some books were not included in the most canon of different denominations of Churches.

Even if there are no original manuscripts, there are copied ones preserved in different locations of the world. There is Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus. Talking of the oldest manuscript, these are the ones considered to be the oldest. With the vast amount of evidence that still exists around the world, we can be assured that God has left us enough to know His word.

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