This week I started teaching the course “Writing Articles” for students at the Faculty of Journalism, year 1, within the international mission school “Precept Ministries Eurasia.” It is interesting that God has used the written press to convey His Word to us. The Bible is a collection of 66 books, written by people of different social status, from shepherds to kings, who were guided by the Holy Spirit. For Christian bloggers, the Bible is an infinite source of inspiration not only in terms of content, but also in terms of journalistic principles. As Christian journalists, we have many practical lessons to learn from the Bible’s authors. To some extent, each of them did the work of a journalist when, with a pen in his hand, he wrote down the words of God on paper.
Luke was a physician and served for many years with the apostle Paul in missionary work. But, in addition to medicine, he also practiced journalism. God used his vocation and so Luke wrote both the gospel that bears his name and the book of Acts — two very precious works that have had an invaluable impact on many generations. In this article I want to teach 6 secrets for writing a successful article, based on the text of the Gospel of Luke 1:1-4.
Since many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting to me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in an orderly sequence, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)(NASB)
1. He was inspired by his close context
Luke had a unique opportunity to live during the life of the Lord Jesus. The Savior’s teachings and activity marked him so deeply that they inspired him to document them. Many times we, Christian journalists, look for topics for our materials somewhere outside and do not notice (or value) the events and people around us. Luke wrote of “things that have happened among us.” There are so many valuable people around us, examples of life and service that could motivate many. Just yesterday, during class, I was telling my students about Liza Bîrlădeanu, a young Christian from the village of Lăpușna who, after finishing her studies, returned to her native village and got a job at a public school as an English teacher. She takes every opportunity to teach students God’s Word in the workplace, using English. She recently returned from India, where for 2 weeks she trained dozens of Christians on how to use English as a tool for making disciples.
2. He wrote from primary sources and documented himself in detail
Luke was not an eyewitness to the deeds of Jesus, but he interviewed those on the front line. We do not know whether he spoke to any of the 11 apostles of the Lord Jesus or to the 120 disciples. Obviously, however, he documented from primary sources to ensure truthful information. “As they who were seen by us from the beginning, and have become ministers of the word, have committed to us.” I have often come across false information in the virtual environment, published by some Christian bloggers and spread by other Christians. News, such as that a country has begun forced microchipping of people. Or, so-called “urgent” prayer needs for Christians in Pakistan who are to be beheaded for their faith in Christ, needs circulating on the Internet in the 5th year. A Christian journalist will document himself well before making the information public, following the example of Luke who did “detailed research.” Otherwise, they risk discrediting themselves in front of the public and losing their credibility.
3. He took the initiative
Although there were many people who began to write in detail about those events, Luke saw the need to write his own work. He manifested himself as a man of initiative. I am sure that he was caught up in many needs and responsibilities and was aware of the effort he was going to put into compiling the gospel. However, he knew how to redeem time and give priority to spiritual things. He saw the need and put his talent in the service of the Lord. But when was the last time you took the initiative to write a material that would bring spiritual edification to people and glory to God?
4. He wrote for one man
I think you have noticed that the recipient of the gospel according to Luke is the specially chosen Theophilus. We do not know who Theophilus was, but it seems that this man meant a lot to Luke. Moreover, the book of Acts was also written for him. Such a titanic effort for the sake of one man! Impressive! When you love, you are ready to sacrifice yourself for one man. You are ready to produce content with a single reader in mind. So often we are tempted to write messages for a wide audience, and not for one person if the need arises.
5. He established his literary genre
After doing detailed research, Luke also chose the format in which he would write the Gospel. He set out to record chronologically all the facts and events in the life of the Lord Jesus. There are many literary genres through which we can communicate the message to our readers: lyrical, epic, dramatic. For example, the books of Psalms and Song of Songs are part of the literary genre.
6. He defined his purpose
The purpose for which Luke wrote his Gospel for Theophilus was for the latter to know the soundness of the teachings which he received orally. He not only wanted to inform Theophilus of what had happened, but to train him as a disciple through the teachings of the Lord Jesus. But how often do we set ourselves a goal before writing and how much are we concerned about the spiritual growth of the people around us?
May God help us to add value to the public space through the content we produce, taking into account the above principles.
Translated by Didina Vicliuc