In ancient times, the scribes would hand copy every word from the Bible.
“The scribes operated under strict rules and procedures for copying to ensure the text remained unchanged. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, reinforces the accuracy of the oldest known transcripts.” ~Bible Blender
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic while the New Testament was written in Greek.
“For most of its long history, the Bible was copied by hand. For over a thousand years, everything was done by hand. Copying is long, tedious work. It would take a scribe several months to copy just one Gospel.” ~Bruce Metzger
A scribe would hand copy the Scriptures word for word, passage by passage until he completed the book of the Bible they were hand copying.
A Modern Copy
Today, we have many options for reading the Scriptures. There are printed copies available in multiple translations. There are digital copies we can access on our electronic devices. The Bible is even available in braille for those who cannot see to read the Scriptures. And we have the Audio Bible which allows anyone to listen to the Bible.
The Lord calls us to meditate on His Word.
“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to that all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” ~Joshua 1:8 NASB
A Personal Hand Copy
Even with all these opportunities for accessing the Scriptures, many of us desire to hand copy a Bible verse or a Scripture passage by hand for deeper engagement with God’s Word. When we hand copy the Bible, we are being intentional with our focus which enables us to memorize and recall the verses we hand copy.
A personal hand copy of God’s Word can help us grow in godliness. Paul exhorted Timothy to show himself an example of those who believe. Growing in God’s character by learning, and then living His Word is priceless.
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” ~1 Timothy 4:12 NASB
“Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.” ~2 Timothy 2:15 WEB
Visual Copy of Matthew
I appreciate The Visual Bible’s account of The Gospel According to Matthew. It is a word-for-word visual representation of Matthew’s hand copy of the Gospel of Matthew. When our children were young, we would watch Matthew in the winter. It was a wonderful way to fill our long days. Our children called it the ‘Smiling Jesus’ because He smiled and laughed so much in the presentation.
Bible Blender. The Complete History of Bible Translations. Published by Bible Blender on January 6, 2019. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from The complete history of Bible translations – how the Word was delivered from God to our modern-day Bibles – Bible Blender
Metzger, Bruce. Published by Christianity Today on June 28, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from For most of its long history, the Bible was copied by hand. How easy was it for a mistake to enter into t… | Christian Bible Studies (christianitytoday.com)
New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB 1995), copyright 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
World English Bible (WEB) by Public Domain. The name “World English Bible” is trademarked.
*The Visual Bible – The Gospel of Matthew is available from christianbook.com and amazon.com
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Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. The one-word prompt this week is copy.