Can you guess which one came out on top?
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)Surprised? I'm not.
In my eighth grade Spanish class (many years ago LOL!), we had a visitor. An aviator pilot who worked with a missionary organization came in and spoke about his experiences flying across the Spanish-speaking countries of South America. I was enthralled by his stories and decided right then and there that I wanted to become a missionary.
When I told a classmate about my dream to go to South America as a missionary, he promptly laughed in my face. He told me I could never be a missionary unless I memorized some Bible verses. Then to prove his point, he asked me to quote John 3:16.
Uh... well.... I fussed and fumed at him because I couldn't quote that verse. He told me it was only "the most important verse in the whole Bible."
So I went home and memorized it. But for the rest of the year, he needled me about not knowing my Bible.
John 3:16 may have been the most important verse in the Bible and the first Bible verse I ever memorized, but it wasn't the last. As a matter of fact, I have memorized all of the verses on Bible Gateway's top 10 list and many more over the years.
As a young teen, I travelled to a Christian camp in Tennessee with a missionary friend to work as a junior counselor. That summer, she challenged me to memorize the whole chapter of Romans 8 which contains the 4th ranked verse on the Bible Gateway list:
Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (NRSV)
I wish I could say I did manage to memorize the whole chapter - I was more interested in having fun than doing memory work at that point. But as I matured, I began to realize the value of learning large portions of scripture. During my Bible College years I finally did buckle down and learn more verses.
What I discovered is that the more of God's Word that I tucked away in my heart, the more he was able to speak to me. A fragment of a verse will pop into my head and when I look it up, I find it's just what I needed for guidance or encouragement when I need it. Or while I speak to others, God will remind me of a verse I memorized long ago that will help them.
No, I never became a missionary to South America like I dreamed about in my Spanish class, but as a writer I get to spread God's Word each time I sit down to blog or work on my Bible novels. Knowing God's word is important for my own spiritual life and for reaching out to others.
So - who's the real winner? I am - because I know all of those top 10 verses and then some!
Check them out at Bible Gateway's top 10 . How many do you know? If you haven't memorized many Bible verses in your lifetime, why not start with these? You will be a winner too!