Mary Ann and I had not been dating very long when something very intimidating happened.
We were sitting together at a Bible study, and the guy leading the study made a passing reference to the fact that believers are sealed in their relationship with Jesus by the Holy Spirit. The speaker didn’t cite a verse in support of his statement. But Mary Ann started flipping in her Bible and landed at Ephesians 1, where the verse in question was underlined.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
I wondered to myself “how did she know where that verse was? He didn’t give the address.”
I must have asked her about it sometime later, in a casual and nonchalant way so as not to betray my intimidation. What I learned was that she had started doing scripture memory during her time at University Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
Scripture memory. I’d never heard of such a thing.
Of course in Jesus’ day, that’s how people learned God’s word. By memorizing it. They didn’t have access to scrolls. They hid God’s word in their hearts.
A few years later, Mary Ann proposed to me that the two of us memorize scripture together. Still intimidated by the thought, I tried to hide any reservations and began memorizing with her the opening verses of Philippians 2.
I can’t tell you how many times over the past 40 years God has brought to mind those verses I first learned in my early 20’s. And I can’t even begin to calculate how those verses have steered and guided me in my walk with Jesus.
As we’re continuing in our study through he book of Romans, I found myself wondering this week if you have the key verses from Romans committed to memory (Maybe you’ve never had a girlfriend challenge you to memorize scripture!).
There are some verses in Romans that every Christian ought to know by heart. I’ll list them by their addresses, and you see if you can recite them:
How many of those do you know?
Some of those verses are useful in sharing the gospel with others (you may have had someone explain the gospel to you by taking you along the “Romans Road”).
But those verses are just a beginning. There are many wonderful verses in Romans that offer insight, comfort and encouragement for us as believers.
Like Romans 2:4, which tells us that God’s kindness is what leads us to repentance.
Or Romans 3:10ff, the verses someone shared with me that first brought me face to face with the depth of my sin and depravity and led me to Christ.
Or Romans 5:1 that says we have peace with God if we are in Christ.
Or the verses in Romans 7 where Paul wrestles with his dilemma of continuing to do the things he hates even after being redeemed.
Or all of Romans 8!
If you are new to your walk with Jesus, or if you’ve simply never taken the time to memorize scripture, let me challenge you to memorize the seven verses I listed above as “must know” verses. Maybe you can do it with a friend from your small group. Or maybe the whole family can memorize verses together.
And if you have the basics covered, why not select a new passage from Romans to start working on. The verses we’re studying right now in the second half of Romans 12 are great verses to have tucked away in your mind and heart.
By the way, there are phone apps that can help you memorize scripture. Or websites that offer help.
And there are lots of scripture memory songs available to help as well. Like these. And this website has a pretty comprehensive listing of scripture memory songs with links.
Psalm 119:11 is a well known memory verse about the power of memory verses! It says “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.”
As we continue our study in Romans, maybe it’s time to do a little hiding.
I know the weekend has snuck up on you. But it’s almost here. And this week is your last opportunity to reserve a spot and join us for 24 hours together at Ozark Conference Center.
I’m really excited that my friend Jim Davis is coming over to spend the time with us. I’m looking forward to hearing from him about how we can be and make disciples.
Bring your $100 check to church this Sunday. Let Matt know you’re planning to be there (firstname.lastname@example.org). And if money is an issue, just come. We’ve had some scholarship funding offered. We don’t want money to be what keeps anyone from being part of the weekend.
And of course, this Sunday is a big Sunday for us. We’ll follow our service with a potluck lunch, and our all church business meeting. Here are the details:
And Sunday May 13 is Mother’s Day. We’ll also be having baby dedications that morning. If you have a child who has never been dedicated publicly, and you’d like to be included in this time of dedication, you can contact Cathy Crowell at email@example.com to be added to the list for that morning.
A few other dates to note:
Our next prospective membership meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 19. If you’d like to find out more about what’s involved in membership at Redeemer, let Matt Gurney know. firstname.lastname@example.org There is some light reading required before the Saturday meeting, so make sure you connect with Matt ahead of time.
And finally, on Sunday June 10, we’ll have a baptism service at our traditional location – Tom and Nancy Arnold’s home. If you have never been baptized since you surrendered your life to Jesus, we would love to talk to you about following the Lord and being obedient with this public declaration of your faith. Again, contact Matt Gurney and let him know that you’re interested in being baptized so we can set up a time to meet with you to discuss baptism. email@example.com
What does genuine love look like, lived out? That’s where our study in Romans 12 takes us this Sunday.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!