The rhythm formed by a writer’s unique way of stringing phrases and sentences together becomes their voice. This voice becomes the author’s trademark. Take Irish writer, Frank McCourt, (Angela’s Ashes, Teacher Man, ‘Tis) as an example. It wasn’t unusual for McCourt to write a whole paragraph of one continuous sentence. I imagine that his writing teacher, if he had one, might’ve said, “You’ll never publish Frank, never. Anyone who doesn’t have a relationship with the period can’t ever publish.” But, this flaw became McCourt’s voice. His words flowed onto the page with a lilt, a distinctive, pleasurable hum. They warmed readers’ hearts and made us wish that his had been a longer life filled with more joyful run-on sentences.
When I read scripture, I’m moved by the way its voice rings with holy zing. Its words strike me in the heart, or conscience, and urge me to change my ways. They comfort, encourage and inform. They remind me that the way I think is not the way He thinks.
Scripture sparkles with light. In its words, I recognize the Father’s voice. His words affect me like no human’s words.
I have favorite writers and McCourt is one of them, but his words don’t admonish me or cause me to change my ways. They warm my heart but they don’t stir it. I read his words for pleasure, a treat, but I read God’s word for spiritual nourishment, a necessity.
After His resurrection, Jesus caught up to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (about 7 miles from Jerusalem). They were discussing the crucifixion. Jesus joined their discussion, quietly at first. Then, He explained to them the meaning of His death and all the events leading up to and after it. After a shared meal, Jesus disappeared. It was then the two men realized who had been speaking with them. One said:
Were not our hearts greatly moved and burning within us while He was talking with us on the road and as He opened and explained to us [the sense of] the Scriptures? (Luke 24:32)
Burn. That word aptly describes the feeling that comes from reading holy writing. No other book contains words that move us to the depth of our souls, transforming, burning words that change us.
His words, in His voice, are still changing people. No other writer’s words can do that.