I still remember during my first trip to London many years ago, I decided to give the Changing the Guards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace a miss (and until today, after numerous trips to London, I still have yet to witness this Ceremony, and friends have been telling me I don't know what I miss).
But for me, there was something else that was far more important to see. I would rather exchange the Changing the Guard Ceremony for a visit to the British Library. The reason was simple - I wanted to have a look at the Codex Sinaiticus and other sacred texts that are on display at the Sir John Ritblat Gallery that showcases the treasures of British Library. As an NT scholar, I would not give a visit to have a peek at this very important Codex a miss.
Over the years, I still make return visits to the British Library. This current trip to England is no exception. I was at the British Library recently, and I remained speechless and overwhelmed with a sense of awe when I stood before the display of the Codex Sinaiticus. This important Codex, discovered at St Catherine Monastery at the foot of Mt Sinai (hence the name, Codex Sinaiticus), contains the earliest copy of the complete New Testament dated back to the 4th century. On display is the final section of John 21, including John 21:25. Also on display are the portions of the Old Testament in Greek as well, and one can view portions of Psalms. It is interesting that the layout format for the NT text and OT text is slightly different. The NT was written in four columns format (see the image above) while the Psalms were written in two column format.
Displayed next to the Codex Sinaiticus is another important manuscript dated to the 5th century known as the Codex Alexandrinus. Numerous important Bibles such as the Lindisfarne Gospels dated back to the 7th century, the Wycliffe Bible dated late 14th century and Parc Abbey Bible dated 12th century are also on display.
I have always told my friends that we need to know the heritage and tradition of our faith and our scripture. If you are planning for a visit to London, make a tour to the British Library a priority. Perhaps like me, the Changing the Guards Ceremony and visit to Buckingham Palace can wait. And the best is, a visit to the gallery that houses the treasures of our sacred texts does not charge any admission fees!
By the way, as an evidence for my love for scripture, I even bought a poster of the Codex Sinaitucus that is now nicely framed and proudly on display in my office.