Write the Bible? Why would I want to do that when copies of the Bible are so easy to access? Digging Deeper into Scripture by reading it makes sense, but the thought of writing Scripture is raising huge question marks in my mind.
Writing the Bible out long hand with pen and paper offers us the opportunity to slow down the process of reading and enables us to see things we can see no other way. It also encourages us to reflect more upon God’s Word.
Copying the Bible by hand is an activity of FOCUS. Drawing our attention away from distractions and toward the Word, this practice provides us with time to think about the passage we are reading and time to dwell on its meaning and application.
Handwriting the Scripture tunes us in to the DETAILS in a passage that we might otherwise so easily overlook. The simple act of writing down words and phrases (often multiple times within a passage) helps draw our attention to them as words of importance. And when we extend our process to include things such as circling repeated words, phrases, or ideas; notating patterns; and drawing arrows between related thoughts, we make connections. And connections are the key to meaning.
Writing out the words of the Bible also helps us RETAIN what we have read. Studies show that the physical act of writing is one of the most effective ways to study and retain new information. Handcopying helps our mind recall Scripture at a later time and is great help when memorizing portions of the Bible.
Writing out the words of the Bible is not a new idea. In the Old Testament we have record of scribes. It was the job of a scribe to pass on God’s Word by making written copies. We know those scribes were revered for their knowledge of Scripture – developed through their continued copying of the Bible’s words.
Scribes were not the only people whose job it was to copy Scripture. Take a look at Deuteronomy 17:18-20:
And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
In this passage, it was not the scribe but the king who was commanded to write out the Scripture.
Whether it was the book of Deuteronomy or the entire Pentateuch, the assignment given to the king required a lot of writing. The process would force the king to slow down and FOCUS. It would give him time to think about the law of God he was sworn to uphold and to reflect thoughtfully upon it. As he wrote out the words carefully, line by line, he would see the DETAIL and it would be implanted in his mind and on his heart. And he would REMEMBER.
No, as we’ve seen, writing the Bible out long hand is certainly not a new idea. But it is a good one. One we would do well to engage in ourselves as we Dig Deeper into the Bible.
Writing out Scripture is a centuries-old practice that has been experiencing a “rebirth” in recent years through things such as Scripture Writing Plans and Journibles.
If you are looking for a way to Dig Deeper into the Bible, why not try WRITING IT. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
- Select a passage you would like to engage with. If a passage doesn’t come easily to mind, try beginning this journey by using a Scripture Writing Plan.
- If you have chosen to write out an entire chapter or book of the Bible, commit to writing it out in its entirety. This will help you see the book as a whole enabling you to get a big picture view. This is important to understanding in context.
- Designate a journal, notebook, or composition book to your hand copying of the Scripture.
- Prepare a quiet place for your work. Reduce distractions as much as possible and have your materials ready.
- Before you begin to write out the words of the Bible, quiet your mind. Then quiet your heart as you pray asking the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you and to keep you focused.
- Begin writing – slowly, thoughtfully. Focus on each word as you write it out. Ask what it means in the immediate and broader contexts.
- Do not rush. Take your time as you write. The goal is not to have another copy of God’s Word. The goal is to engage with Scripture and in so doing to meet with God. Remember the 9+ Reasons to Dig Deeper into the Bible. Savor the process and your time with Him.