“World’s Third Oldest Bible” Now on Display

The Codex Washingtonianus is one of the world’s oldest copies of the gospel accounts by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (or, as they appear in it – Matthew, John, Luke and Mark). It’s now on display along with other ancient manuscripts at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It is a handwritten copy of these four Bible books.

The manuscripts are a source of discussion about church history, theology and textual criticism. But before delving into some of those subjects, such as the differences between this copy and the ones with which we are more familiar, consider the significance that this manuscript even exists.

The Codex Washingtonianus has been dated to the fifth century A.D, but it has been suggested it could have even been originally copied in the first century. Regardless, this set of manuscripts provides us with a very old and reliable piece of evidence linking our beliefs to the time of Christ and the first-century Christians.

The Bible was originally written by men who “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21, ESV).