My dad’s been reflecting on what the Bible says to musicians/artists and to scientists. What are some passages tucked away in plain sight that address what the Bible says to writers, like those passages my father is seeing with new eyes? Immediately I thought of Psalm 51:15: “Open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise.”
Writers can only write as the Lord allows them. If God did not open our lips, gift us mouths and our other means of expression, we would be mute, anguished, tormented. Yet God gives us more than mere physical means. He gives us content, depth, insight, reflection.
This isn’t to overlook our imaginations or our mental and emotional abilities, but it’s worth a moment to consider the extent to which so much writing is reflection. Whether it reflects good or ill varies, of course, but we respond to our environment, relationships, etc. It is only possibly because we were first passively put into this world and series of events. And, only one step further, aren’t we responders precisely because we have a great Listener who would walk and talk among us in the cool of the day?
Our Listener weaves beauty into our setting. He allows for contemplation, personalized expression, application, poetry and symbolism, and all the varied forms and fruits to shape and share. He gives and we speak. He listens and commands our prayer.
He gives us more than the gifts of creation ripe for recognition and inspiration. In Christ He freely gives Himself, revealing His very Words, works, will, and ways.
Here’s another gem from Psalm 45: “My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe” (v. 1).
Overflow, Mr. & Ms. Ready Scribe, with a pleasing theme, admittedly more complicated than many might stereotype. Churn around mercy, sacrifice, humility, grace, and a happily ever after only after tragedy, a hard-fought victory and a single Beloved Victor. Struggle against temptation. Seek goodness, wisdom, and truth, despite knowing that all of these things are greater than we could ever gather for ourselves.
But if you want to look, if you want to do a word search on good, ol’ Biblegateway, check out tongues, lips, write, and scribe. Sadly, scribes are not consistently those who save the day. (At least Ezra the priest may have been a scribe and editor extraordinaire of Scripture. I need to look more into that!)
As always, in Scripture one quickly grasps just how great sinners we all are. Our words fall short of wisdom, our lips lie, and mouths smirk and rise up against others. We are warned. We are scolded. We fall so short.
Then an Author came along, a better Word, whose publicity and endorsement is a faceless voice saying, “Listen to Him!” And suddenly there is hope for writers, too. Heads in the cloud can be headed to heaven. Poetic lament finds the truth, beauty, and justice so rarely found. The romantics find love and playwrights betrayal and perfect redemptive tragedy.
What the Bible says to writers is what it says to everyone else. Listen to Jesus. Repent. Look not to your own understanding, prowess, or progress. Receive God’s gifts and “overflow with a pleasing theme” that God Himself supplies.
2 Responses to The Bible says to Writers . . .
Another thoughtful post, thank-you! I also like what Jesus said here: “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” – Matthew 13:51 (ESV).
I only met you today, and as a Christian poet who is wondering where my poems fit in the body of Christ, I am very interested in following your conversation. Regret that in reading your father’s blog I hadn’t picked up on his reflections addressed to writers. Need to remedy that!