The English word “paper” is derived from the Latin papyrus, which came from the Greek paʹpy·ros. In Bible times paper was a thin writing material made into sheets from strips obtained from the papyrus plant.—See PAPYRUS.
The Egyptians are credited with being the first manufacturers of papyrus paper for writing purposes, using papyrus plants that then grew along the banks of the Nile River. Some archaeologists would place such paper production as far back as Abraham’s time.
Early Christians used papyrus paper for their letters, scrolls and codices. It also played an important part in the production of Bible manuscripts, until it was replaced by vellum (fine-grained animal skin) in the fourth century C.E. At 2 John, verse twelve, the apostle wrote that he would rather convey his message “face to face” than with “paper and ink.” Here the word “paper” translates the Greek word kharʹtes, which is said to mean a sheet of paper made of papyrus.