In 2 Timothy 4:11-13, we discover Paul's desperate plea for
"the scrolls and especially the parchments.”
The Parchment Project calls us back to loose sheets of parchment and lengthy scrolls used before bookbinding existed.
While bound books impact the distribution of the Scriptures to the masses, the masses risk losing the impact of the context within individual books. Layers of pages blind the reader's eyes from connecting the parts and the whole together.
Before developing this retro layout, I struggled to see "the forest for the trees" in sections Romans 9-11 or the entire book of Galatians. I longed for a Bible in the form of parchments so I could lay them side by side to see the big picture.
Paul's second epistle to Timothy introduces us to his passion and need for the BIG picture. Imprisoned in Rome, he prepared a project.
He planned to unroll his copies of the Holy Scriptures' 39 books. He especially counted on the "parchments" in order to consult previous notes and outlines.
He also needed a team. Only Luke, his faithful traveling companion, was with him. He requested the services of Mark; now a proven servant, a close companion and scribe of Peter.
Together they crafted a comprehensive picture of God's plan as it had unfolded over the previous 6 decades. The fruits of their labor served as a defense in Paul's second trial before Caesar. Neither trial acquitted Paul of the crimes he had been charged.
With God in control, defeat becomes a stepping stone to victory. Eventually, in the case of Paul's parchment project, the Holy Spirit inspired and credits Luke with "an orderly account" to be sent in two volumes to Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4..., Acts 1:1-3...).
It is uncertain whether Theophilus was Paul's defense attorney or the leader of a community of "God lovers" (Theos-phileo).
In either case, there existed a keen need to know the breadth and depth of God's work. Luke-Acts traces the gospel of Jesus Christ, the acts of the Holy Spirit and galvanizes the readers' faith with certainty.
The survey of these vital events enhances learning so that disciples of Jesus Christ will make disciples; who, in turn, make disciples.
Seeing the big picture remains important for our needs today. Our concerns and projects benefit from a broad and deep faith in God. He transforms communities of disciples as they obey Him.
With the help of the parchmentproject.com, reading an entire book of the Bible no longer seems so overwhelming. In fact, it becomes inviting. Having the context in full view enables you to enjoy agile learning experiences.
TPP aims to help more people discover more about the God of the Bible. The joy of first-hand discovery fuels our trust in Jesus Christ and our obedience through the power of His Holy Spirit.
May God bless you and His Word as you seek Him.