Practical And Spiritual Benefits of Hand Copying Scripture
Personal Challenge Update
I am one week into the first month of the Year of 30-Day Challenges and this first week of hand copying scripture has been pretty amazing.
I confess I got up on July 30 a little bit on the anxious and hesitant side. The thoughts kept coming that I was such a fool for signing myself up to do this HUGE challenge of my own creation. Not only was I about to embark on a time-consuming journey of handwriting Scripture one chapter at a time for at least 30 days straight but I was I was also committing to do eleven more challenges. What in the freakin’ world am I doing to myself? When I went to bed on Sunday I was so close to throwing in the towel and backing out of the whole thing before I even started.
Then I was reminded that the whole point of this next year is to pick areas of my life that need work and dedicate a month (or 30 days) to intense focus in that area.
Confession: A big area that needs work is my tendency to start big projects and never completing them. You could say this whole year is about addressing that one big area in my life. In fact, I am currently reading Jon Acuff’s book, Finish, to address this very thing. I’m so glad I found that book because it is offering relief knowing I am not alone in this tendency and it is offering direction on how to move away from it.
What are my initial thoughts on the Hand Copying Scripture Challenge after one week?
- Writing a full chapter of Scripture in one sitting is a bit too much. My hand cramps up and the words eventually start to run together.
- What I have found to work very well is to write about five verses at a time.
- I sit down and write five verses and then I go and do something else.
- At first, I thought this would mess up the devotional side of the practice.
- In reality, I am finding that breaking the chapter up throughout the day is proving to be amazingly comforting.
- Breaking the chapter up means I get to return to Scripture at various times throughout the day. I don’t have one devotional time in the morning. I get to meet back up with the Word all day long.
- It should go as no surprise that oftentimes I find myself returning to my seat to copy Bible verses when I need it the most.
- Breaking up my writing time into five verse increments allow for random schedule changes. It is much easier to get it down when things don’t go as planned.
I guess you could say the first week of writing the Bible out by hand has gone well. There have already been some surprises but overall they have been good surprises.
But, why would someone want to embark on a journey to hand copy Scripture when there are already countless Bibles out there in print and on electronic devices?
Well, there are plenty of benefits to hand copying scripture that make it well worth the effort.
Practical Benefits of Hand Copying Scripture
From a personal point of view, I remember that when I was in college I found that handwriting my notes was key to my performance on my exams. I would handwrite all my notes during the lectures and then I would rewrite them, usually in many different colors, while studying for exams. While this process was seemingly laborious, it proved to work quite well and I usually did quite well on exams when I followed this process. There were times when I did not want to follow this process out of laziness and as expected, I never did as well on those exams.
My personal experience seems to be supported by science. An article in Lifehacker talks about a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System that is engaged by handwriting. It says, “The RAS acts as a filter for everything your brain needs to process, giving more importance to the stuff that you’re actively focusing on that moment – something that the physical act of writing brings to the forefront.” Basically, the act of handwriting is triggering your brain to wake up and pay attention to what you are writing. In so doing you retain the information much better.
Anti-Aging For The Brain
The process of handwriting basically provides a workout for the brain. Physical exercise provides anti-aging benefits for the body as a whole. So, it makes sense that exercise for the brain would have the same benefits. By utilizing a combination of motor skills, memory, and cognitive processing, handwriting exercises the brain in a way that a keyboard does not.
Writing By Hand is Meditative and Forces You to Slow Down
There is a rhythm to handwriting once you get moving along. That rhythm can be very meditative and contemplative if you allow it to be and in so doing you can quiet your mind and find peace in the process.
Hand copying Scripture, handwriting in a journal, or even copying down notes from a book forces you to slow down so that you don’t miss any important details. In a world that is constantly moving at a warp speed, it is definitely beneficial to our minds and emotional states to slow down even if for just a few minutes a day.There are Practical and Spiritual Benefits to Hand Copying Scripture. Would you add it to your daily rituals? Click To Tweet
Spiritual Benefits of Hand Copying Scripture
Meeting God On a Deeper Level
Since you are already engaging your brain in more ways than just reading, hand copying Scripture helps you meet with God on a new and different level. You are reading the words of the Bible, processing them in your mind, and then tangibly interacting with them as you write them down on paper. You can notice nuances in the Scripture as you slow down your reading and gain deeper insights. In so doing, you retain what you read for much longer in your mind and in your heart.
Deeper Appreciation For God’s Word
By spending more time reading and processing God’s Word through hand copying you can’t help but gain a deeper appreciation for what’s written. You are spending so much time with the words allowing you really think about the context and the meaning of those words. All that time spent writing also grows your respect and deepen your love for God’s word. And as your appreciation for God’s Word deepens your daily life is changed in all areas.
By developing a daily practice of hand copying Scripture you leaving a legacy of faith for those who come after you. Imagine your children watching you as you diligently copy the Bible by hand. They are seeing you spend precious time in this huge undertaking in so doing they are seeing how important your Faith is to you. You are also creating an actual copy of the Bible bit by bit in your own unique handwriting. Imagine how precious a handwritten copy of the Bible would be to your loved ones after you passed away. You aren’t just deepening your faith through copying Scripture; you are creating a legacy of Faith for generations to come.
Have you created a habit of copying Scripture? What books are you copying? Or, what topics are you focusing on? Tell me in the comments!!
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For Further Reading:
4 Benefits of Writing By Hand
Why You Learn More Effectively By Writing Than Typing
How Handwriting Trains The Brain
The Simple Joy of Writing by Hand