Thursday, October 23, 2014
When asked how central the Bible is to their writings, many members of our Christian Poets and Writers group on Facebook had much to say!
Those responses have been combined in this post with only a few changes such as omitting last names, correcting punctuation, or adding words (as shown in parentheses) to complete a sentence. If words or phrases had to be omitted, ellipses (…) indicate that.
QUESTIONS: How central is the Bible to your writing? Do you look up scriptures or research with more than one translation? In what ways can the Bible help to unite us in Christ?
Lynn Oh, my! Since I write devotionals and inspirational stories, scripture is always central to what I write. Some devotions are filled with scripture, while a story may only include one. I do love to search all the versions to see what best fits what I'm writing. I couldn't write unless it's based on scripture.
Keren My writing is peppered with scripture. I tend to stick to one or two translations.
Stan I always use The Bible, directly and indirectly. I prefer the NKJV (New King James Version) translation, so I don't always check others, but I do occasionally. The Holy Bible is the only written Word of God… explaining "God's Free Gift of Salvation"…found through Jesus Christ.
Diane Wow, great questions that will generate helpful responses. Each vignette in my 40-day devotional, "My Resurrected Heart: A Codependent's Journey" ends with Scripture related to that day's story. I used the NKJV, NLT (New Living Translation), The Message, CEB (Common English Bible), and others in the final draft. I love how scriptures come alive in our everyday life.
Kathi The Bible is totally the center of my writing. I often search other translations…for one that best conveys my point. Mary, you asked what ways the Bible can help us unite in Christ. I think of a passage I've prayed for myself and my family (from) Ephesians 1:17-19 -- that God would give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened to know the hope, riches, and power…. Ultimately, it's God's Word that speaks to us and unites us – not our messages to each other.
Mary Sayler Yes! Thank you for mentioning that.
Karin The Bible is absolutely essential to my writing since I write devotionals and Bible teaching articles. Yes, I do look up verses from several different translations to get a better understanding of the verse. I also look up words in the Greek and Hebrew dictionaries. The Bible will help unite the Body of Christ as we all strive to understand and obey it.
Mary Sayler Amen!
Marylou Without the Bible, I wouldn't be the person I am. Not that I am anywhere near perfect, but without God's word in my heart, how could my writing reflect the truth?
Ernesto The Bible is my story, and all my stories are part of God's bigger story.
Lorraine Without the Bible I wouldn't be writing. It is definitely essential.
Sue Without the Bible and God's amazing grace, His unstoppable love, and His mercy, I would have no reason to write. I write devotions and articles to inspire people about God's love for them.
Joy It's essential. Without it, my writing is just words.
John After one eats a meal, it becomes life to them, it becomes a part of them, and the nutrition that is taken in…. The same is true with the word. As we…get it down deep inside us it becomes a part of who we are; it is life unto us. This is where my writings come from. They flow out of me because they are a part of who I am inside. The research is already done and has been proven through life itself. At that point, It is more then just words or teachings from the word; it is life, and who I am.
Fran We need the scriptures to feed our readers.
Theresa I love these writing prompts and being a part of this group. I just want to say that I am so encouraged here. Thank you for this group.
Mary Sayler Thank you for being part of it!
Theresa I am convinced that the word washes our hearts and aligns our mind. The more I intake the word, the purer I find my writing and writing process to be. Even when what comes out doesn't sound like paraphrased scripture, the essence and heart of scripture is there. There is no doubt that the Bible is the best accumulation of content concerning the character, will, heart and mind of God.
1. Therefore, to be intimate with the Bible in the midst of a yearning heart is also a form of intimacy with God. I am discovering that the more time I spend in the Word, the more intense my voice for God becomes -- whether it comes out through (writing) sermons, songs, poetry, devotions, blogs or even developing the administrative vision for ministry. It literally affects every aspect of my scribal ministry. For me, it's that central.
