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.
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?
“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.