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Regent University Presents: The Living Word

By Brett Wilson | March 21, 2013

Regent president, Dr. Carlos Campo, Dr. Jerry Pattengale, and Dr. Sara Baron, dean of the Library, cut The Living Word exhibit ribbon. Photo courtesy of University Marketing

"In the business of life, it's a very humbling thing to be sitting in the back of a cab crying," said Dr. Jerry Pattengale as he spoke to students and faculty at Regent University's weekly chapel service on Wednesday, March 20.

Pattengale recounted the story of how he was moved to this state of "sappiness" just the previous evening, while catching up on the latest episode of the History Channel's 'The Bible" series on his iPhone. Pattengale serves as the executive director of the Green Scholars Initiative, the "research arm" of The Green Collection, the world's largest collection of privately owned Biblical artifacts.

Though his work involves intensive researching and discovering these historical pieces, he was reminded in that moment that no matter what intellectual honors he receives, or how many books he authors, his work is not ultimately about him.

"I really felt like God was saying, 'Jerry, it's all about Me,'" said Pattengale, recalling his tearful cab ride. "'Whatever institutions you visit, and no matter where you go, it's all about Me.'"

Pattengale acknowledged that Christian institutions, like Regent, should be similarly mindful. He urged his listeners to be reminded that though Christian universities may have intricate buildings and impressive scholarship, their main goal should be to facilitate a way for their students to grow in their relationship with Christ.

"You need to look at the intentions of your institution and ask yourself where it intersects with knowing and loving God more fully," said Pattengale.

Regent's University Library provided a way for the members of its institution and the outlying community to gain a better understanding of God with its official opening of The Living Word exhibit immediately following the chapel service on Wednesday. The Living Word features more than 50 rare Biblical artifacts from The Green Collection's traveling exhibit, titled "Sacra Pagina" (the sacred page).

Dr. Amos Yong, dean of Regent's School of Divinity, addressed the students and faculty attending during the exhibit's ribbon cutting ceremony, and encouraged those viewing the exhibit to acknowledge the spiritual as well as historical importance of what they witnessed.

"As you go through the exhibit, think about how all of Scripture was created by the Holy Spirit, and about all of the men and women who discerned the Word for these documents," said Yong. "Think about how the Holy Spirit is present even as you and I open our Bibles today." Pattengale also addressed the attendees, and explained that he is convinced that he has been called to his position "for such a time as this," referencing the famous Old Testament story of Esther.

As they are ushered into the quiet pocket of the Special Collections Library housing The Living Word through Saturday, March 23, visitors to the exhibit will be able to view items such as the Megillah Esther Scoll, or a Complete Torah Scroll, with portions dating back to the seventeenth century.

Regent is the most recent stop for the "Sacra Pagina" exhibit, which has also been in several other U.S. cities and the Vatican. In several years, the collection will be housed in its own museum in Washington, D.C. Until then, Pattengale will continue to be humbled by the power of God, and the historical magnitude of The Green Collection. "I love how people still want to see and hear God's word," said Pattengale. "It's a blessing and it's great to be here."

Learn more about The Living Word.


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