Adventist Credits Copying Bible Text With Spiritual Growth Nine-year project has changed life for Nam Yong Han
By Suk Hee Han, communication director, Northern Asia-Pacific Division
A72-year-old organic farmer from South Korea spends six hours a day tending a very different kind of crop: he copies out, by hand, the text of the Bible, as well as the texts of several Spirit of Prophecy books authored by Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White.
COPYING BY HAND: Korean farmer and Seventh-day Advent-ist Nam Yong Han has copied the entire text of the Holy Bible by hand a total of seven times in the past nine years, including one copy in Chinese.Nam Yong Han, a local elder at the Chilbo church in the Southwest Korean Conference, operates an organic farm, raising many kinds of fruits and vegetables. His agricultural techniques have been taught in many countries, including the Republic of Korea, China, North Korea, the Philippines, and Bangladesh.
Nine years ago, in January 2003, while serving as a missionary in Beijing, China, Han began copying out these texts, a process he calls “transcription.” As of October 2011 he has copied the text of the Bible seven times, as well as a series of the Conflict of the Ages books and Testimonies for the Church. Han said the hours he spends transcribing are the most joyful moments in his life.
He recently sat down for an interview:
What made you begin transcribing the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy?
It has been 50 years since I decided to walk by faith. As I tasted the pleasures and bitterness of life, it was my desire to fully depend on my Lord and be more like Him. In 2000 I had a chance to live in Beijing, China, and to do some gospel work there. The Lord gave me numerous joys and blessings, together with sufferings and hardships. I had been arrested and investigated by the Public Security Bureau in China for religious activities. I then thought of the need to be closer to God even in troubling times, so I began Bible transcription on January 7, 2003, in Beijing. Moreover, I used to give lectures to government officers and farmers in China; to do this, I had to internalize and memorize God’s Word as much as I could, so that I could remember it at any time and place.
HOLINESS IN HANDWRITING: Han says his copying work, which he calls transcribing, has brought him closer to God and softened his attitudes.What have you transcribed and how many times?
Up to now, I have transcribed the Bible seven times, including once in Chinese. I also finished transcribing a series of the Conflict of the Ages books, and a series of Testimonies for the Church. I made folding screens with the transcribed papers. This is still an ongoing thing and has become an important part of my life, so I cannot help doing it every day. As I transcribe the Bible, I realize that one time of writing is far better than 10 times of reading if one wants to remember and understand the Word. The more I transcribe it, the more I appreciate God for His deep love and wonderful plan for me.
Tell me more about Bible transcription.
Since I started transcription, I have done it steadily for six hours a day. While I transcribe, I feel as if I am talking with the Lord face to face and becoming familiar with Him; I have experienced how sweet His Word is. But I encountered suffering at the same time. Because I am a wounded veteran, I cannot sit for a long time on account of my painful leg and back. Continuous transcription also gave me blurred vision, as well as severe pain in my wrist, arm, and shoulder. However, His Word is as sweet as a honeycomb, and it helps me overcome these physical weaknesses.
What are the results, benefits, and blessings of transcription?
CONFLICT SERIES: Along with the Bible, Han has copied the Conflict of the Ages Series by Ellen G. White,
a pioneering cofounder of the Seventh-day Adventist movement.I was an impetuous and aggressive person by nature. But I was able to realize how much of a hopeless sinner I am through transcription. While I was transcribing the Bible I definitely felt my heart soften and my aggressive tendencies disappear. Besides, the pain in my eyes, back, and legs also went away so I can actually transcribe for more than 10 hours. I give God the praise for removing from me these infirmities and for blessing me with His Word. Among countless benefits and blessings, the most amazing one is that I can partake of God’s Word and have spiritual communion with Him by walking and talking with Him. So I believe that I am becoming more and more like Jesus.
What is your heart’s desire?
I want to be a person who is ready for the coming kingdom through transcription as long as the Lord allows me to do it. I also want to faithfully practice my responsibility as a Christian. Another desire is to transcribe the Bible 10 times, so that spiritual revival and reformation can be accomplished in my life. I hope Adventists in the world can experience the same spiritual benefit and blessing through [their own] transcription.