I recently gave the gift of pencils to 34 women at a women’s retreat, two apiece. I tied a ribbon around them, curled it up and put them in a gift bag. I couldn’t wait to hand them out, I had been excited for months.
These were no ordinary pencils. They were black Ticonderoga pencils, “The World’s BEST PENCIL” (exactly what it says on the box they come in). I have to agree with their biased advertising.
You see, these are the pencils I have been using for years to write in my Bible. I nearly always have one (or three) of them stuck between my pages. I have come to a point where I can’t concentrate on what I read if I don’t have a pencil in my hand. It honestly drives me crazy.
When I have a pencil I can underline verses I want to remember, circle words that are important and need emphases, add notes in the margins, draw arrows for reference, star my favorite verses, sketch wings when necessary (had to have been at the retreat), and add question marks for things I just don’t get.
How do any of you survive without one? Fortunately, 34 of you ladies don’t have to worry about this any longer.
Some of you have heard me go on about this before and may be rolling your eyes right about now, but you will have to get used to it. I will be talking about keeping a pencil in your Bible till I die. Or a pen if you must.
The Bible, of course, is the awesome, perfect and powerful words of God written for our benefit. A pencil is the tool that causes intentional engagement with those words on our part. It is hard to explain until you put into practice for a while.
Marking with a pencil as you read causes you to pick out parts that are important to remember and areas that you want to revisit. It makes it much easier to find certain scriptures when you need to. You will feel personally engaged in what you are reading and you will find yourself remembering more since you took the time to pause and take notice.
Many people have asked me my specific process for studying the Bible. I often give them an odd look and tell them, I just sit with my study Bible and my pencil and go at it. They return my odd look and ask if I can direct them to a more specific resource. I have a couple solid ones I recommend, but not before trying to convince them that they need to learn how to wrestle first.
Pray, read your Bible and use your pencil. Wrestle with scripture, build your muscles, and be determined.
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4.
Instructions written for us to build endurance and offer encouragement and hope. I’m all in for that. God’s Word is a deep source of treasure and my pencil is like the pick axe, helping me to mine understanding and gain wisdom. Enough with the metaphors? I can’t help it, it is SO good.
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20-22. In God’s word I find life and I want all I can get. I feel the healing that comes from time spent connecting with God through the words he wrote for me. I can’t ever get enough.
I told the ladies at the retreat that day that I wanted them to hear my voice when they looked at their pencils. They needed to hear me saying to them, “Read your Bible, write in your Bible!” My prayer is that they have done just that and someday I know they will be glad they did. It changed my life long ago… not the pencil used, but the Words of God they highlighted.
Grab your Bible, your pencil and get to it, Ladies! Read your Bible, write in your Bible!