At the end of each year, I begin planning for the year ahead. Like so many others, resolutions are made to eat healthier, exercise more, and save money. As a Christian, my list also includes things like daily Bible reading and improving my prayer life. While those resolutions are good, you know how it goes. I do well for the first few days or weeks in January, but before long I go back to my old habits.
I’ve always struggled with being a daily Bible reader. Sometimes it’s been a matter of priority, but it is more than that. I’m just not a reader. I did well in school because I’m a great skimmer who knows how to read to quickly find the main idea and key points in a passage. Obviously, this not the best method for Bible study. When I try to slow down to carefully read a chapter, my mind wanders in other directions and before I know it, I have no idea what I just read. I knew that I had to find a better method of Bible reading and Bible study than what I was doing.
Years ago, my husband wrote an article about a command that God gave to kings in Deuteronomy 17:18-19. The kings were told to take a pen in their own hand and write a copy of the book of the law. What an overwhelming task that seemed! Kings are busy people, yet God thought it was worth the time to write out Scriptures by hand. If God thought it was beneficial for kings, maybe it would benefit me, too. It might be a way to keep my mind focused on the Scriptures by using more than one learning style.
I bought a couple of journals and began writing the New Testament. I had no specific rules about how to do it or daily amounts to write. I just knew I wanted to keep going until it was done. I completed the task in December of last year. Since then, I’ve worked on Psalms and Proverbs.
So what did I learn from my Bible writing resolution, and how was it more beneficial than just reading?
- Meditation! When you write the Bible rather than just read it, you have to go at a much slower pace. You look at a sentence, copy it, maybe look again for accuracy, and finish copying it. The process involves all the learning styles. I see the sentence (visual), rehearse it in my head so I remember what to put on the paper (auditory), and write it down (kinesthetic). By slowing down to this degree, I caught many Biblical insights that I had missed before. I found nuances in the relationships between people and felt the emotions of Bible characters. We are repeatedly told to meditate in Psalm 119. Interestingly, in Hebrew, the definition of the word “meditate” includes to ponder, imagine, speak, utter. Meditating goes far beyond just Bible reading. It is reading and then taking the time to reflect and mull over what we read, even speaking about it aloud. As you slow down to write Scripture, meditation comes quite easily.
- Example! I want my family to know that I value and respect the word of God. What better way for them to see that than to find me committed to writing Scripture. Sometimes I wrote in the pre-dawn hours when I couldn’t sleep and sometimes late at night. Sometimes I found myself so into what I was writing that I only stopped because of an exhausted hand. I want my children to know that spending time in God’s word is an important part of my life.
- Legacy! I am old enough now that I am well aware that my days are short on this earth. When I am gone, I want to leave my children something of value, something tangible that can continue to affect and make an impression on their lives. I hope that when I am gone, they can picture me sitting at the table with my open Bible, journal, and pen and that those journals will serve as memories to them that God was my priority, my first love, and the One to whom I was totally committed.
Resolutions for physical health are good, but spiritual resolutions that can strengthen you and leave a lasting impact on your family are better (1 Timothy 4:8). Try writing Scripture and you will be amazed at the benefits you receive!