Sub- titled “Change your life from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:20”.
This is my first ever Book Review and I am by no means an experienced Blogger, so please bear with me for a rather basic, but nevertheless well intended write up. I came across the author Robert J. Morgan very recently having picked up another of his titles that Pastor Tim was reading and recommended. I subsequently bought that book, “On this day in Christian history” and looked at his other publications. I discovered that he is a very prolific writer, with more than 35 titles in print and over five million copies in circulation in many languages. He is the teaching pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for over 40 years.
It was the title “100 Bible verses Everyone Should Know by Heart” that caught my eye as it threw down a slightly daunting challenge.
The explanatory synopsis quoted here lays down the rationale for the many values of committing scripture to memory: "It's vital for mental and emotional health and for spiritual well-being," he writes. "It's as powerful as acorns dropping into furrows in the forest. It allows God's words to sink into your brain and permeate your subconscious thoughts. It saturates the personality, satiates the soul, and stockpiles the mind.”
The value of this reference work comes from it being essentially two books in one, with each one very well structured. Firstly, there is a series of ten chapters entitled “The Power of Scripture Memory”. Each describes getting scripture into “the memory”, “the imagination”, the “subconscious” and “into practice”. We are then, if we are not already convinced, given seven immediate benefits of Scripture Memory and finally Chapter 10 gives the encouragement “You Can Do It!”
The second part of the book is devoted to the actual title content “100 Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart” and as in Part One it’s usefully broken down into thirteen easy-to-digest sections.
The sections are not necessarily in Biblical order but the 100 verses are helpfully grouped by their theological relevance. So, to name just a few, we have, “Beginnings: The Bible’s Fantastic Four”, The Roman Road: The Plan of Salvation”, Assurance: Inner Peace and Security”, “Holiness: Obeying God’s Commands”, Promises: Verses to Stand On” and “Sent: The Great Commission and Our Global Task.” Finally there is space to add your own “More Personal Life-Changing Verses.”
Verse by Verse: What is so useful, and the key to the books value, is that having quoted the verse to be memorised, the author then fully unpacks the verse over several pages, so you do not just remember it verbatim, but you get the full meaning to mull over. They even provide a “Memory Tip” for ach verse.
I’ll pick out just one as an example which is Verse 3 of the 100 from Section One, “Beginnings: The Bible’s Fantastic Four” It’s John 1 verse 14. At this point I should mention my one grumble in that the translations vary quite a bit, but in general, it’s the Holman Christian Standard Bible. However, that in itself can be regarded as a plus, in that it causes you to research alternative versions.
So, for John 1 v 14 they quote: The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (HCSB)
To us the use of “residence” is less familiar than “dwelt” of course.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ESV
What a glorious, packaged story verse this is. So, uplifting. He is the friend who dwells among us! Robert Morgan says it is arguably the Bible’s greatest verse about the incarnation. The Word (God the Son) became flesh (human) and pitched his tent among us. We observed His glory and saw that He was the one and only God the Son, full of grace and truth.
Of course, memorizing these verses is the challenge and it reminds me of the spinning plates variety acts where you keep having to keep the first plate moving whilst adding a new one. Practice, practice, practice. It is a particularly good book to have to hand to grow your scriptural armour.
Ian Bunker February 2021