Before I became a Christian, but during the time when I was seeking, I reached out to a dear friend of mine with whom I hadn’t spoken in years. I genuinely missed the frequent conversations we once had.
We were able to have a long phone call eventually. There was so much to catch up on.
I told him that I’d started reading the New Testament and that I was finding it very compelling. He asked me what I was currently reading and I told him that I had just started the Gospel of John.
Spontaneously — truly spontaneously … he couldn’t possibly have known that this was the direction our first conversation in years would take … he burst into an inspired word-for-word 100% accurate declamation of John 1:1-18.
He stopped there, although I suspected he could have kept going, and we both paused in silent awe of the Word of God.
Then he said, “Pretty amazing stuff. Enjoy!”
That conversation burned two completely different thoughts into my mind forever.
The first is that his heartfelt rendition of the text brought the Bible to life for me in a way that forever changed the way I read and study the Word of God.
The second was my total amazement at the accuracy and extent to which he needed to have committed the Bible to memory in order to have been able to do that.
I’ve never been a fan of memorization (of anything). But that spontaneous phone conversation really changed my thinking about the importance of committing Bible verses to memory.
God commands us (1 Peter 3:15) to “always [be] prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
My friend modeled a way of doing that for me in that memorable phone conversation. It inspired my hope that it be God’s plan that some day I be able to do the same thing for somebody else.
And in order to be prepared to do that, I need to not just “memorize Bible verses” but hold them fully and accurately in my heart as the living, breathing Word of God, ready to be called to life at any moment that the occasion may present itself.