2. I use the Complete Jewish Bible for my studies primarily. It is the combination of a functional and formal translation with a twist: It presents the scriptures from a Hebraic perspective... breaking bearers in my understanding that are centrally westernized. I tend to also use two formal translations as well: NKJV and ASB. I lean more toward wanting to grasp the original intent of the scriptures and then working my way out from there when writing Bible studies or scripture-based blogs.
3. The Bible unites us in Christ... by revealing God's heart for his reunion with mankind. I try to read it as a love story from beginning to end instead of an instruction manual of dos and don'ts.
Mary Sayler Oh, I love that! God's love story....
Vicky (The Bible) is the crux of every word I write. The desire to glorify God and draw others to Him motivates all my writing. When it doesn't, I fail.
Ian The Bible is the only source of absolute truth on earth (because) it is the word of God. If I don't cite it directly, it is the philosophy underneath everything I write.
Christopher I don't always look up passages, but it's in nearly everything I write one way or another.
Ashley My writing usually comes from being inspired or learning something new while reading. I usually use the NLT, and then read the KJV because I like to look up the words' original meaning in Strong's Concordance.
Mary K. I use the Bible concordance to find prompts for my poetry. I am completing a series on my blog now.
Deborah (The Bible) is central to all of my Daily Bible Reading Lessons. I usually start with the KJV of the Bible and then use other versions and concordances for clarity.
Nellie I look up scripture in many translations. God's word is key in everything I do, whether it be writing or other things. Reading the Bible is the central truth behind our whole belief. If we are to be united, then we must know and practice the commands set forth in the Bible.
Joy As Christian poets and writers, the Bible is the ballast and wisdom of our days, Holy Spirit breath speaking inspiration into our ways, and the bulwark against selfish ambition and self-motivated works as we commit words to page. A variety of translations aid deeper understanding and offer a fresh perspective to the text.
Patti Ditto everybody! It's me 'n Him, and Him 'n me--I know no other way to be! How could I write, without his Words? Why, that would be the most absurd! They breathe the life, the sorrow, joy to everyone, each girl, each boy. It's just the way it really is--God's wrapped inside, my writing biz!
SafetyNet Mary, it is an interesting question. My E-Prayers always spring for a Biblical text.
Annie As for me The Word of God or the Bible… is my Life and lifestyle. Therefore, it is central in my writing and the things I do. Yes, indeed, I look at many translations when I am studying, reading, writing, and preparing to minister.
Barbara Jesus is the Word so not sure you need much more than that to help us unite with Christ. Yes, I look up verses and sometimes more than one translation. (The Bible) is central to my writing.
Linda If the Lord hadn't shaped my relationship with him through scriptural dialogue, I wouldn't be a writer at all. I mean, what else is really worth writing about (directly or indirectly)? I use the Bible a great deal in my writing. It's the ultimate writing prompt, full of themes and evocative phrases for poems, hymns, and devotions, and of course sermons and Bible studies. I study the Bible as a resource to portray biblical people and situations authentically in my dramas, which I consider to be important even when drawing them into fictional premises. I often compare multiple translations on Bible Gateway, especially to find just the right phrasing for a hymn. I love it when people share scripture verses to encourage one another. I don't love it when people wield scripture verses as a weapon of reprimand.
Walter Even in my sportswriting field, I use the Bible more than most, but in my personal writings, it is one of the most used references.
Popeye I never write without it -- blogs or books. Personally, I'm enjoying Eugene Peterson's The Message Bible.
Regina Two NIV (New International Version) translations, the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, Amplified Bible, Strong's Concordance, Strong's Concordance online, Bible Gateway, and Biblehub are all around me and at my fingertips when I'm writing my blog posts, the book I just had published, and my stories for The Hand of God show.
Gary I use several translations. (The Bible) is the foundation from which I write, even though my article may be about incidents or something not even pertaining to Scripture. I try to keep in mind its "soundness," and I use Google a lot in searching for verses.
