My wife often says to me: “If it’s not written down, it won’t get done.’ And the standard cyclist’s comment for the distance and data of a ride is: “If it’s not recorded on Strava, it never happened.”

Writing is important. It confirms the memory; it literally provides both evidence and a commentary on what happened; records what was planned to happen and what did happen.

Books are important. They bundle together various thoughts and records. Indeed, even the word ‘Bible’ comes from the Greek ‘biblia’ which means ‘books’ – and we have 66 books or separate writings which make up the Bible – 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.

Writing has been found that dates back to 1500 BC (letters written by Palestinian officials), 2350 BC (King Sargon I’s inscriptions) and even before 3000 BC (Egyptian hieroglyphics). Scripture – the Bible – may have begun as an oral tradition (it is astonishing to consider the lengthy passages memorised by people of olden times) but through writing, we do not have to commit knowledge to memory: it is there, written down for us. Nowadays we have both electronic screens and paper. In Celtic Christian times, they used vellum (calfskin). Many cultures wrote on wood, such as runes carved by the Old Norse. Papyrus (a reed-like plant) is synonymous with Ancient Egypt. The Assyrians wrote on clay tablets. And before all that, writing was carved in stone itself. Indeed, there’s a shout out right there not just to the stories inscribed on Celtic Christian Tall Crosses, but more importantly, to the Ten Commandments, inscribed on stone tablets in around 1500 BC. 

Writing is the means for recording permanently and for broadcasting the message. Erastus is a person mentioned in the Bible only three times. In Acts 9, Paul sends two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia. In Romans 16, Paul notes that Erastus “… who is the city’s director of public works [the ‘Aedile’], and our brother Quartus send you their greetings.” And in 2 Timothy, Paul records that “Erastus stayed in Corinth and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.” In 1929 archaeological investigations in Corinth uncovered some pavement slabs from the first century AD. Inscribed on them was “Erastus pro aedilitate sua pecunia stravit” which translates as “Erastus paid for these as his aedileship.” The writing in stone was permanent and it broadcast the message.

As George noted in our 100th edition, the aim of our own ePistle newsletter is “to bring you news, information, Scripture message, godly hope, and encouragement, sharing our faith and joy with each other.”

There are 426 references in Scripture (NIV translation) to writing / written / write / wrote. That would take quite a few articles, so we will not look at each one but will journey through the Bible and pause to investigate and acknowledge why it is so important to write things down.

Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll,
that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. (Isaiah 30:8)

[from Timothy Pitt]

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