Fresh Take on Bible Study
Updated: Feb 28, 2022
You know how you are listing to a radio preacher and they drop something really simple that just messes with your mind? Welll, that happened to me a little while ago (see below for source). I was getting ready when I heard the suggestion to copy Bible verses, chapters, even a whole book of the Bible, in a new way…
Always on the lookout to find a new source or method of studying, I was intrigued and set out to try it. Of course to give it a fair shake I decided to go with Romans (my favorite) as opposed to the more laborious books. And I was so pleasantly surprised at what I found in this “new” study method of (very simply) copying scripture in your own handwriting. I learned several things in the process, at varying levels of ummm… profundity? So here is what I found. Please pray that God has a sense of humor, if not, I could be in trouble.
- First I found I had to use my best handwriting. I’ve done other journaling that felt right to be impulsive and sloppy (because that is how I think). But for copying scripture, I felt drawn to use my best handwriting. (Yes, cursive. I could still hear Mrs. Chapman from Hinks School, telling me to SLOW DOWN!)
- As I slowed down, I noticed things. I
went back and forth from my notebook to my phone (easiest source for me to read), my attention was drawn to patterns, to repetitions, to odd word combinations. Things I would not normally notice, resonated. And it took longer before I would move on to each next topic.
- I gained new respect for jots and tittles. I found myself checking to be sure, literally, that the “i’s” were dotted and “t’s” crossed. Even making sure to accurately record colons vs. semicolons, and not dropping any commas.
- The conscientiousness I found led me to trust the historical work even more. Those who so long ago copied and translated scripture must have had an intense focus. I mean mine had little to no actual significance to anyone but me, but it felt important to be accurate. How much more crucial was their mission and intensifying their determination for accuracy?
- I felt like I was immersing myself in the word in a new way. It was so strange and so simple at the same time.
- Then, simple word/phrase/idea connections became profound. The trail of suffering, producing perseverance, producing character, then HOPE, was huge. I know I have read the verse so many times, and the beginning always impacted me, showing a reason for suffering. But this time the end result was the most powerful. All that, suffering, perseverance and character did not in my mind register that the end result was hope! Hope?! Wow. I’m still processing that one.
- Each chapter took up 3 to 5 pages of notebook paper, filled.
- It did leave me wishing I had chosen a notebook with the spiral at the top (I have a love/hate relationship with spiral bound notebooks).
- I did my neat, focused, copying on the right hand page of the notebook only. But found myself wanting to add ‘nuggets’ of discoveries in my scrawled loosely on the left hand page. The ‘scrawl’ differentiated it from the verses on the other page.
- I happened to learn that I can write a whole sentence and not understand/remember it. It had me stopping, and re-examining what I wrote frequently for understanding, and for accuracy.
- I also learned (or was reminded) that I can read a book or a passage for years, and still miss the “good parts”.
- This method of study is very simple. No major concepts to remember. Almost pure. No other influence, little distraction, just the word. I really like that.
- And probably least beneficial of my gleanings… I discovered that righteousness and circumcision both have A LOT of letters, and are used many, many, many times in parts of Romans. Many words I just write out almost automatically, but those two, I found myself having to spell them out in my head as I wrote (c-i-r-c-u-m-c-i-s-i-o-n).
What was possibly the best part was the opportunity to think through the transactional topics in Romans. I noticed more of the repetition of patterns, felt the trauma of the contrasts, etc. It has been really cool. I am only part of the way through, but am thoroughly enjoying the process. Sometimes studying seems hard, even too much like work at times, so since I am enjoying the writing, I am also enjoying that I am enjoying scripture!
For the really cool full story that led Dr. David Jerimiah to copying the scripture, go to: https://www.davidjeremiah.org/magazine/article/gods-word-written-on-your-heart-265