‘Why Do You Write So Much?’

Hmm, he seems to write a lot!

The very short answer to the question in my title would be this: I like writing. We could just leave it at that, but perhaps a bit more can be said. Still, some folks might be thinking: ‘Hmm, so Bill is writing a longish article about, well, writing longish articles! There he goes again!’

But there might be some good reasons for this. It is possible I might even have a biblical basis for doing it. Let me appeal to 2 Corinthians. I did not always appreciate this letter of Paul all that much, but as I more fully got my head around it, it is now one of my favourite New Testament books.

In it Paul spends a lot of time seeking to defend himself and answer his critics. His God-ordained ministry is so important that he feels the need to counter his critics and try to set the record straight. I of course am not anywhere in his league, but sometimes I too feel the need to try to explain things a bit. So here I go.

Again, the question is, Why do I write so many articles? Haven’t I written enough by now? In fact, this is my 5668th published piece so far on this site – and there seems to be no end in sight! They just keep on coming. In part, I write because it is what I am gifted in doing and it involves what God has called me to do.

As to so many articles (there are over 1200 pieces in my theology section alone), the truth is what I write about usually concerns some of the more important, fundamental and hardcore topics there are. Why do I write so many of these longish articles? In part because so much of what I discuss can be quite complex, detailed, nuanced and deep.

I can barely introduce some of these topics in a 2000-word piece, be it on politics or economics or philosophy or theology, etc. When various contentious matters have been debated for many centuries, and have filled entire libraries, I can often only scratch the surface on so many of these topics.

So if folks want to know my thoughts on different topics, and why I believe what I do, I keep cranking out these pieces on a daily basis. With these articles averaging maybe 1500 words each, that comes to some 8.5 million words so far, and much more can be said about such things.

Most of these issues and topics do indeed require a lot of writing – they just cannot be done justice in short, brief snippets. Simply consider the issue of theology. If one wants to discuss, or debate, some big theological topic such as the atonement, that requires a lot of time and effort to do properly. Indeed, my articles are the result of much careful and prayerful reflection and thought.

In fact, they grow out of a half century of reading, study and research on so many issues. To share this with others requires a lot of writing, based on all that reading and study. And most things I write about are not simple or minor topics. Most have been explored and debated in great detail by millions of people over many centuries.

Just take one major theological area: the matter of the atonement, salvation, and the like. There are so many views and understandings on these subjects. And kazillions of words have been penned on them. Simply keeping up on the literature on this is a full-time job.

To illustrate this, I just strolled over to the part of my library containing works on this topic. There would be several hundred volumes there at least. I just grabbed one very large and heavy volume on justification that is over 900 pages long. Another equally massive recent volume on the extent of the atonement is over 800 pages.

Such large tomes are most certainly NOT the last word on the subject! Remember, we were warned thousands of years ago about this: “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). I have plenty of books, and I often can be rather weary as I go through and digest them.

Of course all this is not to imply that we cannot briefly say things that are true, significant and meaningful. There certainly is a place for shorter, even bullet-point summaries of various topics – theological and otherwise. But as mentioned, I still consider most of my 1500-2000 word articles to just be introductions to what I wish to discuss and explain.

I know full well that what I have to say will not be the last word on such subjects, and I often point the reader to other places for more study. So I might point to other articles I have written. Or I will often have bibliographies or ‘For further reading’ sections included in my articles.

However there is a place for brief, distilled explanations of things. It is said that Karl Barth was once asked by a student to summarise his theology. He is reported to have said this in reply: “In the words of a song I learned at my mother’s knee: ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so’.” Recall that Barth had penned the 14-volume, 6 million-word Church Dogmatics.

Whether this event actually occurred is still open to debate, but you get the point. On the one hand, biblical truth can be short and sweet, something a child can understand. But on the other hand, the greatest minds in the world will never fully fathom it.

