By Jimmy Nzioki
During the CLC Kenya’s Entrpreneurs Webibar, we had a Bookpreneurship break-out session where we learnt that we should look at authorship as a responsibility and not just an opportunity.
With that in mind, we’ll look at various authors in the Bible who took up the challenge of writing as a responsibility and more so as a way of preserving the events that occurred for the sake of future generations. Most if not all, wrote for the sake of posterity.
We have the same challenge today as authors to be the record-keepers of the events that happen in our world today for the sake of posterity. We might also be called by God to write as a way of directing our generation towards a particular divine direction or guiding lost souls and pointing them to Christ.
Moses the Writer
A quick run through the Book (The Bible) we meet with the first author who is revered by the Jews to this very day for his writings- his name is Moses. He wrote the first five books of the Bible – The Pentateuch and within it, he also wrote the Ten Commandments on Tablets of stone after he had broken (literally) the first copy that had been hand-written by God. The book of Job is also attributed to Moses as well as some of the Psalms.
Many centuries later, when Christ was on the brink of starting out his three-year ministry, He would quote from the book of Deuteronomy (referred to as the beloved book of the Lord by theologians) when He was tempted by Satan. The famous words, “It is written….” are quite memorable to date.
Writing Preservation During Persian Rule
We also see some aspects of writing as preservation in the times of the Persian rule right before Esther’s ascent as the Queen of Persia. We are taken to a scene where Xerxes the ruler of Persia is having a hard time getting to sleep and unlike what we would expect for a man of his stature, to ask for some entertainment, he instead asks for a book to be read to him.
We read in Esther 6:1
"…king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king." (emphasis mine)
Now Mordecai gets honored for having saved the king from an assassination attempt. This would have otherwise been forgotten if somebody hadn’t written down his heroic deed. It’s also common knowledge that edicts by Kings were expected to be written down for ease of future reference and some were so strict that once written they couldn’t be repealed.
Writing Preservation in Israel
It was also the responsibility of Kings of Israel to write for themselves a copy of the law by hand and word for word as a way of helping them rule righteously.
During the time of Ezra when Artaxerxes was still in power, we learn of the rebuilding of Jerusalem by the cohort that came back from exile. However, there was a lot of opposition from the inhabitants of the land. We find this in Ezra 4:6-23. Of particular interest, we learn that the people who opposed the rebuilding of Jerusalem invoked that a search be made in the records of the ancestors to affirm their view that indeed Jerusalem was a rebellious and evil city.
We read this in Ezra 4:15 that states
"in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste."
Now while we may imagine that records are good, at times these same records can also be written that won’t favour us either as an individual or an institution. Take for example, Newspapers that report biased information. It’s not something that started recently as can be observed from the passage we have just read.
This tells us as authors that at times we may be called by God to state matters as they are like the prophets of old did to their people. While there is a place for applying gentleness and respect while addressing societal issues, God never shies from calling out the error. A good example is a strong language that Christ Himself would use to rebuke the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. At times we need to call a spade a spade and not a big spoon but this is to be done with wisdom.
Writing Preservation in the New Testament
We admire Paul for his writings and they form a fundamental basis for our faith. I found it intriguing that some of his letters were actually dictated to others much like some prophets of old had scribes who wrote on their behalf. For instance Romans 16:22 says,
"I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord.".
The above tells us that so long as God has put a message in our hearts, it’s our responsibility to see how best to communicate it to the world regardless of our limitations.
For every Moses, there is an Aaron.
I believe this perhaps forms the basis and need for editors in the writing process. They make our writings more clear for our audiences.
A Call to Writing Preservation Today
I will wrap up with the introduction to the book of Revelation which says,
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near."
My fellow authors and would-be authors, may we be faithful to preserve what we see and hear from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and He is faithful to preserve our writings for posterity – long after we are gone, our message will live on.
The late Ravi Zacharias once said that “God may bury his workmen but His work still continues”. It is my belief that writing forms part of the perpetuation of God’s work.
About Jimmy Nzioki
Jimmy M. Nzioki is a young Kenyan author of three books: Genius Is Made Not Born (2015), The Parapet (2018) and The Gift of Presence (2020). He has also written three short-stories- The Driver and The Tout and The Matatu, Kitchenia and Animalis Paradisum– published at www.yours2read.com (a London-based short-stories platform with a global audience).
He is also a Bible teacher and a speaker. He serves with the Navigators Kenya as part of the High School Ministry team at Lenana School and as a youth leader at his church- Deliverance Church Ole Kasasi- where he teaches the Teens class and facilitates Bible Cinema, a Sunday School Program he initiated for Kids to understand the Bible via videos.
Jimmy is currently a BSc. Electrical and Electronics Engineering student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT). When he is not writing he enjoys reading books from diverse topics, playing board games such as Monopoly with friends and occasionally playing football.