What Scripture Teaches Us About Writing


By Marilyn Nutter

When you read the title, was your answer pray first? Perhaps it was be honest and have integrity. Yes, we pray for ideas and ask for insights about our topic. Sometimes we pray for direction, that God would show us the topic we should write about, or how to best organize a proposal and table of contents.

And it goes without saying, we want to be honest, manage sensitive topics with integrity, and accurately use statistics and facts. Scripture teaches us all of these.

But once we’ve prayed and know honesty and integrity are non-negotiables, what does Scripture show us about the mechanics of writing?

The purpose of the gospel of Luke was to write an orderly account, so that we would have certainty of the things we have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)

·       We write with order and clarity-sometimes chronologically and sometimes sequentially, building on ideas. We expand ideas that need additional information, communicating our thoughts so that readers understand. We also write with confidence in the accuracy of our facts because of our experience or research.

The apostle Paul identified his target audience. He established common ground with them, acknowledging what he knew about them so that they could connect before he gave the gospel (Acts 17:22-31).

·       As we think about our readers—our target audience—we need to know who they are so we can choose the right vocabulary. We ask ourselves what we need to define or explain. How much knowledge do my readers have in a particular subject? What can I assume? What do I know about them? What shouldn’t I assume? What is their age and background? Am I offering new information or delving more deeply into what they know about the topic? What is their felt need?

Scripture offers clarity. Many times in a passage we come across words that are repeated. Scripture shows us that if a word is repeated, God wants us to know it it’s important.

·       When we write, we don’t want to be redundant. Using the “find” tool on our computers, we can see how many times the same word is used, so we search for synonyms. If we have facts, ideas, or Scriptures that are important, look for synonyms, quotes to amplify, or Scriptures that confirm the main idea.

 We pray first. We write and relate to audiences with honesty. Using biblical principles can show us how to develop our craft and enhance our writing too. What are your thoughts?



Luke 1: 1-4: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+1%3A1-4&version=NIVnull

Acts 17:22-31: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts%2017%3A22-31&version=NIV

Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com and Rachael Strong.

Marilyn Nutter is co-author with April White of Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart, and a frequent contributor to online sites and compilations. Visit her website at http:/MarilynNutter.com.


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