So God could have gifted us with divine Scripture which were very brief and to the point, but instead he thought that 66 books penned by 40 authors totalling over 800,000 words was needed to give the full story. If that is the case, then we should be aware that discussing and understanding such things will normally require much time and effort.

Writing, but not fighting

While I happen to write a lot – often on quite controversial topics – that does not necessarily mean I like to fight a lot. Some folks get their jollies out of knock down drag out fights – but not me. It might seem odd for me to say this, but even though I am so often dealing in controversy and in the big debates of the day, I really don’t like controversy!

My preference is to avoid all sorts of conflict and controversy, but because of the sort of ministry I am involved in and called to, that will not be the case sadly. But I can still try to minimise unnecessary debates and fights. There is a time and place to engage in battle, but there is also a time and place to refrain from doing so. Wisdom is needed here.

I sure am not going to get into big dragged-out discussions and arguments using the social media which is not very conducive to such debates. That is why, for example, when I used to be on Facebook before they kicked me off, in most of my posts there I would have links to my articles where things are explained and elaborated upon in much more detail. You cannot properly discuss and debate these matters in tiny little FB comment boxes.

And I am also not really too thrilled when folks come along to this site wanting to engage in some big theological fights. Often folks will want to get into the theological boxing ring with me to push their pet peeve in theology. Such battles are not always to my liking, especially when folks seem to be on a mission to let me know how wrong I usually am!

Some folks think they must always come here to ‘correct’ me and set things straight. I am not a fan of dealing with such people. If they have a theological bee in their bonnet and are so obsessed with it, my advice to them is this: ‘Fine. Set up your own website and you can run with that to your heart’s delight.’

They really do not need to keep coming to my site and starting WWIII all over again – especially when we have had these debates before. I prefer to refer them to some of my other articles where I have already explained my position much more thoroughly. And I certainly do not like it when they come along, hijacking my posts and derailing my discussions. As I say, set up your own website!

In sum, my gifting is teaching, and that involves reading a lot, studying a lot, and writing a lot. That is a big part of my calling. So if the Lord should tarry, and if I live long enough, there may well be thousands of articles more to come. Whether I write some more books as well remains to be seen.

Hopefully this helps you to understand a bit about where I am coming from. I do like writing and I do like explaining things and teaching various truths. However, fighting and warring over these things I am rather less thrilled about. But I guess if you want to engage in the former, you have to expect, and put up with, the latter. It seems to go with the territory.

[1561 words]

18 Replies to “‘Why Do You Write So Much?’”

  1. Keep up the writing Bill. Funnily enough, just today I was saying to my wife that I was blown away by the amount you are capable of writing, all good stuff too. Holy Spirit is certainly inspiring you.

  2. I find your contributions to be most theologically pragmatic though granted they may not be the everything for everyone everyday there is certainly something for anyone a nugget, a refinement, a challenge, a little victory. As the world evolves, though nothing new under the sun, other than the lenses, experience and perceptions of current “now” generation thus pragmatic theology is essential to the direction that individuals, families, neighbors, towns, counties, states and nation chose to take either to or away from God. Well done, sir, well done.

  3. Hi Bill
    I have been so blessed by the Gifts God has given you in expounding Gods word. The tenacity to keep going against those that try and derail your wonderful ministry and your ability to read, ponder the Holy Scriptures and stay the course that our precious Lord has called you to.
    I have said to my wife often, the greatest book ever written, the Bible. Totally inspired by the Unseen Hand Of God, and most of the world’s nearly 8 billion people don’t even bother to read it, if they even own one.
    It literally grieves me Bill that the greatest story ever told, the redemption of mankind through the birth, death and resurrection of our precious Saviour Jesus Christ, and most of the world couldn’t care less.
    How this must grieve the heart of God as he loves His lost sheep.
    Please, please keep up your ministry as I’m confident your message goes to the world and one day you will hear those indescribable words when you stand before Jesus and look into His eyes and hear Well done Bill, enter into the joy of your Lord.
    Bless you Bill.
    Terry Hill, New Gisborne

