HONOLULU – From as far back as I can remember as a child in church, we were taught to memorize Scripture. One of the very first verses we learned was Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” We knew that the more we commit and love to memorize Scripture, the less likely we would be to miss our goal of living for Jesus.
Being amid the Cold War at the time, our teachers warned us that it was possible that we might not always have access to a Bible in the future, especially in the worst of times, so the time to memorize Scripture was now.
I attended a Christian university where Scripture memorization was required. I began to think that Scripture was actually being imprinted on my heart. Perhaps someday we will learn that it actually is.
I can say without apology that having memorized an abundance of Bible verses and passages has either kept me from sin or convicted me of it. I cannot begin to enumerate how consistently those memorized verses have comforted my soul in times of distress.
I have never been without a Bible. More accurately, I have never been without several Bibles. My heart breaks when I hear of multitudes of believers around the world who are not so blessed. This was particularly impressed upon me when I learned the story this week of what transpired recently when Honolulu-based pastor Wayne Cordeiro held a Christian leadership training meeting in China.
During one of the sessions, he observed several people who had no Bible. One woman, in particular, caught his attention as she passed hers to another lady. What is more, he noticed that she did not need her written copy as they studied 2 Peter. He soon realized that she had memorized the entire book.
Impressed, he approached her later. He learned that she had memorized Scripture in prison. As she said, “You have much time in prison.”
Yet, she did not have a Bible in prison. The Chinese will not allow it. Christians imprisoned for their convictions memorize Scripture on small scraps of paper delivered to them by fellow believers. They commit the passages to memory as quickly as possible because even those scraps of paper will be confiscated if guards discover them.
But the guards cannot steal what the Christians have hidden in their hearts. And that reminds me of three verses from Matthew chapter 5:
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (v.6)
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (v.10)
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (v.12)
Praise the Lord for these steadfast Chinese believers. Pray for the blessings of these verses to be theirs.
Most importantly, if you are not accustomed to memorize Scripture, today is a perfect time to start. We don’t know what our earthly future holds, but we do know that whatever it is, His word can carry us through.
To read more news on China on Missions Box, go here.
- Christian Headlines, Imprisoned Chinese Christians Memorize Entire Bible: ‘They Can’t Take What’s Hidden in Your Heart’
- The Christian Post, Chinese Christians memorize Bible in prison: Gov’t ‘can’t take what’s hidden in your heart’
- New Hope, Wayne Cordeiro