In the spring of 1947 an Arab shepherd chanced upon a cave in the hills overlooking the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea that contained what has been called "the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times." The documents and fragments of documents found in those caves, dubbed the "Dead Sea Scrolls," included Old Testament books, a few books of the Apocrypha, apocalyptic works, pseudepigrapha (books that purport to be the work of ancient heroes of the faith), and a few of the books peculiar to the sect that produced them.
Approximately a third of the documents are Biblical, with Psalms, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah - the books quoted most often in the New Testament - occurring most frequently. One of the most remarkable finds was a complete 24-foot-long scroll of Isaiah.
The Scrolls have made a significant contribution to the quest for a form of the Old Testament texts most accurately reflecting the original manuscripts; they provide copies 1,000 years closer to the originals than were previously known. The understanding of Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic and knowledge of the development of Judaism between the Testaments have been increased significantly. Of great importance to readers of the Bible is the demonstration of the care with which Old Testament texts were copied, thus providing objective evidence for the general reliability of those texts.
Taken from "Setting the Stage for the Messiah" by Discover the Book Ministries (used by permission).