Know Your Bible

VOL. 9                           March 7, 2010                           NO. 9

 “Ever Known Anyone Who Has Written The Bible?”


    I love preaching about growing in our relationship with God. I speak often about reading the Bible, praying, and meditating. But I’d never thought much about writing or copying scripture as a spiritual discipline until I met a sister in Christ who remarkably has copied the entire Bible---by hand. Think about that!


    I don’t remember how I found out but when I did I couldn’t help but ask her about it. I knew enough about spending time with God and the rewards of it, that I just had to ask what her task was like and what she gained from it. I also told her I wanted to write an article. She consented but asked that I not mention her name.


    Upon first glance this might seem a strange idea. She says, “When I first told my brother I was writing the Bible, he said, ‘You can’t do that! God’s already done that for you!’ His joking taught me to say I was copying God’s word.” We are blessed with the printed word today but prior to our days kings in Israel were required to write a copy of God’s word for themselves to read and use as a guide for leading the nation (Deut. 17:18-20). So, it’s really not new.


    This sister’s time spent in copying the scriptures was personal time spent with God’s word and not designed for bringing attention to herself. However, it is my desire to share the fruits of her handwriting journey so that we all might see the value of private devotion. If someone can copy the entire Bible in love for it, can’t we at least read it? I give the article to you in interview style.


Q: What motivated you to copy the Bible by hand? A: “In 1984, I copied several Psalms to help me survive depression. It was so comforting. I later copied Matthew and Joshua to celebrate my son’s birthday since they were named after these books. Every summer I studied Proverbs with them. After they left home, I copied Proverbs to remember those special days. At a gospel meeting in 1985, Harold Comer asked the question, ‘Ever known anyone who has written the Bible?’ I thought, ‘What a huge, time consuming accomplishment that would be!’ It sounds impossible! In 2005, I attended the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit. That was the match that lit the fire of my desire. Thoughts of great people who copied God’s word and lost their lives flooded my emotions. I left the exhibit with a desire to hand copy God’s word as a gift to my sons that they would find after my death. Never did I think I would be the one receiving such a huge gift to enjoy in this life! Also, my dad was a great inspiration to me while writing. He encouraged me to stay with it. It gave him so much joy as he envisioned the encouragement it might give to others to spend time in the word. After I finished my task of copying the scriptures, I wrote some reflections about it. I gave that piece to my dad this past holiday season on the anniversary date of him obeying the gospel thirty years ago.”


Q: What did the process of copying the scriptures by hand do for you spiritually? A: “God’s perfect word going through my hand, fingers, and eyes has helped my life’s struggles of depression, grief, sorrow, anger, bitterness, loneliness, guilt and emotions that rob me of joy. God has blessed me with hiding His word in my heart as Psalm 119:11 says. His word has made me know joy and gladness as written in Psalm 51:8. I have found a way to be still and know God (Psa. 46:10).”


Q: How long did it take you to write your own copy of the scriptures? A: “I first wrote the New Testament twice. One for each son. I started writing the Old Testament on my birthday in June of 2005. I finished on September 20, 2008.”


Q: If you could mention one major thing learned from your copying experience, what would it be? A: “‘Know Me”. God is teaching, ‘I want you to know Me! I have made a way for you to know Me’.  It became very personal. Ezekiel was the hardest book to write but I learned my best lesson in my hardest writing. Over and over, the word ‘know’ is in Ezekiel.”


Q: Are there any special memories that came from your time spent copying the Word? A: “I loved writing beside my granddaughters while they slept. It feels so comforting. One day I walked into the room to see my three-year-old granddaughter holding my Bible, pen, and notebook. She was scribbling up her best over my writing. She saw me and said, ‘ Look Grammy, I am writing just like you. This says, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And over here I wrote Jesus and God.’ As she proudly spelled G-O-D my heart rejoiced. Also, one night when I was first writing, I looked up to see my husband watching me with tears. He said, ‘What you are doing is so beautiful to watch!’ He repeated those words many times during the next four years. My mother who struggles with seeing copied Philippians and gave it to me for my birthday. And other family members and friends have done some of their own copying as a way to concentrate on the Word. Once I was writing at a hospital and let out an ‘Oh, no.’ The nurse asked, ‘What’s wrong and what are you doing?’ When I told her my glasses broke, she said, ‘Come on. We’ll fix this!’ She took me to the specialist at the hospital and I got new glasses - free! And too, I have had a special place in my heart for families who suffer from adultery and divorce. I encourage and challenge them to use copying God’s word as a tool to rise above this ‘heinous sin’ (Job. 31:11). We can have new strength and not be weary as Isaiah 40:31 teaches.”


Q: Are there any other things you found amazing as you wrote? A: “I very soon learned that almost daily, where I was writing would correspond with something happening in my life. A fun example is that I dislike flying. On a flight to San Diego, I opened my Bible to write. I was at Acts 1:9; Jesus flying in the clouds! I looked out of my window at God’s beautiful creation and laughed at my fears. And during a time when something wrong was done towards me, I was writing in 1st Kings 21 where Naboth’s vineyard was stolen by Jezebel.”


Q: You mentioned something about some fun verses. What do you mean? A: “My fun verses are Isa. 55:12; Job 38:7; Job 38:22 and Zechariah 10:8. Did you know God whistles? This reminded me joyfully of my whistling grandma.”


    Pertinent to our times, our sister said, “As those around our nation worry about losing stock, savings and 401K’s, I have labored to leave a spiritual inheritance to my children and children’s children as taught in Proverbs 13:22 and Psalm 78:1-8. Even if my copies are lost, my children know my gift to them and my love of God. That’s a great comfort to me!”


    Well said. Let us all be devoting much quiet time to God and His word. It is the path to holiness and Christ-likeness.


                                                                                                                                                                                 ---Jeff May
                                                                                                                                               Via The Exhorter, February 2010


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