Homework #1: What is Good Writing?
As a Christian, all areas of life should be held up to God’s Word. “Good writing” is Biblically ethical and follows the guidelines laid down in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” It is evident that writing is important to God because He gave us His Word in written form.
In literature, the classics would be considered “good writing.” One of the many reasons for this is that the content is applicable to many and it has stood the test of time. God has promised that His Word will stand throughout the ages and will not return void making it a worthy example to study and follow.
Luke, the writer of the gospel Luke and the book of Acts, could be viewed as a journalist and historian. As a careful writer, he took the time to get accurate facts from multiple eyewitnesses making sure to examine every aspect. We can see his dedication to “good writing” in Luke 1:3 “It seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;”
Good writing uplifts, informs, entertains, or impacts the reader. The reader should take away something whether it be new information, a different viewpoint, a challenge to change, a humorous outlook etc. The material is audience based, focused on their needs and desires rather than the author’s.
Stylistically, the writing should answers questions that might arise and flow smoothly throughout the piece. Not only should the writing stay on topic, but it should also be intentional in its inclusion of information. Fulfilling its purpose and promise to the readers is a vital characteristic.
A good writer is well informed on the topic and possesses a wealth of credible information to back up their opinion and work. This information is expressed concisely and effectively in their writing. A developed style should also be evident and enjoyable for the reader.
In reality, we should not be satisfied with “good writing,” but instead write with excellence. Second Timothy 2:15 tells us that we should, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” All in all, the most important requirement is that God is glorified, in this we become a testimony to those around us.