Does the Bible Condemn Bad Handwriting?

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There is this little Hebrew word that is only used three times in the Old Testament. The word is באר (ba-ar). It means to make something really, really plain. The first place this word is used in the Bible is in Deuteronomy 1:5 where Moses “explains” the Law. Literally, he makes the Law plain and clear to the people. Preachers should take note here that it is important we make God’s Word clear and understandable to those who listen but this doesn’t just apply to the spoken word. In Deuteronomy 27:8 Moses told the people to write the Law on some stones that they were to set up at Ebal. He told them to write “very clearly”. The thought here is not that they change the words of the Law to be more understandable but that they write them neatly so they are legible. Last, we have Habakkuk 2:2 where God told the prophet Habakkuk, ““Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” In other words, write it so largely and legibly that people can read it on the fly. As the herald runs around with the message there will be no mistaking what it says. Why is that important? It is important because God has a message for His people that He wants them to pay attention to.

Of course today, few of us hand write much of anything. We have nice fonts that are easy to read set against clean and clear backgrounds of the color of our choice…and you can make them as large or as small as you like with the click of a button. Legibility is not the issue today and no, the Bible is not really condemning poor handwriting at large. But what God does want from us is to be able to communicate His message to the world and to Christians in a way that is clear and easy to understand. In a single word the Gospel needs to be made accessible to whoever is willing to look or listen. It is important that we learn to communicate things well and really think about our words whether through the written word (writing books, blogging, facebook, twitter, email, texting) or through the spoken word (preaching, teaching, personal conversations).

The difficulty of  באר (ba-ar) is that making something clear and simple usually takes more time and is more difficult than making something complex. You have to work at it.

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