“Palimpsest” is not a common word, but it has an interesting background and meaning. Merriam Webster defines it as “writing material (as a parchment or tablet) used one or more times after earlier writing has been erased.”

In ancient times the ink that was used to write did not have any acid in it, so it did not “eat down” into surfaces like papyrus or vellum on which things were written. The ink just lay on the surface. Since writing materials were hard to come by, a scribe would often scrape the ink off of old documents, then sponge them off to remove every trace of the ink.

Many ancient manuscripts, including manuscripts of the Bible, have been found on these reused documents. Such documents have a special name: They are called “palimpsest” which means “rubbed off.” *

Observe some lessons that can be applied to our lives from this interesting word:

Like the precious writing materials of old, each of us is valuable because of our Creator. Each of us was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).

However, due to our wrong choices, each of us has become stained with the destructive pollution of sin (cf. James 1:27; 2 Peter 2:20).

But here is the GOOD NEWS: Because of His great love for us, God sent Jesus to die on the cross so that we might be cleansed of sin and be saved eternally (Eph 1:7)!

There is a word in Scripture that applies the idea of palimpsest to our own lives. The Greek word is translated “wipe away” and “blot out.” It describes what God will do to our sins when we submit our lives to Him.

For example, we find the words of the Apostle Peter in Acts 3:19 as he preached to others about Christ:

“Repent, then, and turn to God,
so that your sins may be WIPED OUT,
that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

When we repent of our sins (Acts 17:30-31), and turn to God in trusting faith (Acts 16:30-31), confessing the name of Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ (Acts 2:38), God forgives — He “WIPES OUT” – our debt of sin!

What a beautiful illustration of forgiveness!

God wants to take the written record of our sin, scrape off the writing, sponge it down and wipe it clean with the BLOOD of Jesus.

And He WILL —IF— we will trust and obey Him.

Won’t YOU?

David A. Sargent, Minister

Church of Christ at Creekwood
1901 Schillinger Rd. S.
Mobile, Alabama 36695

*Information regarding “palimpsest” gleaned from Chris Bullard of

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