Theresa Harvard Johnson

Scribal Culture 1Copyright 2017 Theresa Harvard Johnson

The first time I taught about scribal culture was at my second prophetic poetry and writing conference here in Atlanta in 2005. I had written the first draft of a book that would eventually become “The Scribal Anointing: Scribes Instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven,” and proceeded to teach those in attendance about the culture of the biblical scribe.

I can still remember the responses of the participants as they learned of themselves, discovering that they were more than an obscure group of writers. The understanding of the culture from a biblical perspective was teaching us that we were an honorable, loyal, highly valued people from scripture known as scribes.

You see, I have learned that it is not enough to have a revelation of what it means to be a “prophetic” scribe for the serious prophetic writer or scribal minister. It is equally necessary to have some insight, at least on a basic level, of the culture that gave birth to our scribal ministry, matured it, transitioned it and led us into the present day. Why? Well, because in our biblical history lies the heart and soul of our identity.

This is the gift that “culture” gives us. This is why ethnic groups, people of nations, families and other societal institutions embrace culture so strongly. They understand that who they are is rooted in uncovering the challenges and beauty of the past, enabling us to appreciate, embrace and move with wisdom in the present.

 To be a prophetic scribe is to understand the journey of a scribe, connecting the dots not only by revelation but by way of history. It allows us to see from the observation deck how purpose was walked out, destiny embraced and how our spiritual DNA took root in the engrafting. My book, The Scribal Anointing: Scribes Instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven does this by bringing all these pieces together in a simple, easy to understand way.

The phrase scribal culture, as I use it here, simply means to understand the customs, beliefs, language, materials, objects, rituals, institutions and even the art that shapes the life and lifestyle of the scribe. It enables us to have a profound backdrop that assists us with properly responding to our supernatural, prophetic nature – especially as it relates to immersing ourselves in our identity in Christ. Those who know me well, know that I absolutely love history of all kinds. I have a strong affinity to biblical culture, especially ancient Hebrew and Greek that explain the times in which our patriarchs and matriarchs lived. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of the biblical authors can assist us greatly with the interpretive journey of the scriptures, unraveling the mysteries of scribal culture and understanding our present day calling as Sons.

As prophetic scribes, we cannot run on rhema alone. Revelation must always line up with and/or build upon logos. We must be cognizant of the need for our hearts to reflect biblical types, shadows. Every serious, appointed and assigned scribe should desire to know their roots – at least at a very basic level. We should have some knowledge of the goodness of the calling and a revelation of who we are in the 21st century in relation to that. If this was not relevant, we would never seek to specialize in our careers, gifts and talents... or even concern ourselves with family histories. Unfortunately, the pursuit of historical understanding is not a point of interest in many apostolic-prophetic communities that I have encountered. People worship what is received as revelation in this generation - unable to discern the difference between the philosphical man and the mind of Christ. This is sad, as I see it, because history can be a testimony to the accuracy of revelation when it supports what is already written in scripture. We are more apt to identify error, false teachings, self-aggrandizement and the like when we have (1) the accuracy of scripture; (2) sound revelation that supports the accuracy of scripture; and (3) historical evidence that further builds foundations in the accuracy of scripture and revelation. Beloved scribes, we need all three.

The greatest hindrance to our calling and election in Christ will always be ignorance.

God supports historical study. In Daniel 1:17 NIV he said, “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”

In 1 Kings 4:29-34 NIV we see that God thought it important to give Solomon understanding about nature, animals, the affairs of men, etc. It reads: “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the people of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Kalkol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. He spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.”

There are even passages in the scripture that speak of recording history, reading from historical accounts and understanding the past in both the Old and New Covenants. You see, culture – even scribal culture – matters to God. I am so convinced that “MAN WILL NOT OR CANNOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE… but by EVERY WORD that precedes out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 ). Scribally, I have come to understand spiritual realities in a much broader light than simply revelation surrounding scriptural things but primarily WISDOM in, of and through life. Wisdom really is the principle thing.

The unveiling of scribal culture in a called scribe’s heart will give us access to that. Matthew 13:52 confirms this wisdom when it declares that we “must be scribes INSTRUCTED in the Kingdom of Heaven who is the master of his house… and brings out treasure things new and old.” When we pray according to this scribal pattern (which we teach extensively in our Scribe School), we unlock all of these TREASURES WITHIN US. Wow! How amazing is it when understanding meets prayer, and our expectation is rooted in historical as well as spiritual truths.

Understanding scribal culture can bring us into these realities….the reality of “The Scribal Anointing.” And then, and only then, will we truly comprehend the great wealth of our scribal culture today... and walk in wisdom in our unique communities. Serious scribes! You owe it to yourself to really learn who you are.... in Spirit and in Truth....


Get introduced to Scribal Culture while learning about the ministry of the present day scribe, "The Scribal Anointing: Scribes Instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven." This well-referenced, and cited resource is written by Theresa Harvard Johnson, 2017 Master's of Divinity in Biblical Studies candidate at Liberty Theological Seminary. This apostolic, prophetic resource is unparallel as it relates to understanding the ministry of the prophetic scribe. Join us online in our Scribal Prophets Mentoring Group.

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