Thursday, October 2, 2008

Memorization

The Sunday before the last one (September 21), the new church pastor assigned me to recite 200 Bible verses right before the congregation. It all started when he asked the congregation if anyone of us memorize 200 Bible verses (because according to him, he can memorize at least 500 Bible verses, especially during his youth ministry days). I raised my hand. He then challenged me to do it right in front of the congregation. Honestly, I don’t have the exact count of Bible verses that I can quote right from my head. It was just a rough estimate. After all, there are 66 books in the King James Bible. If you can memorize at least two verses per Bible book, then it’s already 132 Bible verses. In addition, one of the activities during Prayer Meeting and Sunday Evening service is Scripture recitation (at least one Bible verses. I admit though that I tend to repeat particular Bible verses because I didn’t make time to memorize Bible verses that I still didn’t memorize).

I admit, it is easier to memorize, BUT my problem is which book did a quote Bible verses came from. Thus, I had a written guide. After all, this is God’s Word. I must not take God’s Word lightly. I must state the exact location of a specific Bible verse. In addition, it will be my first time to recite Bible verses in front of the congregation.

Then, last Sunday (September 28) came, and it was during evening service. The pastor called me up to recite the Bible verses. Because of time constraint, he told me to memorize 50 Bible verses. I recited around 61 verses, all in the book of Psalms only! Of course, I have with me a written guide – a list of Bible chapters with their verses. After I recited it (I tell you: your heart will also pound big time if you’re in my shoes), a youngster also recited around 60 Bible verses (even more I guess). Another youngster said that maybe that youngster was challenged. After all, she recited them without any written guides. I really don’t know that youngster’s motive in doing a memorization. I have my suspicions, but I have discouraged myself from being suspicious. God will reward that youngster. Praise God for giving me a chance to memorize Bible verses.
Memorizing Bible verses is the 2nd to the lowest when it comes in levels of thinking skills (the lowest being Knowledge, and next to comprehension/memorization is application). If that is the case, I can bluntly say that memorizing the Bible is a good thing, but one should not be boastful that he can memorize Bible verses. In an academic viewpoint (not in a Christian), Bible memorization is the 2nd to the lowest when it comes to thinking skills (if you’ll apply one psychologist’s theory). Thus, a Christian should not boast that he can memorize Bible verses. After all, how can a Christian apply something that he doesn’t know? As a Christian, you can only consciously apply a Biblical principle if you know where in the Bible did that principle came from. If you’re applying a Biblical principle without knowing the Bible verse, you’re just being TOO dependent (note: it’s not wrong to follow your Pastor and your Youth Leader. My point is WRITE DOWN what Bible verse your Pastor and Youth Leader is using so that you yourself can defend your Christian faith) on your Pastor and Youth Leader. Being a Youth Leader, it is not a good sign if youngsters rely too much on me and not read on their own. After all, I’m not a Youth Leader forever and New Church Pastor will not have the physical strength to preach and utter Bible verses forever.
Why am I saying this (you know me: I write long post, that’s why I can’t be a writer on broadsheets. He he he he he)? Normally, when someone said that he memorize many Bible verses or even memorize the Philippine Constitution (for law students), people will accuse that person of being boastful. Yes, the tendency to boast will always be there (I myself tend to feel that way also), but isn’t it better to just let God reward that person (who memorized many Bible verses) according to that person’s heart? By doing just that, you’ll unload yourself of some unnecessary baggage which has items called “suspiciousness”, “pessimism”, and “judgmental attitude”. Besides, a fellow Christian should instead give glory to God that a fellow believer can memorize many Bible verses. In addition, that person should be encouraged to keep on memorizing Bible verses.
By the way, after the Bible memorization, I felt New Church Pastor was encouraged a bit. Not only that, his mood changed positively. In addition, he encouraged and challenged all the congregants to memorize Bible verses. I say “Amen” to that! Indeed, God was glorified, and it should be that way. I was happy that Sunday night because my intention why I accepted the challenge is to be a blessing and at the same a positive role model for youngsters to do the same.
To all Christians who can memorize many Bible verses: keep it up. Only one reminder: now you can memorize those verses, you must meditate and apply them in our everyday life. Again, keep it up!

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