What’s On The Inside

I think I saw it in a movie, a Vietnam film maybe—where a prisoner-of-war used a stone to scrape into the wall of his cell all the scriptures he knew by heart. When the guards took bathroom breaks, he read the verses loudly to the other captives. Then they’d pray. It kept him and them sane. It gave them hope that they would one day be rescued, by God’s angels or his human agents, which in time, they were.

It made me think: How much of God’s word would I have in here—I tapped my head, and in here, I patted my chest—if I didn’t have my Bible? If bad guys, Gospel-haters, broke down our front door and went room to room snatching up Bibles and stuffing them in burlap rucksacks? The giant, King James Version, family-Bible my husband got me one year for my birthday. My NIV Chronological Bible from my mother-in-the-faith, Barbie. My beloved and now packing-taped Amplified translation, my Parallel Bible with the New International and The Message versions side-by-side. My Nan’s New American Standard Bible that I asked for when she passed.


“Where do you start? How do you pick verses?” I asked my friend Jane as we sipped lattes in a coffee shop on her side of town.

“Some people commit “The Roman’s Road” scriptures to memory. Or, John 3:16. It’s the most popular verse in the world, but I hear Philippians 4:13 is catching up quickly. Another good place to start is with your “life verse”—the one verse that sums up what God has done in your life.”

I grinned. “Oh, that’s easy.” From my purse I produced a palm-sized Bible and flipped to the Psalms.

Jane leaned close. “Which one is it?”

“Hold on. I’ll read you the NIV and The Message translations.”

Psalm 30:11-12 (NIV)

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Psalm 30:11-12 (The Message)

You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.

Janie hugged her ribs and sat back in her chair, a dreamy expression on her face. “Both of those are beautiful. Memorizing either of them would be a great place to start.”


I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against you.

–Psalm 119:1


Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Diane Tarantini
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  1. Diane Karchner on April 17, 2017 at 8:21 AM

    Reminds me of a Randy Alcorn near-reality-fiction book about Christians in China who ripped pages out of the illegal Bible, and each person memorized the page they were given. When they got together secretly, they would take turns reciting the page they had memorized. Certainly convicting me as I tap on my skull to pour out the ones I have committed to memory. I have always hoped that the Spirit would remind me what I have read all these years. Wishful thinking? Maybe not! I think I have some work to do!! Thanks, Diane, for the thought-provoking post. (And based on your fave life verses, it appears that God has helped you to DANCE, WHIRLING DANCE!! Love that!!)

    • Gretchen on April 17, 2017 at 9:25 AM

      Loved that book! I think it was Safely Home.

      • Diane Tarantini on April 17, 2017 at 10:09 AM

        Whoah! Cool, you all! That book, that concept, sounds amazing!!

  2. Gretchen on April 17, 2017 at 9:28 AM

    Love this reminder, Diane. So beautifully written. I need to get back to this discipline. I was doing Beth Moore’s scripture memorization plan (choosing a Scripture a week and memorizing it), but fell away in my faithfulness. Yet each of the verses I memorized has blessed me in ways both simple and profound.

  3. Tara Watson on April 17, 2017 at 5:29 PM

    You are such a great storyteller Diane. Why is it that I know every word of every 80’s song and still have trouble remembering something so important as bible verses? Yet I’m getting better and at least I know (generally speaking) where to find what I’m looking for. I was doing really well with writing one verse per week, the same verse each day, that helped. I need to get back to that.

  4. Diane Tarantini on April 18, 2017 at 2:13 PM

    Hey Tara: There’s actually a phone app for memorizing scripture. I don’t use it. I’m old school and use index cards, but my daughter does. Look around for that and if you don’t find it, let me know and I’ll ask her:)

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