BY DONALD S. WHITNEY
Occasionally I am asked, “Does a Christian have to keep a journal in order grow more like Jesus Christ?” Of course not. There is no command in Scripture, explicit or implied, requiring the followers of Jesus to keep a journal. And while I’ve written and spoken of the benefits of keeping a spiritual journal, I’ve never written or said that the Bible anywhere obligates Christians to keep a journal. In fact, I have never read or heard anyone making such a claim. Moreover, there is absolutely no evidence, biblical or otherwise, that Jesus kept anything like a spiritual journal. While we credit the Lord Jesus Christ (since He is a member of the Triune Godhead) with the ultimate inspiration of all the written Word of God, the only account of Jesus physically writing anything during the days of His humanity is when He stooped to write on the ground in John 8:6. That is not to imply that the omniscient Son of God was illiterate in His incarnation. For the New Testament refers to Jesus reading Scripture aloud (Luke 4:16), and it is hard to imagine Him receiving an education where one is taught to read but not to write.
So if the Bible does not require a Christian to keep a journal (indeed, a person can be both a devoted Christian and yet completely illiterate), and if Jesus did not keep a journal, why do I encourage followers of Jesus to consider journaling and why did I include entire chapters about this practice in some of my books? I recommend to Christians the discipline of keeping a spiritual journal because (1) something very much like journaling is modeled in Scripture, and because (2) believers throughout church history have found journal-keeping so beneficial to their growth in grace.
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