I read this quote recently about writing. “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” (W. Somerset Maugham) I don’t know about rules for writing a novel, but I am reading a textbook on writing and I can guarantee there are more than three rules for writing and the authors of this textbook know what the rules are.
Now I know I am not the best writer and I don’t profess to know all of the rules, but I certainly try to follow some of them.
1) A verb must agree with its subject.
2) Possessive Case – I must admit, this one gets me all the time. I try so hard to understand it and think I’ve done so, but then make a mistake. Apostrophe, apostrophe’s, and apostrophes’ always send me to review the rule.
3) Do not shift between active and passive voice in a sentence.
4) Punctuation enables communication with clarity and precision.
5) Sentence construction is the most fundamental tool a writer can utilize.
The list could go on and each of these rules is imperative when it comes to writing. Anything. A novel, a Bible study, or a daily devotion.
The same is true with my spiritual life. I know I don’t follow all of God’s commands. I may not even know all of them, but I do know a few and certainly try to follow what I do know.
1) Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
2) Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
3) Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’”
4) Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
5) 1 Corinthians 11:23b-26 “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took break, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
6) Ephesians 4:2-3 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
7) Ephesians 4:29-32 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
8) Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
9) Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
10) Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Again, this list could keep going, but I believe the 10 verses I’ve added lead us to the conclusion that God’s Word is filled with commands for us to follow. There is always something we can be working on to grow spiritually.
Perhaps my next step should be to figure out the three rules of writing a novel. Maybe my fourth novel will hold those elusive rules.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,