  4. Here Here Bill, while ever your mind and body allows you to write, I will read what you have written – in Jesus Christ name keep it up.
    God bless
    Mark Bryant

  5. Yes, I agree, you can sure write Bill as I have trouble keeping up with you but Bless you for all you do.

  6. As the others say, keep exercising your gift. It’s good for all of us.

  7. I must admit that, considering scriptures telling us to to be slow to speak and quick to listen and even considering 2 Cor. where Paul has somewhat of a conflict about his boasting and simultaneously has a problem with his thorn in the flesh, that I have had concerns with you writing so much. I know if I wrote a fraction of what you write I would inevitably make mistakes and get things wrong. I simply do not have the skills anyway. I am, however, extremely thankful for what you do write and for your very considerable gift. I would certainly miss your articles if they were not there.

    I am reminded of the centurion in Mat 8:5-10 where Jesus teaches us how an understanding of commands and authority are central to faith. Remember when Jesus spoke of the centurion’s great faith compared to all in Israel He was comparing him to the likes of John the Baptist etc. That is no small comparison. This then teaches us that faith in God means having an understanding that His Words have direct authority. On the complete other side we read of those who are excluded because they refuse the love of the Truth (2 Thes 2 etc.)

    Yes the pen is mightier than the sword but, in this world where we are subject to the flood from the Dragon’s mouth and most words simply end up flotsam and jetsam in the metaphysical, what we need more than ever is an understanding of the truly authoritarian words from God. This is what faith is all about.

    Deception has no place in Heaven because it is inherently divisive and dysfunctional and in Heaven everything is meant to work in synergy. This is almost certainly the reason why we are in the mess we are in – because deception is rife and people come to believe the often repeated lies. They have come to believe that deception is good.

    Truth, however, does have power and authority. We just need to learn how to wield that God given authority like a sword, just as the centurion understood. Jesus has all authority and we are meant to be the body of Christ I.e. the authority of the Truth is meant to work through us to bring all creation into synergy with God.

    Mankind was given dominion over the Earth for a reason and people need to learn that Truth is a good thing and only needs to be feared if you love deception and that deception is inherently divisive and dysfunctional. Truth builds up whereas lies drag down and this is true for all people. How we get people to understand this in a world of fantasy is the question every Truth loving person should be asking both themselves but more so God. At the moment all people’s skills are needed.

    Anyway, thanks again for what you write and keep up the good work. It certainly helps.

    May God bless.

  8. Many thanks Michael. Although one could point out that when James discussed how we “should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19) he did not seem to have in mind mere quantity, whether speaking too much or writing too much. Simply think of the work of a pastor who must speak all the time, be it in sermons and teachings, counselling and visitation, evangelising, etc. He likely would be speaking many dozens of hours a week at least. So some ministries and callings may well require a lot of talk, and/or by extension, a lot of writing. I mentioned here the 6 million words of Barth in just one of his major works. And pastors like Lloyd-Jones spent probably many tens of thousands of hours preaching and teaching, and that also entailed having most of that written down (think of his 14-volumes on Romans, or 8-volumes on Ephesians, etc).

    As to making mistakes, etc, yes, we all do. Which is why we have warnings as in James 3:1 about being teachers – we “will be judged more strictly”. So we certainly do need to take care, and to be prayerful in what we say – regardless of how we say things.

    And the thorn was to keep Paul humble, not necessarily to keep him from writing too much! He did write a large portion of the New Testament and likely wrote a whole lot more that is not found there. But there I go again, being wordy! Maybe I will write an article on all this as well! But thanks again for your thoughts!

  9. Hi Bill,
    I have been so blessed by your ministry as so many others have already testified. You are a very bright light in a very dark time and I for one glean so much from the articles you write. Thank you for all that you do.

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