Now Serving! Pura Vida Coffee


The Return of Great Coffee!


Some of you may remember when we sold & served Pura Vida coffee in our 5th street store. We stopped carrying that some time ago due to rising prices. Since then we’ve reconsidered and are once again selling a limited amount of Pura Vida coffee. Come sample and purchase today’s blend. We’ll be featuring a different blend each time we order from Pura Vida, so the options will change frequently.

To read more about the Pura Vida Create Good company go HERE!

Wanted – Used Book Donations

Send us your piled, your floored, your bundled mass paperbacks yearning to be reread…

(with apologies to Ms Lazarus)

Help support The Scroll and clean your house at the same time!

We are happy to accept (tax deductible) donations of your literary overflow which we will resell at a reasonable price to bless a new reader. A tax receipt will be provided upon request.

Oct 11

Why should I care if The Scroll stays in business?

14525204_10154675040458274_440123625272517630_oDoes the “Shop Local” meme make sense?

I confess that I have been known to buy things off the internet. Sometimes there is no local option, and sometimes the economics and convenience are compelling. For instance, today I will be ordering supplies from Uline (I’m pretty sure I can’t find these items locally anyway) and they will arrive at my store tomorrow! That’s pretty impressive.

Many of us now stream our music and video, occasionally by Kindle copies of books for the same reason – cost & convenience. I certainly can’t fault anyone for those practices, even though they cut directly into some of our historical income streams. I utilize Pandora & Music Choice for most of the music I listen to. I know I’m not the only one!

So what is the value of shopping local? Frankly, small local shops seldom are able to pay their employees very well, and selection is often limited, and prices are generally not the lowest available. There is an argument to be made that if a local shop can’t survive by providing a needed service and shopping experience then perhaps we don’t lose much when they close.

Or do we?…  I really can’t speak for numerous other small local shops that may or may not continue in business, but I would like to just mention a couple of things that Tyler would lose if The Scroll calls it quits.

The first is community engagement and local ministry helps. Over the thirty years The Scroll has been in business, we have given well over $1,000,000.00 to local charities, predominantly to Living Alternatives/Loving Alternatives ministries, and to many others as well. Admittedly, our giving has been severely circumscribed by our economic situation in the last few years, but even in our losses, we’ve managed  to give a little to some very important groups in East Texas.

We’ve provided a platform for local authors & artists to share their works that isn’t available anywhere else in the community  We frequently host booksignings, etc from local authors and I’d personally love to see that expanded to allow artists and musicians to share their gifts with the public as well.

Perhaps the most important thing we offer is care & prayer. If you’ve shopped with us for long you’ve undoubtedly seen Donna stop and pray with a customer before they leave. I don’t guarantee that our entire staff is as open and aggressive about praying with folks, but I think all of us are intent on giving a personal touch to our friends and customers.

And of course, our homeschool area is unique in many respects. In addition to practical assistance to customers in choosing curriculum, I often see staff and even other homeschool customers encouraging and praying for folks. I recently experienced two personal exchanges that left me feeling we served a valuable position in our community.

Two mothers came looking for assurance and answers regarding possibly homeschooling their high school age child. Both were a bit anxious, and tense, feeling the heavy pressure of making a wise decision for their child & family. I’m not the homeschool expert, so I didn’t give them specific recommendations, but I was able to hear their needs, give them some options, and pray with them. They both left the store in a much calmer state than they had arrived with. You won’t get that kind of touch from Amazon!

And finally, there is my own salvation story, which involved a number of bookstores and books, and bookstore employees who had no idea that they were helping a seeker find his way home. You never know who will come into a Christian bookstore seeking and will leave with something that will change him or her for eternity!

So, are these things valuable enough to keep us around? I hope so. If you are reading this, you are most likely already sympathetic to the goals of our ministry. I thank you for your business and your concern. What do you think? What do you find valuable about the store? What should we improve or change? I’d love to get some feedback!



Aug 08

Loving someone who is dying.





I found this devotion from Zondervan Publishers to be thoughtful and for many of us quite timely and felt it would be worth passing on.

Blessings… David


Proverbs 25:11
Loving Someone Who Is Dying

My mother is dying from cancer. Scratch that: she’s living with cancer. She’s quick to point it out; she’s still here. And while cancer is winning the battle, my mother claims victory. The spoils? 

“Apples.” But not McIntosh or Fuji. Let me explain.

It’s not easy to find the right words to say to a person nearing the end of life. But words— spoken, written down, or prayed— shoulder the power to heal, comfort, and connect. Proverbs 25:11 illustrates so eloquently:

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

During her journey, my mother has received countless “apples.” Those eternal gifts were “aptly spoken” via cards, prayers, and conversations, each word a sweet balm.

