Friday, 15 November 2019

From the Scriptorium

So what do you, my Christian brother and sister, do for morning devotions?

Three years ago, about Thanksgiving weekend 2016 (Canadian Thanksgiving is in October), my son turned me on to the idea of copying the New Testament by hand. Bored with the humdrum of what had become my morning devotions, and yearning for something new and a little more fulfilling, I was up for the challenge. Copy the entire New Testament by hand? Well why not?!

This was not a totally new idea for me. I was reminded of a Christian brother that I used to work with some years back who had done something similar. He had decided to create a hand written New Testament for each of his children as a High School graduation gift. If memory serves me correct, he had four children. Therefore, if he kept to this goal, he would have copied the New Testament by hand four times. While I'm not sure if he succeeded or not, I thought it an admirable goal.

So here we were, Thanksgiving 2016, and my son and daughter-in-law were back home for a visit. Over the long weekend, somehow the topic came up and he turned me on to the idea of copying the New Testament by hand as a devotional project. Suddenly, reminded of my former coworker who had done likewise, I bought into the idea. Cool. What a great idea!

I went to our local Chapters and bought a few beautiful green lined journals, with an embossed tree on the cover. I liked them instantly, thinking of how they reminded me of the biblical tree of life. How appropriate, I thought; Bible and tree of life. Eventually there would be ten volumes making up the set.

Unlike most Bibles, my handwritten version had no chapter or verses, with the exception of a header reference on the top left page corner. I also omitted paragraph divisions, which in my way of thinking, made it a little closer to the style of the original book/letter. I did, however, choose to add the sectional headings provided by the translation I was copying.

Well, in a much quicker time than I had anticipated, I completed copying the whole New Testament, from Matthew through Revelation. Now what? Since I wasn't ready to quit just yet, and since I was enjoying the project, I thought of adding the Psalms and Proverbs. I quickly scrapped that idea and decided to go back to Genesis and head through the Old Testament, all the way to Malachi. Well suddenly, about 37-months after beginning with this devotional project, I found myself on November 15, 2019, having completed copying the entire Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. Wow! What a bitter-sweet sense of accomplishment; bitter-sweet because of both the accomplishment, and the inevitable "now what?" question.

Next, as a hobby woodworker and leather carver, I am thinking of making a wooden slipcase for my ten-volume Bible, perhaps inlaid with some hand-carved leather. When completed, this may make a nice family heirloom to leave to my children and grandchildren.

So here we are. Please forgive my momentary pride; I just hand-wrote the entire Bible! I wonder if the amanuensis of old felt the same jubilation in their scriptoriums upon completing their copy of the Scriptures assigned to them? Hmm.

May God bless me with a glimpse into a new early-morning devotional routine that gives me a deeper understanding and following of Him. May He bless you with an equally rewarding quiet time.

Peace and Blessings, my brothers and sisters. God is good!

You may also be interested in seeing these related posts:
My Devotional Life: A Three Year Anniversary
My Devotional Life: A Handwritten Bible
Me as an Amanuensis: Morning Devotional's Next Level?
Morning Devotions Are Awesome Once Again


  1. Wow! Great accomplishment, respect! How did you structure the writings - chapters, verses or some other own way of presenting the content (theme sections, etc)? Greeitngs!

    1. Thank you, friend. Chapter and verses were omitted all together, with the exception of a reference header on the tope left page. Other than that, the only other divisions I chose to use were the sectional headings provided by the translation I was using. It truly was a three-year labour of love. Peace and Blessings.