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Memorizing Scripture in a High Tech Society

I spotted the old black box deep in the office closet.  It was heavier than I remembered as I pried it from the crowded shelf.  Setting it down on the desk where my dad used to study, I paused and swept a thin layer of dust from the top.  It was like a scene from a movie… one where a forgotten chest is discovered in a cobweb-filled attic.  Cinematically, it’s never opened right away.  Instead, there’s always a moment of emotional reflection before the lid is slowly raised.

There were no valuable trinkets or fancy heirlooms inside this box, but a family treasure of a different kind.  Stacks of worn and faded memory cards, each one bearing its own hand-written verse of Scripture.  There were hundreds of them; a project started by my dad nearly a half-century ago.  They were written in ALL CAPS with a black felt-tip pen — a verse on one side, reference on the other.

Many of these cards were made for our family devotions, based on a concept my dad called mini-verses.  He selected key verses and condensed them down to the core truths they revealed.  This provided us with powerful bits of Scripture that were easy for our young minds to remember.  Although originally designed for his kids, he continued to build this collection of verses long after we had grown up.  In fact, he went on to use them in his college classes and for his own personal memorization.

My mom and I spent a week or so poring over those cards, picking out selections for a new feature on the GCM website.  As our collection of verses grew, we checked references and compared translations on Biblegateway.com.  (Can I just say, I love that site?! )  But suddenly my mom paused, saying, “Hold on a minute, I need to look at a “real” Bible for this one!”  She laughed at her own statement, even as she scurried to fetch her favorite translation with actual pages.  Apparently a bound stack of paper often feels more familiar to her than a wifi-enabled sheet of glass.  Go figure!  I couldn’t be more opposite.

As she whipped through various chapters and verses, I considered the common misconception that doing things the “old-fashioned way” is inferior.  In the spiritual realm we often see similar tendencies.  For example, it’s easy to fall into the mindset that we don’t need to memorize Scripture anymore… as if that was just an old Sunday school activity we did years ago.  After all, these days the entire Bible is right at our fingertips on our iPhones or Galaxies, right?  (My kids even get points at youth group for bringing their “Bible” to church when they have a Bible app on their phone!)

But memorizing Scripture is still a crucial part of Christian living.  It keeps God’s Word close to our hearts.  The Lord speaks to us through Scripture to guide us, and help us make wise decisions.  Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”

Memorized verses can also comfort and strengthen us at any moment (“Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” Psalm 119:50).  And knowing the Scriptures is an invaluable tool in witnessing to others.  (“If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” 1 Peter 3:15)

A deeper understanding of the Bible transforms our spiritual lives.  But we can never really understand Scripture if we don’t study, memorize, and meditate on it.  With that in mind, we hope you’ll find our new “Mini-Verse” feature on the website an easy and helpful way to learn Scripture in our high tech society.  With over 100 verses in 20 different categories, you can transform your computer, phone or tablet into a tool that will quickly build up your foundation of familiar Scriptures.

Let’s not only read the Bible, let’s know the Bible!

– Ron Reid

Please visit the new Mini-Verse section here: www.growingchristians.org/mini-verses