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Parchments (3200) (membrana from a Greek transliteration of the Latin pergamena = that which pertains to Pergamum; see also Latin = membrana; English "membrane" = a thin pliable sheet of material forming a barrier or lining) describe manuscripts written on parchment or vellum (this term describes the finest parchment from calf skin) and made originally from the skin of a sheep, goat or calf. This verse represents the only NT use of membrana (no uses in the Septuagint). In preparation of parchment, the animal hide was soaked in lime to remove the hair, then shaved, dried and smoothed out with stones. It follows that parchment was generally extremely expensive and were therefore used for only the most important documents. Moulton and Milligan note that parchment or membrana is "a Grecized form of the Lat. membrana, “parchment,” said to be so called from Pergamum in Mysia, where it was first manufactured Parchment - Wikipedia The ISBE entry says that "Parchment is made from the skins of sheep, goats or young calves. The hair and fleshy portions of the skin are removed as in tanning by first soaking in lime and then dehairing, scraping and washing. The skin is then stretched on a frame and treated with powdered chalk, or other absorptive agent, to remove the fatty substances, and is then dried. It is finally given a smooth surface by rubbing with powdered pumice. Parchment was extensively used at the time of the early Christians for scrolls, legal documents, etc., having replaced papyrus for that purpose. It was no doubt used at even a much earlier time. The roll mentioned in Jeremiah 36 may have been of parchment. Scrolls were later replaced by codices of the same material. After the Arabs introduced paper, parchment was still used for centuries for the book bindings. Diplomas printed on “sheepskins,” still issued by many universities, represent the survival of an ancient use of parchment. See following article. (Orr, J., M.A., D. D. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: 1915 edition) Smith's Bible Dictionary has an interesting note that "Parchment was used for the MSS of the Pentateuch in the time of Josephus, and the membrana of 2 Tim. 4:13 were skins of parchment. It was one of the provisions in the Talmud that the law should be written on the skins of clean animals, tame or wild, or even of clean birds. A T Robertson writes that membrana refers to "The dressed skins were first made at Pergamum and so termed “parchments.” These in particular would likely be copies of Old Testament books, parchment being more expensive than papyrus, possibly even copies of Christ’s sayings (Luke 1:1-4). Ralph Earle in his commentary on 2 Timothy notes that "there is an interesting historical parallel to Paul’s request. William Tyndale, who translated the first NT printed in English, was imprisoned in Vilvorde Castle near Brussels before his execution in 1536. In the year preceding his death he wrote to the governor, begging for warmer clothing, a woolen shirt, and above all his Hebrew Bible, grammar, and dictionary." John Wesley told the preachers under his care to read or get out of the ministry! The great men of God have notoriously been great prayers and great readers! Hiebert draws a challenging conclusion from Paul's requests writing that "Even as an old man facing certain death, the apostle has not lost his interest for study and mental pursuits. It presents a standing challenge to the minister to be an indefatigable student, especially of the Word of God. (Hiebert, D. Edmond, Second Timothy, p. 120, 1957) Alexander Whyte comments regarding Paul's desire for the books and parchments noting that he belongs to "That elect, and honorable, and enviable class of men that we call students of New Testament exegesis. Surely they are the happiest and the most enviable of all men, who have been set apart to nothing else but to the understanding and the opening up of the hid treasures of God’s Word and God’s Son. (The Walk, Conversation, and Character of Jesus Christ our Lord) +++ BOOK FRIENDS - The apostle Paul sat alone in a Roman prison facing his final weeks on earth. The wet cold of the dungeon must have pierced his bones as he penned a letter to his young friend Timothy, urging him to come before winter (2Ti 4:21). He asked Timothy to bring a cloak with him, which would shield him from the gnawing chill, and to bring the scrolls, and especially the parchments. The parchments, made of animal skins, may have been copies of parts of the Old Testament. The “books,” made of papyrus, were probably scrolls. Clearly, Paul did not plan to write another weighty theological letter like the book of Romans. Nor was he about to prepare more sermons. He needed those books to warm his heart and to keep his mind alert. A famous French author has written “The wise men who have written before our time are travelers who have preceded us in the paths of misfortune, and who reach out to us their hands to invite us to join their society when all others have abandoned us. A good book is a good friend.” We need to cultivate good reading habits. The Bible, of course, is number one. But God also uses good book friends to encourage our heart and stimulate our mind.— Haddon W. Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) Immortal words of truth we’ve read, So powerfully penned, so filled with grace, Will follow us through all our days And spur us on to win life’s race. —DJD A good book—like a good friend— is always there in your time of need. "Copy and paste the address below into your web browser in order to go to the original page which will allow you to access live links related to the material on this page - these links include Scriptures (which can be read in context), Scripture pop-ups on mouse over, and a variety of related resources such as Bible dictionary articles, commentaries, sermon notes and theological journal articles related to the topic under discussion."

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