Dawn Even when not quoting a specific scripture, …I read and meditate on the Word (because) it infuses my writing…. I am grateful for the web for making scripture so easily accessible in a hurry, although I love my concordance and paper Bibles best!
Mary Sayler Me too, but for my favorite translations, I love quality leather covers. They endure longer than paperbacks but also stay open on my desk.
Prayer S. There are those who say this translation or that is the only one which should be consulted, but unless we are able to read the original texts, whatever we read is a translation. Any attempt to translate is subject to the comprehension and interpretation of the translator. Whichever translation we consult, as we read, we ourselves must interpret and subsequently discern the the meaning and truth within the scripture.
If we are confused as we consult different translations, we must remember John 14:26. Before we read, we should pray the Holy Spirit reveals to our heart the truth of the message of God which He intended. Before we write, we should pray the Holy Spirit will guide us so that we may help share, reveal, reinforce, and not obscure His truth. Blessings to all who see these words, and may His peace and love be with you all.
Mary Sayler And also with you!
Wanda All of my books are based on Bible scriptures…. I read both the King James Version, and the NIV. The Bible instructs us to follow Christ, if we obey the Bible we are united with Christ.
Janiece The Holy Spirit is… my own guideline. He directs me where I need to go by His Word, circumstances, or events in my life and others. I learn and grow from others and from His word, and then I give it to the world.
TR I like comparing about a dozen versions. The easiest way to do this is with Bible software. The commercial programs are very good, but there are also some really good free ones. I have used eSword and liked it very much. Currently I am hooked on the Word Bible Software.
Gil I have recently returned to the KJV for another go round with the scriptures. I have used the NIV, the NKJV, the NEV (New English Version), and NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) for years but have been part of a KJV study group for some time now. I am also studying Apocryphal works.
Mary Sayler Me too.
Cynthia Recently I have been reading the new Passion Translation, beautifully done and poetic, but translated from Aramaic and old Hebrew, by Brian Simmons. The comparison I am doing is with NLT and NKJV. He calls the Book of Psalms “Poetry on Fire,” but the Bible is central to my writing as Jesus is central to my faith. …The only way I know that true unity will ever exist (is) with Jesus the Center.
SafetyNet Scripture is always my kick off point for my daily E-Prayers.
Philip I use and highly recommend the New American Standard Bible for study, but the KJV is necessary for use with the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance as it "keys" its numbers off of the KJV. I also recommend the use of Vine's Greek Expository, the Interlinear Bible, which is a translation of the Masoretic Text and Textus Receptus from the original Hebrew and Greek into English, the Matthew Henry Commentary, The Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus, the New Unger's Dictionary and Bible Handbook, Lectures in Systematic Theology by Henry Thiessen, and, of course, the Thompson Chain Reference KJV.
Lynn I use most of those plus Thayer's and others in my Bible program. I love all the resources!
Cynthia On the subject of unity, I believe Jesus wanted us to continue in one focus regardless of the translation, denomination, or doctrine. He wanted us to focus on learning how to love one another – first to let Him love us and then to love others – as we have been freely given, then give. My mind plays connect the dots often with all that He said and all that He is to me. If you will follow my train a moment: Beginning in the beginning, God said let there be light, (Jesus is the light.) When God said Let there be and there was, His word was true (Jesus is the word of God made flesh.) Jesus is the truth, the life, the way, and nothing made was not made without Him. Everything God said, Jesus is. God is Love, and Jesus demonstrated that Love by His suffering and dying. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.We are the creative masterpiece that is the object of His Love.
Life is not just to be born. Life is to be connected by His love, to be transformed into the image and likeness of His Son, to be His sons and daughters. We are family and that makes us all connected. Unity is to maintain a connection of Love from the heart of God, and to maintain that connection no matter what. Disconnection causes disunity just as discouragement causes a loss of courage. Disunity is the loss of the connection of Love with each other and with our Father who is Love.