People often struggle to express what a dying person longs to hear. What can we say to reverse the ravages of chemotherapy? What mere words could convey our sorrow? How do we express our fear and give voice to theirs?

My answer is this: embrace vulnerability and find creative ways to deliver those “apples of gold.”

Here’s how:

Read the Bible aloud. God’s Word offers comfort you sometimes cannot articulate. Try Psalm 23 for starters.

Write a letter. Don’t hold back; it might be easier to pen your feelings rather than speak them.

Use humor. Many cancer patients want to feel normal. My mother’s best friend often looked at my mom in all her baldheaded glory and said, “Well, Karen, we’re going to get out of your hair now.”

Say goodbye. This is perhaps the scariest part. I simply held my mother’s hand and told her that despite our difficult seasons, I loved her.

(Devotion by Diane Meehl, from the book Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts by Kathe Wunnenberg, publication August 6, 2013)

* * *


Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts



How often do you see a friend in distress or crisis, but feel helpless to really make a difference?

Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts takes the mystery out of how to be the hands and feet of Jesus to anyone in need of hope, comfort and care. Kathe Wunnenberg, whose hope-lifting ministry has impacted the lives of thousands, demonstrates simple, practical ways that acts of creative compassion can transform lives.

Whether it’s encouraging a jobless friend, lifting the spirits of someone trapped in depression, leaving an anonymous gift for a grieving mother, hosting a starting-over shower for a divorced friend, or playing one small part in long-term support for a family in deep crisis, daily opportunities to make a difference in hurting lives are limitless for a Hopelifter

Nov 21

A quick look at “The Voice” Bible translation.

The Voice Bible Cover

The Voice

As noted in my prior post on Bible translations, we certainly have no shortage of Bible offerings to consider. In the last few years, there have been several notable and excellent translations and translation updates. The English Standard Version, the Common English Version, the updated NIV, the Holman Christian Standard have all been released within the last 5 years and each has its own strengths and value. We truly live with an almost embarrassing wealth of Bible riches.

I’m currently reading a unique translation called “The Voice”, a free eBook on my new MY|eebo color tablet (available from The Scroll!) I’ve been wanting to read this for a while but had lost track of the new testament version I had taken home some time ago. The eBook version was a pleasant surprise, as has been the translation itself.

The goal of all translation is to accurately present the meaning of the original text in a contemporary language. “The Voice” has this same goal. But where most translations tend to unify the style of writing throughout the Bible to present it as one book (it is God’s Word, after all), “The Voice” attempts to let the stylistic differences from each human author stand out, resulting in a fresh new rendering.

The translation team was made up of both Bible scholars/translators and wordsmiths (authors/musicians/pastors/poets) with the goal being accuracy in rendering the meaning AND the voice of the original text. This collaborative process results in a text that really does present often too-familiar texts in totally new way. You can listen to the story of the men walking on the road to Emmaus in the clip below.

From the preface to “The Voice”:

With “The Voice” Bible we acknowledge the difficulties translation teams face and offer what might be described as a mediating position between the extremes. We describe our approach as “contextual equivalence.” Recognizing that context is the most important factor in determining the meaning of a word, sentence, paragraph, or narrative, we have sought to create a Bible translation that preserves both the linguistic and the literary features of the original biblical text. A “contextual equivalent” translation technique seeks to convey the original language accurately while rendering the literary structures and character of a text in readable and meaningful contemporary language. This particular translation approach keeps in mind the smaller parts and the larger whole in endeavoring to translate sacred Scripture. “The Voice” captures uniquely the poetic imagery and literary artistry of the original in a way that is beautiful and meaningful.

“The Voice” has a few other interesting approaches to Bible translation. To help the reader understand how a passage compares to the original text different textual indicators are utilized.

1. Standard type denotes the dynamic translation that forms the base of the Bible: from the collaborative process mentioned above with translators and wordsmiths working in tandem to create a highly readable and accurate text.

2. Italic type indicates words not directly associated with the dynamic translation but which bring out nuances and completing thoughts that would have been known to the original reader. Including this directly in the text in this way helps the contemporary reader understand more about the text without having to resort to footnotes for clarification.

3. Delineated material expands on the text. Set apart by text style and color, this is extra information that is not from the original text that helps provide background, etc. to further understanding of the text. Again, not having to resort to footnotes, helps the reader quickly understand what is happening as he is engaged with the message.

4. Screenplay format is used for spoken parts. I first thought this was a bit gimmicky, but it is growing on me. The intent is to set the dialogue apart from the text for reading clarity and to improve options for public reading. If you’ve already listened to the video clip above you can see how this could be used in a public drama very easily to make this passage of scripture come alive in our hearts as well as our minds.

