"Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." -Psalm 119:11
As adults we have spent many years since we started school and maybe a little before memorizing many things. Let’s see if any of these sound familiar. ‘I pledge allegiance’, ‘We the people of the United States’, ‘Four score and seven years ago’, ‘I have a dream’, and there’s probably many more that come to mind.
We’ve even been taught to memorize certain scriptures. ‘In the beginning’, ‘For God so loved the world’, ‘Our Father who is in heaven’, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, ‘Blessed are the’, and these too probably bring several more to mind.
As humans we have the capacity to learn many things and retain a lot in our minds. Parents and teachers alike spend most of our childhood filling our minds with knowledge they feel will be useful to us. And if you have grown up in church you probably have memorized countless scripture. But let’s be real, how much of that do you still remember?
Reading the Bible, learning certain scripture here and there is wonderful but it doesn’t mean you know God just by reading through the Bible or memorizing some lines that are important.
You might have learned Martin Luther’s speech, but you don’t know him. You have learned the constitution, but you don’t know our forefathers more than what you read. Of course, you won’t know them because of the era they lived in. But truly knowing someone by heart means you have to spend time with them. Take time to know their interests, likes, dislikes and more. That is why it’s easy to say you know your family or friends by heart because you’ve spent time with them.
Shouldn’t that be the same with God? Of course, we can’t physically know Him like our family, but we have been given ways to still know Him by heart. We know prayer is the most effective but what about the Bible? Like I said, reading the Bible is wonderful and a must if we want to learn what Jesus taught. But to know God by heart doesn’t mean you have to read and memorize scripture chapter by chapter, verse by verse or line by line. I know only a few exceptional minds that can do that but for the average human it is more difficult. Yes, go ahead and learn those scriptures well known to all, it’s a great way to learn about God but it’s not the way to know God by heart, it’s just basic memorizing.
Reading the Bible in a year is cool but it’s not the way to build a relationship with God to say you know Him. To know God by heart requires diving deeper into scripture. Push aside the core stories you grew up with like Creation, Noah, Esther, David, Ruth, Daniel and more. The more you dive into scripture with the intent of growing a relationship with Jesus rather than reading just to get through that day you will know the Lord you serve.
When you seek more, you can learn about God’s love in 1 John. 1st and 2nd Timothy are great for learning how to live as a Christian the way God wants you to be. Revelation, a great book about heaven. Psalm of praises and Proverbs, a book filled with wisdom of God’s people and fools of today. Song of Solomon is a love letter. And the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, stories when Jesus walked this earth.
This is when you truly begin to know God by heart. You might not be able to quote the exact chapter and verse, but you can share what you’ve learned and if the need arrives, God will bring back the scripture you have learned.
We are told to hide God’s word in our hearts. Not just the well-known verses but all the Bible. Take time and don’t rush through the year. Spend more time in each chapter, each verse and really see what God is teaching and learn about who He really is. Then you will know the God you serve and how much He loves you.
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