The Author’s Voice.

His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. John 10:4 (NIV)

A few weeks ago, I received the galley of my first manuscript, Call to Love. For a traditionally published author, this is an exciting time. After several rounds of edits, this is the last opportunity for the author to review each and every word, punctuation – or lack thereof – and note gross errors.

My brain suited up in ‘search and destroy’ mode and I started reading.

Word by word.

Line by line.

And all looked good. 

Until I tripped over a phrase that, well, wasn’t my voice.

My voice.

I don’t use the word ‘lovelier’. 

The hot dog man spoke with greater aggression than that. 

And my stalwart cop hero says ‘vehicle’, not car.

Along about the half-way mark, brain now on high alert, I came to understand the power and significance of knowing the voice of Jesus.

The Author.

The sheep of His pasture follow Him out past the gate because they listen to His voice (vs 3). 

I should be an avid student of God’s word so that I know that I know His voice and can distinguish it from all others.

A worthy lesson from smart sheep here…

They will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will fun away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. John 10:5 (NIV)

Eve didn’t know God’s voice well enough to recognize Satan’s crafty little truth twist. 

Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

No, Satan. The Author’s precise words were, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17, NIV)

Eve’s unfamiliarity forever changed the course of human history, necessitating God’s deliverance of His people from the wages of sin. Which is death. (Romans 6:23)

Unfamiliarity with the Word and voice of the Author puts my vulnerable-to-attack mind at risk. Lies seep in like water crawling up a sponge. And before I know it, I’ve convinced myself it’s okay to do or say something that, according to the Author, is not okay.

Sheep aren’t right bright. Those wooly creatures need guidance. They fall prey to other voices such as wolves who dress as sheep and baaaaa like sheep but aren’t sheep.

God’s word doesn’t change. Any editing to His holy text happens in my own brain when I’ve altered it to suit me.

As a reader, I know the distinct voice of my favorite authors. It’s the reason I return to them over and over.

And I know my unique voice. It’s marked by hilarity, passion, and truth. I’m obligated to be true to that voice so it won’t create confusion for my readers.

And I know when another has messed with my work.

How well do you know the Author’s voice? Are you listening? Would you be able to tell if someone messed with His work?

Because there are plenty of wolves are out there who wonder the same.


  1. Carol James says:

    What a wonderful illustration of recognizing the Master’s voice. (Especially to those of us who are writers.) Thanks for sharing, Mary.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Sweet words, Carol. The Master’s voice is unique and intended to guide me safely to green pastures. And I know you can appreciate the difficulty of seeing changes to your work!

  2. Eric Elder says:

    Very true, Mary. We all have a unique voice. And Jesus as well. Beautifully written. ’

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Thank you, Eric. I have a greater appreciation for what it does to Jesus when I alter His to suit me 🙁

  3. Emily Conrad says:

    I’ve had that experience, too, of reading something I wrote and knowing it had been changed. Thanks for drawing my attention to the way our relationship with God should work like that, too–where we know His voice so well, we can instantly recognize the word of an impostor!

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Great word – imposter. True! Thanks for sharing. You do know the difficulty of having your work altered. No fun.

  4. Lovely post, Mary!
    Good luck and God’s blessings

  5. Margaret says:

    Great application, Mary.
    I remember when my dissertation chair insisted on certain changes to words I had used, telling me that linguists are scientists and they don’t “share” information- they “report”. The only One I don’t mind editing my words is the Holy Spirit, Who sits beside the Father and interprets my words to the Father when I pray.

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Love that story! I can’t imagine how the Author must grieve to see His inerrant word twisted to suit our sin nature. Thanks for sharing!

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