Why do I transcribe the Bible during my devotionals?

I love to write. I don't mean publishing, but putting words on paper. It is, in my opinion, the best way to process emotions, unravel ideas, capture fleeting moments and put things in order. I rarely leave my house without a notebook and a pen. For me, they are crucial tools to face this crazy world.

There is a class of writing that holds a special place in my heart. It is distinguished because it does not involve my words, but the words of God. It is the writing of the Scripture. It is transcribing the Bible.

Nothing complicated: I take a notebook, open the Word of God and begin to copy the words of God. One by one. I focus on the book I am currently studying. Sometimes I transcribe long passages and sometimes I focus on a few verses. I do not add underscores or personal reflections; most of the time I don't even include the verse numbers. I just slow read and write, slow read and write, slow read and write.

This practice has become essential to my devotional times. I recommend it all the time for two simple reasons: transcribing the Bible—word for word—leads me to (1) listen carefully to God's heart and (2) make my troubled heart known to Him.

listen to god

We've all had—or rather, tried to have—a conversation with someone who can't seem to put their phone down. We watch awkwardly as he half-answers us as his thumbs jiggle, typing a message for someone else. When she finally puts the phone in her pocket, she still doesn't seem to be with us at all. “What did you say?” she asks herself, as if the problem is our speaking and not her listening.

It's awkward to interact with someone who wants to be in two places at once. It is even more uncomfortable to recognize that we often act like this before the God of the universe.

We open our Bible and without thinking too much unlock the phone, just to make sure we haven't missed something "important." We find the passage, read two sentences, and suddenly find ourselves thinking about our to-do list for the day. After ten minutes of daydreaming, we suddenly remember what we were doing. We start again. We found a verse about laziness. "Wow, this is God's word to Ariel," we say. We took a picture of him and sent it to him, hoping he'd take the hint about how unacceptable it is to be late for the Sunday meeting three weeks in a row. We look at the clock and are shocked to realize that we will be late for work. We read the rest of the chapter in two minutes, glancing down the page at top speed. "Great!" we thought. “I managed to mark the reading for the day as complete.”

Looking closely at Scripture and copying it word for word forces us to slow down and think carefully about what we are reading.

Are we really surprised that God speaks and we understand nothing? Our attention jumps from one place to another instead of focusing on the One who loves us and who calls us to know him through Scripture. How will we delight in the sweetness of the Word of the Lord when we gulp it down like a morning vitamin?

Transcribing the Bible won't be the magic solution to all our distraction problems, but it can help us deal with them. Looking closely at Scripture and copying it word for word forces us to slow down and think carefully about what we are reading. When transcribing we will be able to see things in the text that, due to haste, we had not seen before. We will be in a better position to contemplate the beauty of our Lord's heart through the words revealed in Scripture. We will be able to ask deeper questions and find more revealing answers than before when we simply skimmed through the passage.

Speak with God

I don't know if you've ever been so upset that you have absolutely nothing to say. It has happened to me a couple of times. The days passed with me in bed, staring at the wall in front of me. I was barely doing the basics to survive. In those moments of deep darkness, it seems impossible to form a coherent thought. Raising prayers doesn't feel like an option. There are no words.

The good news is that God has not left us helpless. we may let's feel abandoned and hopeless, but we are not. The Bible teaches us that when we don't know how to pray, the Spirit of God intercedes for us in our weakness (Rom 8:26). But that is not all. When we have no words, we can remember that God has given us Their words to make our own and give them back to Him.

On the one hand, we can use the many prayers we find in Scripture as a starting point for our own prayers. For example, we can take Hannah's words in 1 Samuel 1:11 and pray like this: “God, look at my pain. Remember me. Do not forget me. You know my heart and you know what I long for the most, Lord. I beg you to grant it to me. I trust you!". On the other hand, we can also make use of the prayers that we find in the Bible when we do not have our own words to express them. We can simply take a piece of paper and a pen, and transcribe the cry that God himself inspired.

When we have no words, we can remember that God has given us Their words to make our own and give them back to Him

When you have no words, borrow the words from the Bible and write them down one by one. The Lord knows your heart and sees how you make that passage your own. He writes: "How long, O Lord?" (Ps 13:1) or “Have mercy on me, O God, for man has trampled me down; he oppresses me fighting me all day »(Ps 56: 1). Transcribe with faith the verses in which the Bible reminds you of the power and salvation of the Lord: «For You have delivered my soul from death, and my feet from stumbling, so that I can walk before God in the light of the life" (Ps 56:13). May your heart be comforted by remembering the mercy of the Father revealed in Jesus Christ. Also remember that, by transcribing the prayers of the Bible in the midst of pain, you can rejoice that you are praying according to God's will because you are praying his Word.

One of my favorite prayers is found in Psalm 119:18: "Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of Your law." I need to continually raise that cry, for sometimes I am frightened by the lack of amazement in my heart at the Word of God. I worry about how quickly I get distracted, how fast I read, how easy it is for me to save my time in the Bible and in prayer for later. We need our eyes to be opened.

Having Scripture is a privilege. It is a gift to know the Lord and to possess the words that He inspired to express what is inside us when we don't know what to say. Let's not despise it. In Jesus, we can confidently approach the Lord and enjoy the beauty of his truth. Let's do it, imprinting his words in our hearts and—sometimes—on paper.

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