a scribe’s scribblings: a log (16)

MoSt Church‘s three-year Immerse Bible reading project goes hand-in-hand with my Inscribe Scripture copying project. Following is the essence of the Immerse project.

Initiation: today (Sun., Jan. 20)
Motivation: God has revealed his will to us
Method: as a church we’ll read the entire Bible in 3 years
Entry: we will begin our reading with Luke’s Gospel
Rationale: to be exposed to the Lord’s light for our transformation
Social: foster conversation with others over Scripture
Evidence: building up our faith in our Father

Reflection: 32 weeks of reading & 20 weeks of reflection each year
Excitement: enriching our enjoyment of the Author of all life
Association: making connections between Scripture & daily life
Decision: to live by every word that proceeds from him
Inscribe: while we all read I’ll copy the entire Bible by hand
Newness: bring creativity & freshness to our experience of God
Generate: sincere love for God & others thru good works

When you finish each day’s reading, ask yourself the following four questions. Converse with others in this project using these same questions.

1. Channel: “My attention was channeled to _____.”
What stood out to you in today’s reading?

2. Challenge: “I found _____ challenging.”
What was confusing or difficult for you?

3. Christ: “God appears to me as _____.”
Did anything make you think differently about God?

4. Change“This calls for me to change the way I _____.”
How might this change the way you live?

a scribe’s scribblings: a log (15)

More Q & A.

Q. I know you’ve just begun the copying-thing, but what is being impressed on you through this experience?
A. How every word of Scripture is important. How the word speaks to you in some many ways at one time and is what one’s spirit needs to hear. The sheer beauty of the narrative of Luke’s Gospel. There are more matters, but these three leap to my mind right now.

Q. Are you reading anything in conjunction with Luke’s Gospel as you copy the text (a commentary, etc.)?
A. Yes, but not merely so much as I’d like to be doing. I am only reading one book through (N.T. Wright’s uber-accessible volume entitled Luke for Everyone), but am also dipping a number of reference works.

Q. How’s that rollerball pen working out for you? I know you’re usually a felt-tip man.
A. Short answer: different, for sure! Long answer: I changed up further from what I had originally planned, opting at the last moment for a ballpoint (shifting, specifically, from this to this). It is a real adjustment from a felt-tip, but that is what I wanted; another little something that forces me to concentrate on what I’m doing just a wee bit more.

QAre there things you wish you had done for the sake of better preparation?
A. Oh, yes: hand exercises! I am not used to writing so much in one stretch.

Q. Made any mistakes yet?
A. Ha! Yes, but only one that I’m aware of at this time. What was it? I accidentally capitalized the word “festival” in Luke 2.43. The TNIV text capitalizes the word “Festival” in 2.41, but not in 2.43, so rather than correcting it, I just left it alone.

Postscript: I copied Luke 2.8-52 today.
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2.8-52&version=NIV

a scribe’s scribblings: a log (13)

Boomer! Sooner!*

I began copying the Bible by hand – my Inscribe project – this morning. Yes, one week earlier than I had previously announced (Jan. 20).

The church’s Immerse Bible reading project will begin next Sun., Jan. 20.

What did I copy this morning? Luke 1.1-45.

And why did I start Inscribe one week early? So as to coincide with my firstborn’s birthday.

Happy birthday, son! 🙂

* This is a nod to my birth state, not the OU football team. Boomers were people who had lobbied for the opening of the “Unassigned Territories” for settlement by non-Native-Americans. Sooners were those who entered the land ahead of the designated legal day and time so as to get a jump on everyone else (cf. the Oklahoma Land Run of April 22, 1889).

a scribe’s scribblings: a log (11)

As I prepare to copy the Bible by hand, I’ve been reading a bit about the work of the scribes in ancient times who copied Scripture long before the invention of the printing press. To say they were meticulous is a grand understatement. Consider this excerpt from the Talmud on the subject:

“A synagogue roll must be written on the skins of clean animals, prepared for the particular use of the synagogue by a Jew. These must be fastened together with strings taken from clean animals. Every skin must contain a certain number of columns, equal throughout the entire codex. The length of each column must not extend over less than forty-eight, or more than sixty lines; and the breadth must consist of thirty letters. The whole copy must first be lined: and if three words be written in it without a line, it is worthless. The ink should be black, neither red, green, nor any other color and be prepared according to a definite recipe.

