This past year I have finally found a good rhythm for my daily quiet time, something that I can be consistent with, even when I don’t have a lot of time or energy. Want to know my little secret? It’s pretty simple, actually. I am writing out Scripture, copying a few verses, by hand, every day. That’s it. Nothing profound or complicated. But do you know what? It works. I am meditating on Scripture and learning new things with this very simple practice. I wanted to share with you why I love studying the word this way, in hopes that you may benefit from trying it yourself!
5 Reasons I Love Writing Out the Scriptures
1. It is easy.
There I said it. Even though I’m naturally a morning person, I am also a mom. Of a toddler. Who still wakes up at random times throughout the night asking to be tucked back in or to have a drink of water. And then I can’t get back to sleep for an hour or more. (Thanks, kid!) So I’m still in a somewhat sleep deprived state a lot of the time. But I know I am a better person when I get up a good hour before my kids and have some quiet time to sip some hot tea, pray, study the Bible and read from a good book. If I have to do much intensive study early in the morning, I’m probably not going to do it. I need easy. I need a predictable routine that I can do while still in a bit of a fog. Writing Scripture by hand is an easy way to wake up my brain and start meditating on the Word without a lot of hassle. All I need is my Bible, a notebook and a pen. (And my hot tea. I can’t forget the tea!) I currently am copying whole books of the Bible at a time, so I just sit down and start where I left off.
2. It makes me focus.
If you are anything like me, especially in the early morning hours, you understand when I say that if I just sit down and read a big chunk of the Bible, I get distracted. Maybe I’m reading too fast in my eagerness to get on with planning my day. Or I am letting my mind wander off to my to-do list or that random Instagram photo I saw while I was brewing my tea. But if I have to put pen to paper and neatly copy down exactly what I’m seeing on the page, my brain has to kick into gear and actually make sense of what I’m reading and writing. Plus, there have been studies done on the actual difference it makes to hand write things instead of typing them, not to mention the data on how much better our minds retain information we read from an actual paper book than an electronic source. The whole tactile experience of this practice of copying verses straight from the text actually makes me pay closer attention to the Word!
3. It aids with meditation and memorization
This builds on the previous idea, but the act of writing something down really does help with memorization and meditation. Not only does the time it takes to write out Scripture force me to focus on just a few verses at a time, it also makes me think about what I am writing longer than simply reading the passage alone. I find myself remembering what I have written during my morning study time much later on in the day, and thinking through the greater context of those verses as well. I am not actively trying to memorize any passages right now, but if I were, I would probably try to write it out every day or two. I used to do that when I was in grade school and had to memorize a lot, and it really does help! Again, you can find a lot of studies on why and how writing and re-writing things aids in memorization, in case you want to delve into that idea a bit further!
4. It brings new passages to light.
I am currently copying down whole books of the New Testament, rather than just a few verses pulled out here and there. I know there are a lot of topical Scripture-writing plans out there, and they definitely have their place. However, I have found great benefits in copying a whole book of the Bible, especially in regards to understanding context. As my professors in Bible college always said, “Context is king!” If you read and study a passage in light of the surrounding text and the greater overarching theme of that book, you begin to understand individual verses even better than when you study them on their own. I have found this practice very enlightening and enriching to my devotional life.
5. It is free!
One of the great things about copying Scripture is that all I need is stuff I already have. It doesn’t need to be fancy to do the job. I buy inexpensive composition notebooks at Walmart for all sorts of purposes, and I just set aside a new one for Bible journalling as needed. Yes, you could buy a special journal or moleskin if you think that would motivate you to write out Scripture more. But for me, simple and cheap/free is the way to go! Bible study plans online and in print are great, but they can get so expensive. And if I am not going to have the time and mental space to really get the most out of a purchased Bible study guide, then it doesn’t really seem worth the expense. Although I do value good training in studying Scripture (I went to Bible college, after all!) I do not believe it is always necessary to have someone else tell you what the Bible says. If you are a true believer in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit to enlighten you to the meaning of God’s Word. So you don’t need fancy Bible study tools all the time. You just need to pray and ask Him to speak through His Word! Then read it and listen to what He has to say!
What are you waiting for?
Now that you know just a few of MY reasons for using Scripture writing as a Bible study and devotional tool, why don’t you try it out for yourself! Maybe you will find even more reasons to love copying the Word that I didn’t mention. If you do, I hope you’ll come back here and leave a comment. We can encourage each other along the way!