Before Moses and the children of Israel ever entered the promised land and centuries before they ever crowned their first king, God gave instructions regarding the future kings of Israel. One particularly interesting command is found in Deuteronomy 17:18…
“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.”
God instructed each and every king of Israel to make his own personal copy of the law. This would have consisted of the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. (How long do you think that would take and how heavy would those scrolls be?) The Lord was not just giving them “busywork”, and there was certainly no shortage of servants or hired scribes who could have done the job for the king, but there was a specific purpose in the king copying the law of the Lord for himself.
Deuteronomy 17:19-20 explains this purpose…“And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel.”
One of my friends learned about this mandate to the kings, and she was intrigued by it. She started filling a notebook, beginning with Genesis 1:1. She shared with me that it was definitely an interesting exercise to actually copy the words from the Bible. She said it made her read more slowly and thoughtfully, and that it caused her to stop and want to study things further that she had tended to just gloss over or not even notice before.
Copywork is definitely a beneficial exercise in our children’s education, but I challenge you as an adult to consider the benefits of Bible copywork for yourself as well. Maybe you would like to memorize an entire chapter; copying it would help in that endeavor. Maybe you want to write down some verses that deal with a particular subject such as hope, contentment, discipline, peace, or courage; the following list can help get you started. If you would like our topical list of Bible copywork for yourself or your children, click here. This list includes single verses up to entire chapters.
Blessings to you and yours,
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