Kingswood University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Southern Wesleyan University and God’s Bible College are each a recipient of an 18th century Torah scroll donated by Ken and Barbara Hess Larson. Torah is the first five books of the Old Testament.
The Larsons founded God’s Ancient Library, a collection of rare Torah scrolls from around the world. These “pasul” (no longer kosher) manuscripts, handwritten by scribes from the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and India, have been preserved and protected for more than 300 years and are being shared by academic institutions with people around the world.
“It is a lesson of the protection of God’s Word, and the 100 percent accuracy of what we are reading today as his truth,” said Dr. Todd Voss, president of Southern Wesleyan University (SWU).
Kingswood University President Dr. Steven Lennox said the scroll, “provides wonderful opportunities for our students to grow in their knowledge of the biblical text and its transmission, but also to deepen their appreciation of the Holy Scriptures. We are very grateful to the Larsons for providing this precious gift.”
“For us, the fact that OKWU’s mission statement commits us to the inerrancy of Scripture is important,” said Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Dr. Everett Piper. “It allows us to use the scroll as an important teaching tool to corroborate and affirm that inerrancy.”
Faculty members at God’s Bible College were thrilled to see such an old scroll from Yemen, according to Dr. Allan P. Brown, chair of ministerial education.
“We are also planning a public dedication of the Scroll, inviting our Jewish neighbors in the community to participate,” Brown said.
Ken Larson, the founder of Slumberland Furniture, a leading furniture retailer, is passionate about Christian ministry and giving back to the community. His wife, Barbara, has led Bible studies for four decades, led women’s ministries and has traveled to Haiti seven times with Healing Haiti. She grew up in a predominantly Jewish community in Chicago, where she developed a love for Jewish culture and people at a young age.