One final distinction of “The Voice” is the method of translating the the term “Christ”, which is actually a transliteration  of the Greek word “Christos”. I like the line in the preface:

The unfortunate effect of this decision [to transliterate] is that most readers mistake “Christ” as a kind of second name for Jesus.”

The reality is the that the term in not a name but a title. It is the Greek translation of the Hebrew title “Messiah.” The writers of the New Testament are making a strong claim, that Jesus is not just a nice guy, or great teacher, but is the promised “Anointed One” that the Jews were expecting. With that in mind, and recognizing that no one English word could encompass all that the word “Messiah” meant to the Jews, the translation committee chose to render “Christos” as “God’s Anointed” or “the Anointed” or “the Anointed One,” depending on the context and narrative form. Occasionally to highlight and remind us of the Messiah’s primary function the term is translated “God’s Anointed, the liberating King,” once again dependent on the context.

There is an excellent website dedicated to “The Voice”, with much more information, comments from readers, and videos of dramatic readings from the text and statements from the translators about the process. It is worth checking out. I do recommend this Bible translation, and would love to hear your take on it as you read it for yourself. Feel free to add your own comments.


Nov 01


I think I need to stop reading facebook at least ’til the election is over. I’ve become a bit of a curmudgeon on political issues, and my blood pressure is undoubtedly elevated from the interplay with my less informed (read that – left leaning) friends and relatives. Like most of us, I have no doubt that my position is the correct one and I just don’t understand how anyone can see it differently!

Fortunately, I’m not in charge. I am personally going to vote straight ticket Republican (not because I think the elephants are better, but just because the Democratic party consistently aligns itself with what I consider to be the wrong side of the argument) but I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday regarding the whole politics deal.

God is still in control. It’s hard to understand that sometimes. How do you accept that statement if you are a Jewish concentration camp resident in Nazi Germany, or a Cambodian seeing your loved ones lying dead in the killing fields, or a Tutsi in the midst of the Rwandan genocide? Not that I’m comparing either outcome of our election to such horror, but it does give one something to think about. If God is in control what would it be like if he wasn’t!

Now to the epiphany… I will vote. I will undoubtedly voice my concerns and (perhaps over-enthusiastically) champion my causes on facebook and elsewhere. I will continue in my certainly that my position is the correct one. But my prayer is a simple one. God bless America – not necessarily with the politics I think is correct, but with the results that will be best for our country and our people. Remember the examples above? I don’t know how they could possibly be good for anyone, but if God is in control, and God is working all things together for the good of those he calls – then even results that seem dire on the surface must have an eternal purpose.

This isn’t a very sophisticated theology. This only touches the periphery of the problem of pain and suffering and free will versus God’s sovereignty and all those heavy and insolvable philosophical conundrums that occupy so much of our deep thinker’s thinking. But it does help me to focus on the important. God is in control. There is an eternal perspective that eclipses my own temporal one. I will pray for wisdom, use my best judgement on the right choice, and trust God for the outcome, even if I disagree with it! (plus there will be another election soon…<g>)

So don’t forget to vote, and I won’t pretend that I don’t want you to vote like I do, but either way, vote. And pray. Pray for wisdom, and for God’s blessing on this most unique political experiment that is the United States of America. The result may not be exactly what we think it should be, but God is still doing His thing. We can rest in that.


Jul 17

Do we really need ANOTHER Bible Translation?!!

David Rooker

David Rooker

I’m not a Bible scholar in any regard. I’m just a Bible salesman with a lot of years experience who has read through the Bible many times in many different translations. So this piece represents somewhat-educated opinion rather than genuine erudition. With that quick disclaimer out of the way, I thought I’d share a little bit of my thinking on Bible translations.

The furor over Bible translations is not new. I suspect there were Jewish traditionalists who objected to the Greek translation (Septuagint) and others before it on the grounds that God’s Law should only be written in Hebrew. The English translator and early protestant John Wycliff literally gave his life to translate the Latin Vulgate (also a translation) into English so the common man could read the Bible for himself. I found this interesting paragraph about one of John Wycliff’s followers at ““, a rare Bible site.

One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The last words of John Hus were that, “in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.” Almost exactly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of heretical theology and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) into the church door at Wittenberg. The prophecy of Hus had come true! Martin Luther went on to be the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the commonly-spoken dialect of the German people; a translation more appealing than previous German Biblical translations. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs records that in that same year, 1517, seven people were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic Church for the crime of teaching their children to say the Lord’s Prayer in English rather than Latin.

