Handwriting Scripture may be an ancient practice but it can also be a meaningful way for us to dive deeper into God’s Word. As we imprint God’s truth on the page, the Holy Spirit imprints His truth on our hearts, which leads us to respond in prayer and worship. In this article, Shannon Leibold explains 7 benefits of incorporating a daily Scripture writing plan into your routine—and how you can easily get started today. You will be amazed at how God’s Word soaks into your soul as it spills out on the page.
I have a stack of notebooks from the dollar store beside my Bible. Although these are not journals, they are filled with pages and pages of my handwriting. Over the years, I’ve developed a habit of Scripture writing—simply copying Scripture word for word in an ordinary spiral-bound notebook.
This practice is absolutely life-giving! I started with the letter of Ephesians a few years ago and have continued handwriting many other books with the ultimate goal of handwriting the entire Bible.
Handwriting Scripture is not a new practice. In fact, the ancient Israelite kings were required to write a copy of the Law on a scroll so it would be imprinted on their hearts and so they would learn to fear the Lord all the days of their lives.
Keeping the Word Close
“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel” (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).
The same is true for us today. The practice of handwriting the Word of God serves to imprint it on our hearts, leading us to awe and worship.
7 BENEFITS TO SCRIPTURE WRITING
There are so many spiritual benefits to Scripture writing, but here are just seven that I hope are an encouragement to you:
1. IT FORCES US TO SLOW DOWN AND NOTICE DETAILS
Have you ever read something and moments later you cannot recall what you’ve read? This happens to me, and I’ll sheepishly admit that it even happens while reading the Bible. Since handwriting requires more time than simply reading, copying Scriptural text naturally forces us to slow down and think about what we are writing. This expanded time allows us to digest the material in deeper ways. Details we previously missed spring to life in vivid color. We can meditate on the words, imagine the scene, and carefully consider the truths as we write.
2. IT FREES US FROM DISTRACTIONS AND ENABLES US TO THINK DEEPLY
One of the primary strategies Satan employs against the children of God in our day is distraction. He uses it because it’s highly effective. Even when we get into the habit of daily Bible reading, many distractions—both internal and external—often prevent us from fully engaging with Scripture. Writing each word is a focused activity that eliminates distraction. It keeps our minds from wandering. When we are not rushing through a reading of a passage, we have time and space to think deeply about the truths found there, which leads us to meditate on God’s Word.
3. IT INCREASES UNDERSTANDING AND RETENTION
Skimming written content has become the norm in our day. Most people skim articles for the headlines, blog posts for the lists, and social media for one or two sentences that catch their attention. But have we really understood and retained what we’ve read? Long form reading is becoming less and less popular because it takes time and concentration. As with any printed material, when we engage with it slowly, our understanding increases. Science has proven that handwriting, even more so than typing on a keyboard, increases retention. The simple act of pen to paper can grow our understanding of God’s Word and help us remember it more fully.
4. IT ALLOWS FOR DEEPER PERSONALIZATION AND APPLICATION
As we write out the text, we can personalize it by inserting our names in the verses. For example: “He who began a good work in [Shannon] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). When we personalize the text, it reminds us that the Holy Spirit is speaking directly to us, and that God’s promises are for us. The slow pace of handwriting Scripture allows time and space for the Holy Spirit to connect truth to our daily lives. He guides and directs, convicts and challenges, encourages and exhorts, and we have the opportunity to apply biblical wisdom to our circumstances and respond in obedience.
5. IT ENCOURAGES PRAYER AND WORSHIP
As we imprint God’s truth on the page, the Holy Spirit imprints His truth on our hearts, which leads us to respond in prayer and worship. Praying the text back to God as we write it out is a powerful way to develop intimacy with our Creator. The Bible is God speaking to us, and our prayers based on His Word are us speaking back to Him. This conversation fosters a deeper relationship. Slowing to ponder the text also leads to worship. As we think deeply about the character and ways of God, we naturally are inspired to worship Him.
6. IT LEAVES A TANGIBLE LEGACY OF FAITH
Since my mom’s passing several years ago, her handwriting in recipe books and journals has become quite precious to me. Similarly, after we are gone, our handwriting will be precious to our loved ones. As we scribe whole chapters and books, and maybe even the whole Bible, we will have a tangible record of our time with God to hold in our hands. As evidence of our faith, we can pass these notebooks and journals on to the next generation. What a gift for your children and grandchildren!
7. IT MULTIPLIES LOVE FOR GOD AND HIS WORD
The more you read God’s Word, the more you will want to engage with it. That’s why the antidote for apathy toward Scripture is simply to get into it anyway. God is faithful to increase our love for His sacred Word as we are faithful to engage with it. Handwriting Scripture stirs up our affections for Jesus, promotes spiritual growth, kindles afresh our love for God, and multiples our passion for His Word. That’s a promise!
HOW TO HANDWRITE SCRIPTURE
In addition to all these benefits, the good news about handwriting Scripture is this: It’s so simple! Here are the details about how to incorporate a practice of handwriting the Bible into your routine:
What tools should I use?
All you need is an ordinary notebook and a pen. Choose whatever feels good to you—it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. As I mentioned, my tools are from the dollar store. You can choose a spiral-bound notebook, a leather-bound journal, or loose-leaf paper added to a binder.
The key is to think about your tools before you start so you can be consistent throughout the whole project. If you are interested in Scripture Writing Plans that divide books of the Bible into manageable chunks for handwriting, you can access them on my website.
Where do I start?
Start with a shorter book like Ephesians or Galatians. Or consider starting with one of the gospels, like Mark, which is a concise version of the life of Jesus. The book of Psalms is another great starting place for handwriting Scripture. I’ve decided not to write through the text in order from Genesis to Revelation, although you certainly can. I simply choose the next book based on what sparks my interest. My suggestion is to start with the book God lays on your heart.
How long will it take?
This depends on your daily commitment and your overall goal. Is your goal to write out the Psalms? This will take you approximately ten months if you invest half an hour each day on the project. Is your goal to write out the New Testament? Then it will take you approximately nine months if you commit to writing Scripture for an hour each day. Writing out the text for half an hour each day will take you twice as long—approximately 18 months. Perhaps your goal is to write out the entire Bible. If this is the case, you can estimate three and a half years if you commit to writing Scripture for an hour each day.
When is the best time to handwrite Scripture in my day?
I’ve incorporated the practice of handwriting Scripture at various times in my day. I pull out these notebooks and a pen during my quiet time in the morning, while I’m sitting on our back deck as the sun goes down, or while I’m in the kitchen waiting for dinner to cook (write out a sentence, go stir the pot, write out another sentence, check the oven—I may or may not have burned dinner once or twice!).
Writing the Bible doesn’t take intense concentration like a formal Bible study does, so it can easily be done alongside other activities. You may want to consider writing Scripture during the last hour of your day. Turning off screens and turning to the slow, meditative practice of copying the biblical text can be a great way to relax before bed.
SCRIPTURE WRITING CHALLENGE
So, my challenge to you is to simply start! Give this ancient practice a try! The peaceful habit of handwriting Scripture will slow your mind and heart and keep you focused on Jesus. You will be amazed at how God’s Word soaks into your soul as it spills out on the page.
Did Shannon’s words inspire you to want to start writing out Scripture? If so, decide what passage or book you want to start with and go write a few verses down!
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