Does Your Writing Rightly Handle the Word of God?
My Memaw is the epitome of an English teacher. She taught for 35 years in a small public school in Crane, Texas. Unofficially, she also taught each of her seven grandchildren and still takes opportunities to teach her 11 (and counting) great-grandchildren, too.
I have vivid memories of riding in the backseat of my grandparents’ blue Mercury Grand Marquis with my sister, enjoying our “assignments.” Memaw would hand us a well-read page of the newspaper and encourage us (or force us … you choose) to circle the verbs, identify metaphors, find typos and define words. She would remind us that each written article could be better with just a little editing.
The same is true of our writing. Oftentimes a little editing goes a long way. However, proofreading doesn’t just make us better writers; it makes it easier for our readers to hear from the Lord through our writing.
Here are a few categories to look for and questions to ask as you edit your writing.
Not to state the obvious, but grammar is important. If your writing is marked by errors, it will often detour readers and affect your credibility. However, you don’t have to be a grammar expert on your own. Tools like Grammarly and critique groups full of other writers are great resources to tap into.
When proofing for grammar ask:
- Have I checked my spelling?
- How’s my sentence structure?
- Is my punctuation (including commas) correct?
Content is the meat of your article. What is it you are trying to communicate? Often as writers we know what we are trying to say but fail to fully and accurately capture our thoughts in the words we write. Proofing content isn’t easy (anyone else get attached to certain paragraphs?), but it is necessary if we are going to write what God calls us to write.
When evaluating content, ask:
- Does my writing flow? Is it readable?
- Are any sections confusing, choppy or unclear?
- Can I cut unnecessary sentences? Does anything need to be added for clarity?
Lastly, and most importantly, when writing is a calling from the Lord, we must diligently proof for theological accuracy and spiritual application. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul encourages believers to correctly handle the Word of Truth. We have a responsibility to rightly discern the Word and communicate it well.
When editing your theology, ask:
- Does everything in this article align with the Truth of Scripture?
- Have I taken anything out of context?
- Can my readers relate to and apply what they’ve read?
Whether you are new to writing or you’ve been writing your whole life, my Memaw would tell you there’s always room for a little editing. Not only that but when we have a heart for our readers, we will want to write accurately, thoroughly and well.
What does your editing process look like? We’d love to hear!
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