It’s exam week at my daughter’s high school. In fact, it’s not just exam week, but end-of-course testing. When the second semester starts in a little over a week, she’ll have an entire new course load. Last night, Claire asked if I could help her study for her Earth Science exam. Her teacher had prepared a study guide with over 100 questions. Mrs. Gentry had taken time to go over the course notes with the students so that the class would have the correct information with which to study. When we got started, Claire quickly and confidently answered fifty-three questions in a row before she stumbled over an answer. We would go on to other questions, and then go back to the ones that she didn’t get correct. I remarked how impressed I was with her success. She admitted that she knew some of the material well, but she just memorized some of the answers from the study guide because it had been so long since they’d studied some of the material. I told her that memorization was the beginning of true knowledge; after all, you have to start somewhere. And I promised that I would pray for her to have total recall when it came time to take her test. Doing well on it will ensure that she makes the A-B Honor Roll this semester. She’s worked really hard, and I like to see hard work rewarded.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
I love the Word of God, but I should know it better than I do. One of the ways I want to improve my relationship with God is to put His word to memory — not just to know it in general, but be able to recall verse content as well as the reference. As my Granny Mae used to say, “You need to know the Bible chapter and verse.” I often use a concordance or www.biblegateway.com to look up a verse of scripture when I can recall a specific phrase from the verse but not the reference, but my grandmother didn’t need either. It was not uncommon for me to enter her home and find her open Bible on the kitchen table because she studied the Word of God all the time. She knew the Word of God and used it to do good. She was “equipped to do every good work” for her Savior
When I was a child, we would memorize scriptures during Discipleship Training class for Bible competitions. I learned those verses for memory’s sake. I could memorize 100 scriptures and their references and be excited to know them. I still know a great many scriptures, but it’s sad for me to admit that in the last forty years, I should have surpassed my abilities as a nine-year-old and I haven’t. The Bible is so important to know because it is an instruction book. It is logos, or the written word of God. (There is also rhema, which is the Word of God spoken to us by the Holy Spirit.) Christ is Logos. Christ is the Word of God, Himself.
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:1-5 NLT
Jesus gave us a great example of the importance of committing scripture to memory and being able to recall it. After the baptism of our Lord, He went into the desert. There Jesus was tempted by Satan, who (by the way) was offering to bestow things upon Him that Satan didn’t even possess. Jesus successfully fended off this attack by Satan by recalling scripture and using it to refute him at every turn. This is how we, as Christians, can defeat the devil. But if you don’t know what the Word of God says, then you can’t bring it to memory. If we knew God’s Word better, we’d be less likely to believe the lies of the devil and we could do more good than we could imagine.
I’ve decided to go back to my Bible competition days and challenge myself to know God’s word “chapter and verse” and use it as a tool to fight the devil. It will start with memorization, but it will lead to my true knowledge. That true knowlege will bring me closer to God. What a wonderful reward that will be! Won’t you join me?