Monday, November 21, 2011

Scripture Memory: The Missing Link in Life-Transformation

Why do so many people seem to not get it?  Could it be that they have not let the word of God in to their heart to change them?  Consider the following by Jay Adams:  "[David said] in Psalm 119:11, "I have treasured Your Word in my heart, so that I won't sin against You."  The word "hid", or as it has been translated here, "treasured," has in it the idea of "laying up" or "storing up" treasures.  It sometimes also connotes "hiding" or "concealing" something in order to "protect" it.  But the important qualifying phrase in this verse is "in my heart."

The principal way to avoid sinning in daily life is to personally possess an abundance of scriptural treasures.  Closely allied to Psalm 119:11 is Paul's command in Colossians 3:16, in which internalizing and abundance are emphasized: "Let Christ's Word dwell in you richly," and the message of Deuteronomy 6:5, 8-9 (repeated in Deut.  11:18) is:

These words with which I am now commanding you shall be on your heart.... You shall bind them as a token on your hands, wear them on your forehead as a badge, and write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates....

Clearly, in all of these passages, God is requiring you to internalize the Scriptures for use in day-by-day, Thursday living.  According to Deuteronomy 6:5, one loves God with all his heart, soul, and might when he daily lives according to the commandments of God recorded in the Scriptures.

When Moses writes of the Scriptures being "on" the heart, that means more than our phrases "in your heart" or "by heart," which more or less have to do with memorization.  The preposition "on" is used in this expression to convey the idea of affecting the heart—we might also translate it "riding heard on the heart" (i.e., continually guiding and directing the heart). When the Scriptures lead the inner life (the heart) they will control what one thinks (Scripture on the forehead), does (Scripture on the hand), what goes on in his home (Scripture on the doorpost), and even what he does when he goes out (Scripture on the city gates).

Paul's conept of the "riches" (or treasures) of Christ's Word "dwelling" within says the same thing in a third way.  Dwelling speaks ofo a permanent residence within.  It is the person embodying God's truth; the truth so permeates and influences him that he lives his life out of that treasure or storehouse of truth.  Again, the truth is not just there, to be recalled for the next Bible quiz.  It is not merely filed for quik retrieval (though that is a part of the process), but it is the dominant influence in daily life.

All of these passages, then, refer to the controlling and guiding power of the Bible.  Plainly, God intended the Bible to play a practical part in everyday affairs.  But, once again, let me ask your question for you—"How?  What does Bob do when he is faced with a problem at work on Thursday?" 

I have observed that, even if he wanted to, Bob could not take three or four hours from his work to do a quick Bible study in order to seek an answer.  How, then, does he respond?

This problem is precisely the one that is met by the passages that I have been presenting to you in this chapter; they all speak of the Scriptures controlling the life and the decision-makin process from their residence in the heart.  Basically, Bob (or you) must know enough Bible—what it says, where it is located (for quick reference), and what it means—to enable him to put together an answer as soon as possible.  Usually, when possible, he will refresh his inner understanding by reviewing several portions of the Bible; sometimes, however, he will not be able to do this.  So it will be essential for him to know the Bible's teachin on various problems, often before the problem arises."—Adams, Jay. What to do on Thursday? pg 56-58.

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