Toiling Over Scripture

November 21, 2019
Volume 23, Number 37

A family in the United Arab Emirates just set a new Guinness record. They have completed the largest handwritten copy of the Bible on record, and it took them 153 days to do it.

The wife, Susan Varghese, began the project, but her husband and two children were soon taking turns. The Bible was copied onto A-1-sized paper, which is paper that is 23.4 by 33.1 inches. They copied only on one side. When the project was finished, the tome weighed just under 397 pounds, and utilized 1,500 sheets of paper, many of which bore drawings to illustrate the text. (See a photo of the Bible above.)

“Toiling” is the right word to use of this project. In the article Susan said “I would spend 12 to 15 hours every day meticulously writing out the Bible. My eyes would twitch and my hands would hurt, but in the process I found the Bible speaking to me, inspiring and guiding me.” The previous record for a handwritten copy of Scripture was 135 pounds.

In Deuteronomy 17:18 Moses gave instructions for the future, when a king would rule over the people of Israel. “Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites.” In that time the New Testament had not yet been written, but making a copy of the Law of Moses would still be a time-consuming project. But the king would be more likely to know what the Lord expected of him and of God’s people.

The true aim of “toiling over Scripture” is to get God’s word into our hearts and minds. Only when it is there will it affect us for the better. Probably everyone reading this article has a copy (or a few!) of the Bible, but that’s not the goal: Do we read it?

The psalmist obviously toiled over Scripture, for he wrote in Psalm 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” That’s where God’s word really belongs – in our hearts. In his case he might have memorized large portions of God’s word. Or he might have been so familiar with Scripture through his frequent reading of it that it was hidden in his heart.

Through His prophet God announced that a new covenant was coming: “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). When Scripture is in my heart, God begins to change me into the person I need to be.

What does all of this mean for you and me? “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your soul” (James 1:21). God’s word can save my soul! If that’s true, then here is one Book out of all others over which I should toil.

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2019, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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