OceanSide church of Christ

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Writing Materials (2)

Lesson #4

Victor M. Eskew




A.     In our previous lesson, we learned that God commanded many of the inspired men to write His message down.


B.      In order for them to do this, they had to use the writing materials and writing instruments of that day.


C.     In our previous lesson, we looked at the writing materials.  In this lesson, we will examine the writing tools that were used.


I.                    WRITING MATERIALS




A.     Chisel

1.       Used to inscribe words into stone

2.       Also called an iron stylus or iron pen

3.       Job 19:24


That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!


Image result for ancient chisels for writing

B.      Stylus

1.       A three-sided instrument with a beveled head used to carve into clay, wax tablets, or sheets of metal.

2.       Jeremiah 17:1


The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond:  it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of the altar.


Image result for writing in wax



C.     Pen

1.       Use to write on papyrus, vellum, and parchment

2.       Preparation:

a.       Made from hollow-jointed stalks of course grass that grew in marshy places

b.      Dried

c.       It was carefully carved thin to make it flexible.

d.      The end was cut diagonally.

e.       The tip was carved to a sharp point.


Image result for ancient pens


f.        The end contained a nib split.


Image result for ancient pens


g.      The sharp point was often clipped off and it became a stub pen.


Image result for ancient pens


3.       III John 13


I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee.


4.        Ink

a.       Ink is mentioned in both the Old Testament and New Testament.

1)      Jeremiah 36:18


Then Baruch answered them, He pronounced all these words unto me with his mouth, and I wrote them with ink in a book.


2)      II John 12; III John 13


…paper and ink…ink and pen…


b.      Types of ink

1)      Hebrew ink:  The Hebrews used ink made from four ingredients:  gall-nuts, a gum base from the acacia tree, water, and magnesium and copper sulfates; sometimes honey was added to thicken the ink mixture.

2)      Greek ink:  Ink used by the Greek scribes was a carbon based ink, black in color, made from soot, gum, and water…Later, the ink was composed of nut-gall (oak-galls), water, iron sulfur, and gum arabic.

5.       Accessories

a.       Penknife

1)      The penknife was used to keep the pen sharp for better print.

2)      Jeremiah 36:23


And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut with a penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.


Image result for ancient penknife

b.      Ink wells


Image result for ancient ink     Related image




A.     Clay and stone could be broken (Exo. 32:19; Deut. 9:17)


And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and broke them before your eyes.


B.      Parts of pages could be missing

C.     Full pages could be missing.


D.     Books could be lost (See II Kings 22:8-9)


E.      Ink could smear.


F.      Ink could fade.


G.     The elements (sun, heat, humidity, water) could affect the materials.


H.    Someone could intentionally destroy the materials (See Jer. 36:23).




A.     It was God’s desire for His Word to be written upon materials that were perishable.


B.      It is at this point that we begin to run into many questions and problems that individuals have in regard to the Bible.


C.     Two matters that we will look at in upcoming lessons.

1.       The works completed by an inspired writers are called autographs, the original copies.

a.       There was only one autograph for each book of the Bible.

b.      The autographs were copied and were passed from person to person and place to place.

2.       When all of the inspired books were complete and were brought into one volume, this was called the “canon” of the Scriptures.

a.       There is the cannon of the Old Testament, there is the cannon of the New Testament.

b.      These are the inspired, authoritative, true words of the Almighty God to man.