18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees 20 and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.
These words describe God’s command to the future kings who would reign over Israel. However, the Bible does not record any Old Testament kings who obeyed this command. We have no indication that David, Solomon, or any of their descendants enjoyed the benefits described in these words.
But we can. A close look describes seven benefits for those who handwrite Scripture. Though the context is different, these seven concepts continue today.
Scripture Will Be with Us
The first benefit is that our handwritten Scripture will be with us: “It is to be with him.” Yes, we can access Scripture in many ways today. However, a personal handwritten copy of Scripture or a portion of it includes memories and an impact unmatched by a printed or electronic version.
We Can Read It Daily
If we have Scripture with us daily, we can read it daily: “he is to read it all the days of his life.” This also connects with the words of Psalm 1 that proclaim blessing on the person who meditates on God’s words day and night.
We Can Worship the Lord
A third benefit is “so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God.” We can worship God in many ways; handwriting Scripture is one of them. The slow pace of meditating on the Bible while writing it can often open fresh and unique worship experiences missed through other expressions of worship.
We Can Obey God
Verse 19 adds the benefit to “follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees.” If we write Scripture, we at least know what it says and are more likely to obey it. The goal of knowing God’s Word is not only wisdom, but application.
We Can Live Humbly
The temptation of a king or any leader is pride. Handwriting Scripture can help a person “not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites.” We are all created in the image of God. When we take the time to focus on God’s design for our lives and the lives of others, we exhibit a greater love and respect for all people.
We Can Be Faithful
Verse 19 adds that handwriting Scripture will help a leader not “turn from the law to the right or to the left.” We will stay focused on what is right when we write it out.
We Can Live Blessed
The final verse in this section notes “he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” This general sense of blessing can likewise come upon those who still today take time to handwrite Scripture. A long life, descendants, and stability were all marks of blessing in the time of Moses.
We may not be concerning with a long reign, but we do desire God’s blessing. What better way to live for God than to interact with his words at the most basic, personal level of writing them out?
Whether one verse or the entire Bible, this ancient practice can invigorate our relationship with God and bless our relationships with others. It is possible and beneficial for those who accept the challenge of handwriting Scripture today.
Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and blogs about his experiences of handwriting the Bible at the Holy Writ Project on Patheos.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook or Twitter.