Sunday, May 12, 2013
The 17:18 Series: Acts
A few days ago, I read this story: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/2013/05/area-man-copies-out-entire-bible-by-hand, which I encourage you to read before continuing with this review. It was a perfect set-up for reviewing this book.
For those not familiar with this series, it is a series of essentially blank journals published by Reformation Heritage Books for the purpose of encouraging Christians to write out their own copy of the Scriptures. It is based on two considerations: first, that the king of Israel was required to write out for himself a copy of the book of the Law (Deut 17:18, hence the 17:18 in the series title); second, that those who write out notes learn better than those who merely listen or merely read.
The book gives the reader/writer a place to write out, book by book, a copy of the Scriptures for himself. There are some sixteen volumes of the series already in publication. As it says in the opening pages of the book itself, the Journible (I suppose this is a conflation of journal and Bible) “is a profoundly simple attempt to aid a person’s ability to engage the Word of God by slowing down the process of simply reading the text.” There are some helpful comments at the beginning of the volume to encourage and give direction to the writer. The journal is set up for the writer to write his copy on the right-hand page, leaving room for annotations on the left.
Granted, you don’t need a specially published journal to do this. You can buy your own journal, or a notebook, and do the same thing. But most good-quality journals cost more than this volume does, and most contain fewer pages. The aim is not to produce a work of art, as in the report I linked at the beginning of this review, but rather to own the text of Scripture in a way that the writer has not done before.
Now most people who use this will probably intend to copy out whatever translation of the Scriptures they currently use. However, I would suggest considering copying out the King James Bible, if for no other reason than to familiarize yourself with a translation that has gotten lost in the last forty years in most of evangelicalism. The modern translations have their place, and their us; even the “see Spot run” simple-language versions. But there is a beauty and rhythm to the language of the King James Bible that it would do many modern Christians good to rediscover. And it would give you reason to write explanatory notes on the left-hand page about archaic words and other such considerations.