Have you ever copied an entire book of the Bible by hand? We have, and we know a number of folks who have, not to mention the many people whose faithful copying of scripture enabled us to have a copy of the Bible in our hands today. If you haven’t given it a try, or haven’t engaged in copying lately, let me try to convince you that it might be worth revisiting!
Things Happened While I Copied Scripture
My first foray into copying Scripture was the book of Mark. It took me a few weeks, but they were rich weeks.
- I looked more closely at the text than I ever have and noticed things I hadn’t before.
- My kids saw me spending intense time focused on the word. Not just focusing, but having fun writing and demonstrating that I was choosing the Bible over entertainment and my to-do list.
- I developed a routine of reading and paying attention to what things ACTUALLY said and not what I thought they said.
Does This Have Anything to Do with Apologetics?
Yes! Hand writing scripture gave me a deeper confidence in the written transmission of scripture. Copying words by hand isn’t my profession or life’s work, but I was able to do it accurately. The people who passed this down were far more practiced and competent than me. I noticed:
- I made mistakes, but was typically able to catch them
- Even when I made a mistake, it didn’t change the whole meaning
- Hand writing is a slow enough process that allows the writer to plan ahead and look back on their work
- After I finished, others were able to compare my work to the copy I was working on and see if I had changed anything intentionally or otherwise
For more on manuscript transmission and reliability, the Christian Research Institute has a great article (http://www.equip.org/article/the-bibliographical-test-updated/).
You Can Do This!
- Don’t overthink or overcomplicate it
- Go at your own speed
- Set simple goals (ex. I’ll write 2 chapters a day)
- Enjoy spending time closely reading the word in a different way
Simple Materials: My Suggestions
- The Free Way: In the past, my husband has typed out verses on his computer. It doesn’t require quite the same amount of concentration or care to avoid mistakes, and you may retain a bit less by typing quikly, but this is a free option to get in the habit!
- The “Almost” Free Way: Grab a notebook and pen you already have laying around the house and get to copying that Word.
- The “I’m Making This A THING” Way:
If copying scripture sounds like something you’d enjoy, give it a try! If copying scripture sounds like something your KIDS would enjoy, set aside some time to work on it as a family, or set them up with a journal and your blessing. How sweet would it be to have a hand written family Bible a few years down the road? Pretty sweet, I think.