From Genesis to Revelations, He is saying over and over: Come to me. I love you. And you kids (need to) love each other and get along.
Philip Cynthia, you have spoken well the truths we find (as in John) that Jesus is "The Word," that He is "The Light," and that our first, best duty is to love the Father of whom we now are truly His (our "Abba's") children! Then to love others as we love ourselves. As Paul admonishes in I Corinthians, no matter what we do or who we are, without love we are nothing!
(We need) to "root" ourselves in love – that Agape love that God's Spirit sheds within our hearts, that we may be fruit-bearing branches of the "true vine" of Jesus. And what fruit would that be? The "fruit of the Spirit" - love, kindness, peace, tolerance (forbearance) of others, gentleness, and self-control. How did Christ say we would be recognized as His followers? By our love! "We" are now His body, imbued with the power of His Spirit that the ministry of Christ to all the world continues until His return!
Mary Sayler Amen! Thank you all for your valuable responses. May your words join The Word in your writings, and may our lives join as One Body in the fellowship and love of Jesus Christ.
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, who began the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts. She’s the poet-author of 27 books in all genres for Christian and educational markets and wrote the e-book, the Christian Writers’ Guide to writing and publishing. Mary also reviews new editions and translations of the Bible on the Bible Reviewer blog.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
In our work and lives as Christian poets, writers, and other communicators for Christ, these Bible verses will help us to focus our prayers, words, and writings on healing the current miffs and ancient rifts in the Family of God.
First, let’s take Jesus at His word:
Matthew 5:9: Blessed are you who make peace, for you shall be called the children of God!
Matthew 18:19: Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you.
John 10:16: I have other sheep who are not in this sheepfold, and I must bring them in too. They will listen to My voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
John 13:35: And in this way, everyone will know you are My disciples - by the love you show one another.
John 15:12: This is what I command you: Love one another in the same way I have loved you.
Then, in the New Testament letters, the Apostles and early Christian writers gave us these words of encouragement, explanation, and exhortation.
Romans 12:5: In Christ’s body, we are like many parts, who all belong to each other.
1 Corinthians 1:10: I appeal to you all, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and allow no dissensions among you, so you may be united in the same mind and purpose.
11 Corinthians 12:20: For I’m afraid that, when I come, I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my reaction! I’m afraid I will find you quarreling, jealous, angry, selfish, back-biting, gossipy, arrogant, and disorderly.
Galatians 3:28: No longer are you to distinguish yourself as a Jew or as a Gentile, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman, for you are all now one in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:14: For Christ Himself is our peace! Through His own Body, He made both Jews and Gentiles into one body when He broke down every barrier that divides us.
Ephesians 4:3: Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, bound together with peace.
Ephesians 4:13: Keep on until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we become mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full standard of Christ.
Philippians 1:27: Let your conversations be becoming to the gospel of Christ, so that whether together or not, others will hear how you stand fast in one spirit with one mind working together for the faith of the gospel.
11 Timothy 2:23-25: Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments or debates that only cause fights and dissension. Those who work for the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, and patient. Gently instruct those who oppose you. Perhaps God will change their hearts, and they will learn the truth.
1 Peter 3:8: And, finally, be of one mind and spirit – empathetic, compassionate, and courteous, not returning ill will for ill will or insult for insult but instead blessing one another that you may inherit God’s blessing.
As we focus on each of those verses in our lives, writings, and love for the Family of God, we can be assured of the power of Christ in the church Body of Christ. And, oh, what a world of difference that will make!
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, ecumenical Christian poet, writing consultant, and author of the Christian Writers’ Guide e-book and the poetry book Living in the Nature Poem
[Note: The Thompson Chain Reference Bible highlighted the verses selected for this theme, and the Bible Gateway website provided many translations to compare for the above prayer-a-phrases. May God continue to bless their good work and ours.]