scripturient: (adj) having a consuming passion to write
pronunciation: skrip- tUr- E- ent

Today I learned a new word I had never heard before with my old friend who is, like me, an English teacher. I have been immersed in Scriptures since childhood, and am equally passionate about writing since I first learned to read (and consequently, write), and know at least a dozen words derived from the Latin scriptura in both English and Portuguese, but was unfamiliar with the adjective that perhaps describes my past and present goal: scripturient. Thanks, Nina Woody Morway, for defining the passion that consumes me as well as significant others in my life!
Here in Brazil day before yesterday was National Readers’ Day, also a definition I had never heard about, though every day at our house has always been a day for reading and writing. Many friends posted comments about the books they had recently read; a few ventured to mention the books they futurely wish to write, and my mind was boggled with thoughts and ideas and plans and mental outlines and entering and deleting a glut of stories and concepts my fingers (or word-processor, when push comes to shove) are too slow to write. Got letters from a couple of thinking friends and discovered that it was my reading-thinking-corresponding aunt’s birthday, so I wrote to her and was immediately rewarded with her delightful communication. And began to consider how relational reading and writing really are.
Have a facebook friend who is a writer of romantic, slightly steamy (if someone can steam only slightly) novels. I don’t even remember how she got on my list, but along with my thirty-something author friends – mostly Christian thinkers and doers – who write serious popular non-fiction, this writer lightens me up with her humorous posts. Her relation to books is downright idolatrous, and her books are about relations – love and hate – between glamorous men and women, but you really can’t say her writing is relational in the sense that the Biblical God of Scriptures wrote, or people who believe Him write about the Word in flesh.
The wisest king in the world, author and compiler of the ancient wisdom of Israel, chose to call himself simply Koheleth, Teacher or Preacher. He “searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true”, describing the words of the wise as “goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails – given by one Shepherd” (Ecclesiastes 12:10). But in the same text he warned of the vanity of anything given in  addition to the words of the one Shepherd: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” and after all had been said, concluded that humankind’s whole duty was to “fear God and keep his commandments, for God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil”.
There is much argument as to when or even where another wise man lived and wrote (or was subject of deep drama laden with dialogue from beginning to end. But the oft-repeated declaration of faith he left for all generations of Old and New Testament believers,
I know that my Redeemer lives
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him with my own eyes-- I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
is sandwiched between a scripturient declaration writers like you and me wish for:
Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever! (Job 19:23-25)
Scripture speaks of writing as more than documenting a covenant, though the everlasting covenant is written in hearts and stone and from the beginning of human history “inscribed by the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18; 34:27). As God’s image-bearers, His people were to “write down for yourselves this song and teach it to the Israelites and have them sing it...” (Deuteronomy 31:19). Not just the songs and poems,
but also the ethics of “love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man (Proverbs 3:3).
The revelation to the prophets, whether by Habakkuk, who wrote disturbing questions in Judah right before the Babylonian invasion by Nebucadnezzar, or Daniel in exile, or John on Patmos, was to be written visibly – as a royal message and a readable road sign: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay (Habakkuk 2:2).
Jesus Christ himself commissioned John to write what he had seen, what is now, and what will take place later (Revelation 1:19) and finishes off with a promise:  "I am making everything new!" affirming: "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."  Rev. 21:5
Of course, we scripturient writers, whether passionately driven or leniently procrastinators, do not own the words of God nor write anything close to inspired Scripture. But the most prolific writer in the New Testament compares us to letters – a writing genre with which he was quite adept – as he wrote to the Corinthian believers:
You show that you are a letter from Christ,
the result of our ministry, written not with ink
but with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Paul gives Christian readers and writers words of trust and competence, of unsurpassed beauty and glory and competence – goals we seek in writing the truth (even through fiction), writing well, ministering in a new spiritual covenant: “Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant-- not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life...” that breaks into poetry:
If the ministry that was engraved in letters on stone,
came with glory, so that the Israelites
could not look steadily at the face of Moses
because of its glory, fading though it was,
will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?
If the ministry that condemns men is glorious,
how much more glorious
is the ministry that brings righteousness!
For what was glorious has no glory now
in comparison with the surpassing glory.
And if what was fading away came with glory,
how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face
to keep the Israelites from gazing at it
while the radiance was fading away...
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord,
the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory,
are being transformed into his likeness
with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3.3-18).
We really cannot say such a text is taken out of context when applied to a modern Christian writer’s scripturient desire! May 2014 find us writing with passion, truth and love, good metaphors and profound simplicity!

Elizabeth Gomes

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