A Devotional Discipline: Writing the Scriptures February 21, 2022

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God gave His Word once and promised to preserve it to every generation (Psalm 12:7). No new truth is being revealed and it is our conviction that God’s last word to man on this side of eternity is found in the final Revelation of Jesus Christ that was given to John. When I speak of writing the Scriptures I am not referring to someone writing additional texts of the Bible. In fact, on the last page of the Bible we are warned against “adding to” the complete and all-sufficient Word of God (Revelation 22:18). 

Instead, I would like to recommend to you a devotional discipline that has been a great help to me in recent days. As a student I used to hear teachers say, “Your mind works as your pencil moves.” There is a great deal of truth in that concept. As you write you are engaging many of your faculties – eyes, mind, hand – in the recording of information. Besides helping you to think through a concept more thoroughly, it is also a wonderful aid in memory.

This year I have begun to do something that I have not done before with my daily Scripture reading: I am writing out portions of God’s Word in a journal. It has brought back memories from homiletics class in college where we would “recast” a portion of Scripture on a chart. I am amazed at how certain things like repetition of key words, shifts in emphasis, lists, and a host of other things are jumping off the page!

One devotional danger is that we begin “skimming” the Bible. Like scanning the news for the headlines we reduce our Scriptures to catching a few of the highlights. There is so much more just below the surface!

The old Puritans used to speak of levels of Bible reading. They suggested that you can read the Bible in a narrative way. You can read for history and grammar (and you should!). But then you can begin to read the Bible for worship – to commune with God. This is truly a devotional approach to God’s Word. 

Every word of the Word is important and the very words matter. If this is so, learning to do more than simply read it will help you to concentrate and investigate more deeply. Writing out Scripture forces you to fully engage with the text, and what a joy it is!

We read the Bible, memorize the Bible, study the Bible, meditate on the Bible, pray through the Bible – but do you ever write out portions from the Bible?

  1. Scribes wrote out the Scriptures. The Old Testament scribes (men like Ezra) were tasked with the transmission of truth from one generation to another. They were meticulous about the recording and copying of God’s revealed Word. The Massoretes gave us our Old Testament text and were known for their thoroughness and for their reverence. For example, when they came to the covenant name Yahweh they would stop, take a bath, and get a new pen to write that holy name. It is of note that the scribes became the teachers of the law. The more acquainted you are with Scripture the more prepared you will be to share it with others.
  2. Kings were told to write out their own copy of the law. Think of it! King David, with all of his servants and scribes at hand, was told to personally write out his own copy of the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 17:18). Why? In this way God was saturating the mind of his leader with His eternal truth. Writing Scripture helps you to think through it and personalize the message to your own life. Even leaders are not above this. Only as we know God can we know what is right to do.

And so, in my journal I am trying to write out passages from God’s Word. I would like to encourage you to give it a try! You may just be surprised what you see when you begin to write what you have just been reading.

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6 Comments

  1. Tina on February 21, 2022 at 8:28 AM

    Thank you for all the lovely emails you send to all that subscribe and the incite on this one!

    I’ve incorporated reading these emails after a family meal with my kids and I love the hymns and the background story of them!

    Thanks again for your service for our Lord! What a great Saviour we serve.

    Looking forward to the conference in Canada this year!

    • scottpauley on March 4, 2022 at 11:31 AM

      What a blessing! Thanks for letting me know. I am looking forward to being back in Canada!

  2. Angela on February 21, 2022 at 7:22 PM

    I began doing this last fall and it helps me to better understand the message. I also find that when I read out loud it helps by slowing my mind to pronounce the difficult words and names ?
    Taking notes when listening is a must for me or I’m sure to forget what I just heard. I enjoy listening to your messages and often scold you for going so fast as I pause and find the passage or take notes. ?

    • scottpauley on March 4, 2022 at 11:32 AM

      Sorry for going so fast!

  3. Jonathan on February 28, 2022 at 10:21 AM

    Thank you and your team, for all the work and words you share with us. I to have just recently incorporated this in my quite time, I am currently writhing out 1&2 Thessalonians, and must say as I watch the words form from my pen, It truly is engaging me in a deeper way with the scriptures. God’s richest blessings on you and your family and ministry.

    • scottpauley on March 4, 2022 at 11:34 AM

      So glad to hear it! Thank you and God bless you and your family.

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