“An authentic copy must be the exemplar, from which the transcriber ought not in the least to deviate. No word or letter, not even a yod, must be written from memory, the scribe not having looked at the codex before him. … Between every consonant the space of a hair or thread must intervene; between every word the breadth of a narrow consonant; between every new parashah, or section, the breadth of nine consonants; between every book, three lines. The fifth book of Moses must terminate exactly with a line; but the rest need not do so.

“Besides this, the copyist must sit in full Jewish dress, wash his whole body, not begin to write the name of God with a pen newly dipped in ink, and should a king address him while writing that name he must take no notice of him. …

“The rolls in which these regulations are not observed are condemned to be buried in the ground or burned; or they are banished to the schools, to be used as reading books.”*

[Selah]

Three thoughts leap to mind …

We can have profound confidence in the integrity of the Biblical text as it has arrived to us today.

What care we ought to have with the word of the Lord.

What level of, and evidence for, such confidence and care for what God has said is there in my life?

* Source: How We Got the Bible by Neil R. Lightfoot (Baker, 2003); pp.133-134, who is citing from Frederick Kenyon’s work ‘Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts’ (Harper, 1958).

a scribe’s scribblings: a log (10)

Today, the countdown begins. T-10. As in just ten more days until the Immerse Bible reading project – and my Bible-copying project – begins.

It (finally) occurs to me that as the reading portion of this effort has a project name (Immerse), the writing portion deserves one, too. Inscribe seems fitting.

inscribe: to write, engrave, or print as a lasting record

So it is.

a scribe’s scribblings: a log (9)

I plan to do the vast majority of my Bible-copying while standing.

Why? Three reasons.

First, because I believe I’ll do better work – both in terms of focus of spirit and legibility of writing – if I stand while writing.

Second, because the scenes in Nehemiah 8-9 have been favorites of mine, deeply impressive to me for a very long time, since the first time I ever read them, actually. As you read that passage, pay attention to who stands and for how long. [And if you can’t stand reading all of that (sorry, that pun was simply too easy to pass up) at least read these verses – 8.1-4a; 9.3]

Third, because I already do the vast majority of my work while standing and have done so for quite some time now.

So, do pray specifically for my knees, too, please. 🙂

Seriously.

a scribe’s scratchings: (8)

More questions; more answers.

Q.  Since you’ll be writing in ink, what will you do when you make a mistake?
A. If I see it? Correct it! A multitude of scrolls of professional scribes in ancient times that remain to this day are not strangers to rare, but real, slip-ups. I am not better than them and so I know before I begin that this copy of mine will not be without fault. And that’s okay. Since the Author doesn’t expect me to be perfect in my daily attempts to imitate Christ in life, I’m confident he will not be let down by my honest, but feeble, attempt to copy his words.

Q. Have you ever personally known someone who copied the Bible by hand?
A. Personally? No. Known of some who did? Sure. Google it. Better yet, use DuckDuck Go.

Q. What’s the best way to keep up with you and your experiences with this project?
A. Check the near daily postings I’ll make right here on my site.

Q. How can I pray for you as you do this?
A. Do, please, praise him with me, reveling in the fact that he shines light into our darkness, not leaving us without illumination and direction, guidance and insight, instruction and correction. Thank God for the health of eyesight and hand that I have to do this. Ask our Father that I may daily approach it all with sincerity and purity of heart, humility and keenness of mind, and strength and perseverance in all my ways. Ask that good seed be planted in others through this effort to the praise of our Lord and Savior. Ask that the fruit of his Spirit would increase in my life. Rejoice with me in this privilege to encounter Scripture in this way.

Q. How will you format your writing?
A. I haven’t decided. But, I know it will be in one of two ways: (1) either following the formatting of the particular translations I’ll be using or (2) utilizing the formatting found in the paperback editions of Immerse: The Reading Bible. I’ll make up my mind on that matter.

Q. What do you intend to do with the copies when you finish?
A. I haven’t made up my mind on that either; however, I have considered distributing it among my family. The format of the Immerse Bible arranges the text in six segments;  fourteen (14) groups of literature. 1 parent + 2 in-laws + 1 wife + 4 children and their spouses + 5 grandchildren + me = 14 people. Hmmmm.

Q. What if you don’t finish?
A. I don’t entertain that thought. Instead, I think: what if I do! Besides, the good doesn’t come only at the finish, it comes, quite literally, every day along the way, and beyond.

Q. What was that URL for the Immerse Bible reading project?
A. http://immersebible.com/