Thankfully current Bible translators don’t have to worry about being burned at the stake, although the verbal pilloring of some recent translation committees make me suspect there might be those who would favor such. There is a grand English tradition of translation, from Wycliff to Tyndale to King James and countless others since; there seems to be no end of translation efforts. Do we really need them all?

The short answer is: yes. A more reflective answer is that our English language is so fluid and changing that the goal of an accurate rendering of an ancient text into contemporary English is extremely hard to hit. Idioms, definitions, and usage of common terms change by the hour, it seems, and it is very difficult for a team of scholars to create a translation that can accurately reflect the original meaning to succeeding generations of readers.

Of course accurate translation depends on an accurate original language text to translate from. This presents another difficulty as there are absolutely no original texts (autographa) available to compare to. We are left to sifting through thousands of copies of varying ages and making educated guesses at what the original text actually said. Wikipedia has an fascinating article on the subject that says in part.

None of the original documents of the New Testament is extant and the existing copies differ from one another. The textual critic seeks to ascertain from the divergent copies which form of the text should be regarded as most conforming to the original.[29] The New Testament has been preserved in three major manuscript traditions: the 4th-century-CE Alexandrian text-type, the Western text-type, and the Byzantine text-type, which includes over 80% of all manuscripts, the majority comparatively very late in the tradition.

Since the mid-19th century, eclecticism, in which there is no a priori bias to a single manuscript, has been the dominant method of editing the Greek text of the New Testament (currently, the United Bible Society, 4th ed. and Nestle-Aland, 27th ed.). In textual criticism, eclecticism is the practice of examining a wide number of text witnesses and selecting the variant that seems best. The result of the process is a text with readings drawn from many witnesses. In a purely eclectic approach, no single witness is theoretically favored. Instead, the critic forms opinions about individual witnesses, relying on both external and internal evidence. Even so, the oldest manuscripts, being of the Alexandrian text-type, are the most favored, and the critical text has an Alexandrian disposition.[30] Modern translations of the New Testament are based on these copies.

A question I’m asked frequently is “How does this compare to the King James Version?”, when looking at a modern translation. This question is generally occasioned from accusations the questioner has heard that a new translation has intentionally deleted portions of text for theological reasons. The real reason for any omission generally lies in the above quoted information. With the passing of time, scholars have determined that previous original texts may have actually been inaccurate and the newer translations have taken that scholarship into account.

A more important question should be can we trust the translators to give us a reliable rendition of the text they use? I believe that we can. There is no translation available at The Scroll that I would hesitate to recommend based on the intent of the translators, and the reliability of the text.

You will also hear opinions that a given translation is “the best”, or the “most accurate”, based usually on that person’s preferred translation philosophy. Translations fall on a continuum of translation styles that have two fancy names bracketing it. On one side is the “Formal Equivalence”, a literal or “word for word” translation versus “Dynamic Equivalence”, which attempts to render whole thoughts in contemporary forms & idioms. Both have their positives & negatives. Again from Wikipedia…

A variety of linguistic, philological and ideological approaches to translation have been used. Inside the Bible-translation community, these are commonly categorized as:

though modern linguists such as Bible scholar Dr. Joel Hoffman disagrees with this classification.[19]

As Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible, like all languages, have some idioms and concepts not easily translated, there is in some cases an ongoing critical tension about whether it is better to give a word for word translation or to give a translation that gives a parallel idiom in the target language. For instance, in the New American Bible, which is the English language Catholic translation, as well as Protestant translations like the King James Version, the Darby Bible, the New Revised Standard Version, the Modern Literal Version, and the New American Standard Bible are seen as more literal translations (or “word for word”), whereas translations like the New International Version and New Living Translation sometimes attempt to give relevant parallel idioms. The Living Bible and The Message are two paraphrases of the Bible that try to convey the original meaning in contemporary language. The further away one gets from word for word translation, the text becomes easier to read while relying more on the theological, linguistic or cultural understanding of the translator, which one would not normally expect a lay reader to require.

So where does all this leave us? Can we even trust the Bible at all? In spite of manuscripts with many variations the important ones are actually very minimal. Even where whole paragraphs are considered questionable, it doesn’t really affect major Bible truths. God has preserved the central message of His Word, and it is still “quick & powerful & sharper than any twoedged sword…”And frankly, if your pet theology depends on a given translation for it’s proof, I’d suggest reconsidering your theology!

I came to the conclusion long ago, that the very best way to approach Bible translations was to read MANY of them. (I started to say ALL, but that would be improbable!) The difficulties presented to the translators lead to the many varieties of expression in the same text. When we compare these efforts we are given an improved opportunity to hear what the original writer was really saying. Bible comparison reading gives the serious Bible student a valuable study tool – and the Holy Spirit one more way to speak to us!

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