HOW THE INSPIRED WRITINGS WERE PASSED DOWN
THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Old Testament was written between 1440 B.C. and approximately 400 B.C. The Law of Moses was maintained in the Hebrew community by the priests of the temple. Later books continued to be deposited with these leaders until the destruction of the temple and then found their way into the teaching community begun by Ezra and continued in the synagogues. Trained scribes copied biblical texts by hand until the modern printing press came into use. The copies of the Masoretes of the ninth century A.D. are very close to the recently discovered Dead Sea Scrolls, which originated a thousand years earlier.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament books were copied by local Christian communities and passed from one to the other for decades before an entire collection was made. Since the early letters were written on papyrus, they wore out rapidly and required regular copying. In the early fourth century A.D., fifty copies of the entire Old and New Testament Greek Scriptures were made at the order of the first Christian emperor, Constantine. It is likely that the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus codexes, two of the longest early manuscripts to survive, originated from the order.