King James Bible

The Great Isaiah Scroll

The Great Isaiah Scroll is an important testimony to the accuracy of the King James Bible. The scroll dates to 100BC and yet despite a few minor spelling and grammatical differences it shows the Masoretic text (which underpins the Old Testament in the King James Bible) is faithful to the original text. Most of the differences in the texts are simply grammatical; for example, spelling certain words with an extra letter which does not alter the pronunciation.


The Great Isaiah Scroll was found in a cave near the Dead Sea by Bedouin shepherds in 1947. The Isaiah Scroll and the other scrolls found there became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Isaiah Scroll is the most complete scroll out of the two hundred and twenty found; it is complete from beginning to end. It has been dated to one century BC. At over 2100 years old it is the oldest complete copy of Isaiah still in existence.

The Isaiah Scroll has been carbon-14 dated at least four times. The four studies produced date ranges between 335 BC and 107 BC.

The scroll contains the biblical Book of Isaiah, which is thought to have been popular at the time because of the number of copies found at Qumran just above the Dead Sea. The Isaiah Scroll is the only complete copy. The scroll is written on 17 sheets of parchment. It is very large, being about 24 ft. long and 11 in. high. There are 54 columns of text.

The scroll was sold by the Bedouins to an antiques dealer who happened to be a member of the Syrian Church. He sold it to Anastasius Samuel, the Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox Church in East Jerusalem. Mar Samuel brought the scroll to America, hoping to sell it and the three others he had in his possession. They were bought by Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin for $US250,000 in 1954 and brought back to Israel. The scroll is now housed in Jerusalem at the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum.