I have been memorizing the book of Ephesians since last year. It's been a slow and steady process. As part of the memorization, I have been writing out the entire book of Ephesians in a Moleskine notebook. Then the thought hit me: wouldn't it be awesome (and very ambitious) to write out the entire Bible. Crazy thought I know! But a quick Google search proved that it's not as crazy as it seems. I found lots of people who are writing out the Bible. There was even one entry where a family had its patriarch's handwritten scriptures bound in leather books as a family keepsake.
But as awesome as the idea was, I knew I could never do it because I work, have three kids and don't have extra time to spare. Then, as only the Holy Spirit can, He whispered: "instead of scrolling, you could be scribing." Well, that sure put a damper on all excuses.
The time I spend scrolling through timelines on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, can be spent writing out the Bible. So, I deleted the apps from my phone (because it's so tempting to scroll when it's easily accessible) and am determined to get with scripture writing the entire Bible.
And I'm in good company. For thousands of years God’s people had scribes whose job it was to pass on God’s Word by making written copies. In the Old Testament, scribes were revered for their knowledge of Scripture developed through copying the Scripture.
In Deuteronomy 17:18-20 (NASB) God handed down guidelines for all future kings of Israel:
18 “Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.
Did you see that? A directive from God for the kings of Israel was that they were to write out the Law for themselves! Well, if it's good for the kings, then it's good for me too.
Here are some of the benefits of writing out God's Word:
- It aids in scripture memorization.
- You notice details you may have missed as you read or heard the Word.
- You experience Scripture in a whole new way because the act of writing is a physical engagement with the Bible.
- As Deuteronomy 17:19 points out, it helps us revere the Lord.
- It helps us follow carefully all the words of Scripture and keeps pride at bay (Deut. 17:20).
If this holy practice resonates with you, I have a few tips:
- Choose a book to start writing and stick with it.
- Commit to writing out a whole book of the Bible instead of selected passages. This aids in understanding the book in its entire context.
- Decide on a specific notebook that will only be used for Scripture writing.
- Retreat to a quiet place so you can prayerfully write the Scriptures and focus on the verses.
- Take it slow. No need to rush. The goal is not only to write on paper, but for the words to be written on your heart as well.
Yesterday I did a Periscope broadcast on the importance and effectiveness of writing out scripture. You can find it here.