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Old Tom Was Memorizing Scripture

I couldn’t believe it. The old man (he looked ancient to me) stood up and quoted a complete chapter of Psalms. Not only that but at each Thursday night Bible Study group, he stood up and quoted another chapter. “Old Tom” announced that his goal was to memorize the whole book of Psalms. He gave his testimony that he accepted Christ as Savior at age 70. Tom loved the Lord and wanted to please Him.  So, one of the ways he would please the Lord was by memorizing the book of Psalms. I was in high school then, so I never saw “Old Tom” again after I left home. I don’t know if he accomplished his goal before he died.

While working on campus in college, I met a student who had a goal to memorize the Bible. His method was to read through the entire Bible every two months. That seemed impossible – especially for a full-time student working a job. He told me that he spent two hours every morning reading the Bible and had been doing that for a couple of years. When we entered into a Bible discussion on any subject, he would not only give his presentation of the subject but also quote Scripture with a reference to back it up. I lost contact with him after college, so I don’t know if he accomplished his goal.   But he was on his way to that goal when I last saw him.

Recently I have been reading a booklet on missions telling how Christians are suffering in many restricted nations. Many of them do not have access to a Bible. Some have portions of the Bible. Some only have digital versions. In some countries, if the authorities or other persecutors find a Bible in their possession, they are arrested, fined, thrown in jail, tortured, and sometimes killed.

Bibles are illegal in Brunei, Iran, Malaysia, N. Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Turkmenistan. In many other nations, it is perilous if authorities find you with a Bible. Sometimes Bibles are available in larger cities, but the price is so high the average person cannot afford them. In some countries, the only way a person can access the Bible is through the internet or digital versions. Because of illiteracy, millions could not read the Bible if they did have one. And then some cultures still do not have a Bible in their language.

There were many difficulties translating the Bible into the languages of the common people all through the Dark Ages (various times designated by different sources, but generally between 500 to 1700 AD). During that time, the state church (Catholic) didn’t want ordinary people to have the Bible in the common language. Many scholars lost their lives because of translating or distributing the Bible.

As I thought about this, I couldn’t help but think how little we appreciate the Word of God. I own six or more copies of the Bible, and my wife about that many. How precious it should be to us. I need to value it, read, study, memorize, meditate, and let it guide and direct my life.

What would happen if the authorities confiscated all our Bibles? How much of it have you memorized? In this anti-God, anti-Christian society today, it is possible for that to happen here. Are you prepared?


Deuteronomy 6:6-7a commands, And these words, which command thee this day shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, –

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Psalm 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

If you lose access to all your Bibles, how much Scripture do you have hidden in your heart? Are you enjoying the blessings of Colossians 3:16, as quoted above?

If you love the Lord, how about dedicating time daily to Scripture memory?

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Dale,

    A very pertinent message especially given our current climate in this world. And as it’s been said, “famine in the end times” will be in finding the Word of the LORD. Famine will be plentiful for the Word, and yes as Christians we should download continuously His inspired Word into our very souls.

    Great article Dale, fabulous advice and sage wisdom shining through in your words.

    Thank you!

    God Bless~

  2. This message touches my heart and makes me think of being greatly blessed to have His written word. I had to stop and to ask myself, am I guilty of being complacent in these matters? Even more so to have it in my heart and mind and being serious about memorizing His word so that I hide it in my heart that I might not sin against Him.
    Shamefaced we should be to have this privilege but we take His words for granted and don’t cherish it enough to read and meditate on it. All the more when it sets on a shelf or table but not opened at all unless He gets our attention and we think to crack it open.
    Yet as you stated many don’t have any Bibles or perhaps only a few pages of one in their own language and others can’t even read if they every received this gift.
    ‘To those who have been given much, to them much is required’ comes to my thoughts at this moment.
    This problem that was pointed out about illiteracy is still a way of life for many as I remember it being problematic in Biblical times too. Much was shared by mouth as multitudes of the known world didn’t have the opportunity or the education to read their own written language.
    I call to mind hearing about this a while ago but from whom I can’t recall but it was a way of life as foreigners travelled along the main trade routes across the continents and passersby would stop to listen to and share stories as they interacted with the locals.
    Because of the location God chose to place the Jewish people, it would have been a point of contact for much of the populated world to hear about the One True God as it was along the ports of entry from the Mediterranean Sea positioned directly inland towards the nations to the East as well as those coming from the opposite direction to sale their goods to the western world.
    What an opportunity for these people of the land to have loved the Lord and shared that which He had done for them.
    Unfortunately they failed to follow His instructions and turned away from worshipping Him so the world remained in darkness.
    We must ask ourselves if we are just as guilty today even more so as we have the completed word of God.
    This is a time to examine our own hearts and think about the day when we stand before Him!
    Thank you for this message God put on your heart to share. I thought about it as I went about my morning routines.

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