Four Essential Editing Tips for Bible-Based Writers
By Katy Kauffman
I think snickerdoodles are essential. They give joy. When you can’t have much sugar like I can’t, you need bite-sized cookies like the ones I’ve found. Maybe you need something more substantial like donuts. Especially when you edit.
following editing tips for Bible-based writers may not be as yummy as
snickerdoodles or donuts, but they will help to make your writing appealing to
your audience. And your readers will probably come back for seconds.
Four Essential Editing Tips
1. Make sure you’ve picked the best “ingredients” for your main point.
look at your article or chapter, and identify your main point. Write it (or
type it) at the top of your page. This is the irresistible tidbit you want to
serve to your readers.
Second, identify which ingredients you have used to make your point. These would include your main Bible passage and any cross-references. They would include your stories or illustrations. See if each ingredient adds interest and insight to build your point. Do you need a different definition or commentary note? Or is the mixture of goodies just right for your reader to take joy in what you’ve written and be nourished by it?
2. Double-check your wording of Scripture.
Some Bible verses are etched into our brains like our favorite recipes. It’s easy though to combine two Bible translations as we recall a verse.
Help your readers (and editors) by double-checking your Bible verses word for word. I’ve been surprised by how many times I’ve combined two Bible translations in my memory without realizing it. Verifying the wording will help readers and keep us baking … I mean, writing … books for a long time without getting into trouble with Bible translation copyrights. It can also better nourish our readers if we quote the verses correctly.
3. Underline your takeaway sentences as you edit, to make sure you have enough of them.
What do you want the reader to take away from your writing? Is it spaced well through your content, or does it appear just at the end of your article or chapter?
Takeaway can start in your lead-in, appear in how you explain Scripture and apply it, and show up in how you end your writing. Be sure to give your readers something to nibble on throughout the whole piece.
4. Look for punch, zip, and wow in your writing.
When my ministry buddy and I wrote our first books, we printed the chapters and got out our colored markers. We assigned a color to each of these ingredients—punch, zip, and wow. When you write about the Bible, include punch—make a point and make it well. Add some zip—say something in just the right way at just the right time. And make sure you have enough wow—sparkling insights and takeaway that speak to the felt need of your audience.
Print your work, and grab some colored pens, or use the highlighter function in your word processor. Assign colors to finding punch, zip, and wow, and see if you can identify these delightful ingredients. If a section of your writing doesn’t have much color in it, go back and fine tune that part.
Which of these editing tips seems the most appealing to you? May God bless each piece of writing that you prepare for your readers, and I hope you find just the right treat when you’ve completed your edits.
Photo by Rachel Strong on Unsplash
Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. She has taught the Bible to women and teens, and her Bible studies focus on winning life’s spiritual battles. Katy is a regular contributor to the Write Conversation and to two websites for young women. Connect with her at her blog, Life with God, and on Facebook.