The writers group.

I love the story of the Inklings, a loosely defined group of writers who met often to  read drafts of current projects to each other. The most famous members of the group were Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but there were others. Sometimes they would offer suggestions to each other, and sometimes they would listen to those suggestions. Each had a distinctive voice. Tolkien and Lewis shared a common faith, wrote out of that faith, but had very different styles.

IMG_20130509_163606I thought of them when I realized the other night that there was another group of famous writers who spent some time together in Rome. Paul, Mark, and Luke were all in Rome at the same time. Between them, these writers are credited with sixteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. It’s possible that Peter was there at the same time, adding in two more books.

Since I realized this, my mind has been running through the conversations. I’ve pictured them sitting on benches in front of the place Paul lived under house arrest. They take turns reading sections.

Luke reads the section in Acts where Paul and Mark’s cousin Barnabas get into an argument about Mark’s abandoning them. After Luke finishes, Mark turns to Paul and says “You know, Barnabas never talked about that argument. He said that the two of you disagreed about something. He never could say anything mean. He was always encouraging.”

Paul reads parts of the letters he’s writing to Colossae and Ephesus. Peter nods. Later he’ll say “just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.”

Mark reads the section about a young man running away when Jesus is arrested. He says, “Is it okay to talk about losing my clothes?” The soldier Paul is chained to just smiles.

The pictures of these four talking in my imagination make me smile.

2 thoughts on “The writers group.

  1. Rich Dixon

    I wonder if they discussed theology. “Where did you get THAT idea, Paul?”

    “I don’t know. It just came to me, but I’m pretty sure I’m right.”

    I wonder if they had any idea of the impact of their words. And if that knowledge would have changed any of what they wrote.


    1. Jon Swanson

      that’s a great question, Rich. I think they did (have a sense of impact). When Paul says in Colossians “Send this to Laodecia and read their letter, too,” we have the sense that he knew that this was important, that he was teaching what he knew to be true. John does a similar thing near the end of one of his books: “I could have told lots of other stories about Jesus. I picked these because they tell you what you need to know about who he really is.”

      Whether they had a sense of millennia, I don’t know. But they certainly were driven by a sense of faithfulness to God.


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