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Posted by on Jun 4, 2016 in For Women | 7 comments

Copying Scripture

The first time I even thought about it was about 5 years ago. I had heard of people doing it. People long ago…before the printing press…the scribes. They did it because they had to. I never “needed” to. I have several copies nicely printed and bound.

It was on Facebook. I was mindlessly scrolling through…seeing what my friends were up to. Apparently one of my friends had commented on the post. I don’t know who commented or who made the post. He said he was a preacher. He said he was challenging the whole congregation and that he had a schedule worked out. He based his challenge on the following scripture:

Deuteronomy 17:18-20

“Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.”

I know it was instructions for the king, the king they hadn’t even asked for yet. But, if it is a worthy task for a king, maybe I should give it a try. I decided I would accept the challenge and copy the Bible…the whole thing…by hand…like a scribe. How hard could it be? I grabbed a spiral notebook out of our stash and began with Genesis 1:1.

All went well for a few chapters. I carried my notebook to baseball practices, orchestra rehearsals, anywhere I might get a chance to copy. I wrote feverishly. Feverishly as if I had a schedule to keep. Before long it began to be a chore. The zeal had gone. Not only that, but as I looked back at my writing, I realized something, my handwriting was horrible. I couldn’t even read it. Looking back at the scripture in Deuteronomy, God told the kings to copy the law so they could read it. I was discouraged. I quit. I still knew this was a good thing to do but I needed to take a break and improve my handwriting.

Fast forward a couple of years. Handwriting has improved. It’s not beautiful but it is readable. I decided to start back copying scripture but I had learned that starting in Genesis and going straight through might be biting off more than I could chew. I started copying smaller books. Not in any order, just whichever one struck my fancy. This was better but it required me to be self-motivated and that’s a little hard at times.

It dawned on me what I needed to do. I would copy the scripture I was currently studying. I was participating in an online Bible study with some friends on Galatians. There was my schedule I needed. Just a few verses a day and in a matter of a few weeks, Galatians is copied. Not only copied but studied at the same time.

That worked well so maybe I could extend it to other Bible studies. Our Sunday Morning Bible class was studying Ephesians. We move fairly slowly through the book so copying it as we go worked very well. Our ladies’ Bible class is studying the minor prophets. It moves a little faster than the Ephesians study but still no more than a couple of chapters a week. So far, that’s about 3 or 4 total chapters a week. Not too much to tackle and copying the scripture helps me study for the class.

During our worship services, we have a Bible reading. Not a long reading…just a few verses. With both the Sunday AM and PM readings, it amounts to about a chapter a week. We’re about to finish Revelation. After that we will be starting over with Genesis. So, I’m back to where I started…copying Genesis and going straight through. This time, though, things are different. I can read my handwriting. I’m following a much easier schedule and the goal is not to see how quickly I can get it copied but to use the time copying scripture to meditate on the words my heavenly Father has given me.

Just for the record, I have copied the following: Ecclesiastes, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, part of Micah, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, part of Phllippians.

In case you have been intrigued but not motivated yet, I challenge you to choose your favorite book or the shortest book or a book you are currently studying and copy it. Let me know how it goes.


  1. Do you think that maybe God had him write it because there were no printers (lol). Yea, I think so. Still, I am charmed with the whole idea of doing it by hand because it really gets inside of you when you slowly write it out. I was thinking about writing out my children’s verses to help them learn cursive, and now I am convinced. Wonderful post…thought I was the only one who hand wrote things.

  2. You don’t remember it as well if you don’t write it out! I too, have started writing out a chapter or two a day, and so far I have completed Proverbs, Ephesians, Jude, Matthew and 1 and 2nd John. It really has helped my memory :).

  3. As a writer I once heard that the best way to learn to write a novel was to hand write out your favorite novel from start to finish. What you learn would be invaluable to writing your own book. I got about a chapter and a half done and quit.

    But what a great challenge to write God’s Word, especially if you are thinking about it and studying it at the same time. It would certainly stick in your mind well. Like God told Joshua in 1:8 – “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everythin written in it.”

    • I have heard that Benjamin Franklin learned to write through copy work. Moi better way to learn than to study the masters.

  4. I did that for 2 Timothy when I studied it last, I was going to do so for the Corinthians, but the notebook I was using wasn’t going to have room for all of my notes AND a hand copied version, so I’ll do that next time.

    • It can be hard to stay motivated if we try to do too much too fast. Starting slow with something small like one of the Timothys is great.

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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