When I was about 11 years old, I was given a most horrible assignment over Christmas vacation. I had to write 1000 times: “I will not talk in health class and interrupt when the teacher is talking.” I think she designed the sentence in the way she did because it took up two lines on a piece of paper!
Copying that sentence over and over really ruined my Christmas vacation! I’m not sure that it stopped me from talking when I shouldn’t, but it definitely gave me an appreciation of what the number 1000 really means! I thought I’d never finish.
So imagine copying the whole Bible! Although copying the Bible would be more interesting than the task I was given, it would certainly have been daunting. I love to think about the conversations that scribes might have had in the evening about the stories that they copied faithfully during the daytime. Or as they copied I Corinthians 13 or I John 4 did they ask themselves, “does our community serve as an example of this kind of love?”
The photo above comes from the best existing manuscript that exists of the Latin Bible; it was made in northeast England around 700 and is called Codex Amiatinus. It is a copy of Jerome’s translation of the Greek (New Testament) and Hebrew (Old Testament) into Latin; we don’t have Jerome’s original writing but this Codex is the best copy — made about 300 years after Jerome lived. The portrait is of Ezra the Scribe — the most famous of Old Testament scribes and a role model for scribes throughout the centuries.
As the study group of The Word of an Humble God has been learning, we have much to be grateful for with the scribes who so faithfully made it possible for scripture to be preserved and handed down generation after generation to those seeking the wisdom of God.
So what would you gain from taking the time to make a handwritten copy of a book of the Bible or maybe just a chapter or two? Perhaps it’s an idea for a Lenten practice!
Michael and I are in Arkansas this week visiting Michael’s mother Mary. Unfortunately, she’s suffering from a severe toe infection but she sends her greetings.
I am delighted that Rev. David Hayes will be our guest preacher on Sunday. The message will be “To Know this Love” recalling the words of Jesus in John 14.
Grace and peace,