My reading of the article about “journibles” has increased my interest in copying Scripture as a part of my Bible study practice. I am more attentive to articles about copying Scripture. One such article is by Ray Pritchard entitled “Writing out Scripture Can Be Good for the Soul” at the biblestudytools.com website. The link is https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/tips/writing-out-scripture-can-be-good-for-the-soul.html .
In his article, Mr. Pritchard points out what a new king of Israel had to carry out once he assumed his role as king per Deuteronomy 17:18–20 (ESV):
18 “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. 19 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, 20 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.
Ray Pritchard describes the significant time investment and the resulting benefit:
Writing it down meant the king was forced to think about the law of God he was sworn to uphold. He would go through every part of it, painstakingly writing it on a scroll, thinking about what it meant. That tedious exercise would tattoo the truth on his soul. We can see a clear progression here:
Maybe we can gain something from this today.
Yes, we can gain a lot from these three verses in the Old Testament.
Let’s “journible” these three verses, and see what happens. After “journibiling” verses 18-20, I discovered eight teachings applicable to the 21st Century Christ-follower.
First, once the king sat on his throne, he was under the divine mandate of God’s Word. Suddenly, God’s Word was not peripheral but became central to his life. God’s Word (the 66 books of the protestant Bible) ought to be a major focus or touchstone for a 21st Century Christ-follower.
Second, it appears that the king’s first task was to write “for himself” a copy of Scripture (i.e., “this law”) in a book. His copying had to be accurate because his copy had to be “approved by the Levitical priests.” This text does not mandate that a 21st Century Christ-follower write out the entire Bible. Yet, this command provides the Scriptural warrant for a Christ-follower to copy Scripture accurately. A Christ-follower must take the time and be very careful to accurately copy to paper what is on the printed pages of their Bible. Careful copying helps the “little words” jump out, and these little words can have significant meaning. To help ensure accuracy, I use a super-giant print Bible.
Third, the king had to keep his copy of “this law” with him per the command, “And it shall be with him.” The 21st Century Christ-follower needs to keep the Bible close at hand. One never knows when a discussion would turn direction so that it would be essential to locate a passage. A small compact Bible is a great 24/7 companion.
Fourth, the king had to “read in it all the days of his life.” Bible intake was not an occasional matter for the king but was to be a daily exercise. Life-long daily Bible intake is necessary for the 21st Century Christ-follower.
Fifth, the purpose of keeping God’s Word close at hand and engaging in daily intake was so that the king would learn “to fear the LORD his God” by keeping and doing the words of “this law” and “these statutes.” In this context, the term “fear of the LORD” means to revere God. See Bowling, A. (1999). 907 יָרֵא. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., p. 400). Chicago: Moody Press. Note that this holy fear is something that is learned through keeping and doing God’s Word. A Christ-follower must regularly engage the Bible to “learn” reverence for God, which results in living a godly lifestyle. A godly lifestyle comprises “keeping” and “doing” what God commands in His Word.
Sixth, engaging “this law” and “these statutes” causes the king not to consider himself to be better than the people under his dominion. Pride is the root of sin, and to stay in God’s Word counters becoming prideful. For the 21st Century Christ-follower, Bible engagement teaches the downsides of pride and should help reduce or eliminate prideful tendencies in the life of a Christ-follower.
Seventh, by the king engaging “this law and these statutes,” he should stay on the straight and narrow. Bible engagement teaches what is right and wrong in the absolute sense, and gives a Christ-follower clear guideposts for holy living.
Eighth, by living an obedient life, the king will have a long life, and so will his children. A Christ-follower who regularly engages the Bible will have a blessed life. Such a person will pass God’s precepts along to their children so that they also ought to experience a blessed life. Please understand that I mean “blessed” in the spiritual sense, and necessarily material prosperity.
God’s instructions to Israel’s kings’ thousands of years ago ought to impact our lives today. Wow! Isn’t “journibiling” great!!
Thanks for your interest in my blog.
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