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Isaiah scrolls bring Bible to life for pastor

The Bible "came alive, said Kent O'Grady of Woodbury, when he prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane, swam in the Dead Sea, boated on the Sea of Galilee, and imagined the Sermon on the Mount as he walked where Jesus walked.

The Prelude Homes chaplain and Rockpoint Church member expects a similar feeling when he volunteers as a host at "Experience the Word," a one-day exhibit from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, at his Lake Elmo church.

Visitors will see rare Biblical artifacts — several of them will be in the open, without glass—brought to the east metro by ancient scriptural text expert Dr. Scott Carroll to demonstrate the passion and precision of people who lived and died to preserve the Bible.

"This exhibition, if people can see and in some cases touch these scrolls, they can experience God's word and believe that God's word is real," said O'Grady, a member of Rockpoint Church.

Carroll—who has a Ph.D. in ancient studies and specializes in ancient papyri and manuscripts and can read 13 ancient languages—will speak three times, explaining the significance and importance of the artifacts. Carroll has worked with the Green family, founder-owners of Hobby Lobby, and has assembled much of their private collection, the world's largest privately owned collection of biblical artifacts.

Some of the featured items at the exhibition include one of only a handful of known early-modern Isaiah scrolls dating back to this period, multiple Torahs (scrolls) including one that will be dedicated to the people of Rockpoint, more than 20 priceless artifacts dating as far back as the oldest surviving texts of scripture, and a working replica of the Gutenberg Press—the same one which was previously displayed at the Vatican.

Carroll's speeches include:

• "Enduring Toil — The World of Hand-Written Bible Manuscripts," 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.;

• "Ink & Blood — Rare Printed Bibles Through the Time of the KJV," 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.;

• and the "Torah Dedication," 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The sessions are designed to help attendees' understanding of: how the Bible was painstakingly hand-copied for multiple millennia and yet remains virtually unchanged; the price that people paid in order to preserve the word of God; and the importance of the accuracy handed down from generation to generation.

"Many people don't understand the preservation efforts taken over a thousand years to preserve God's word," O'Grady said. "It was copied by humans, but it was done in such painstaking detail to preserve the accuracy.

"I believe these words are the inspired word of God. I believe God was working through man to document these details through that process. God's hand was on that process, and the copying of that document over the years."

Anonymous donors have funded the exhibit, which is free and open to the public. Rockpoint Church, an Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) church, is located at 5825 Kelvin Ave. N. in Lake Elmo

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