Weekly Memory Verse: July 12
2 Timothy 1:13 "Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."
Our Living Bibles group has been privileged to spend the last few weeks contemplating and memorizing the verses of Paul's second letter to Timothy.
Most scholars believe that these are the last written words we have of the great Apostle to the Gentiles, and that not long after its writing he was beheaded during the reign of the wicked emperor Nero.
We will be gathering together tomorrow to recite the verses we were assigned. Since I've put this letter to music, my wife and I will be singing together the passage we have been given instead of simply speaking them.
Each member prefers various translations from which to memorize. Some use the KJV, some the NIV, some the ESV, and other versions which are all accurate translations but carefully laid out by brilliant scholars in order to make the Greek understandable to the English reader, yet holding to the intent and accuracy of the Scripture.
So, as we go through the letter, verse by verse, we get a potpourri of different Bible versions, and get the full impact of God's word as breathed to the beloved Apostle Paul.
After tonight we will be moving First Peter, written by the one known as the great Apostle to the Jews early on in the church, as he was given the keys to open the door of the Kingdom primarily to them, while Paul's main mission was to the Gentiles.
Of course, Peter and Paul preached to all, Jew and Gentile. Both letters were written in times of great persecution, and the strength and confidence exuded from these letters must have been a great comfort to those fearing for their lives.
We in America fortunately have a hard time relating to some of what is brought out in these letters, but an insidious hatred of God is slowly permeating its way throughout the land. We could be one election away from losing the freedoms God had bestowed upon the group of God-fearing people who formed this country.
If that happens, we will then understand more thoroughly that we are but "strangers and pilgrims" in a dark and sinful world, where we are to "endure hardness" as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and live "no longer for human passions but for the will of God". (1 Peter 2:11, 2 Timothy 2:3, 1 Peter 4:2)
I can't express enough what a blessing it is to be pushing or riding a lawn mower reciting a book like 2 Timothy, or lying in bed at night reciting an outline of Mark, or quoting the Sermon on the Mount as I fall asleep.
It takes a lot of effort initially, as any important exercise, but the rewards are tremendous, breathing out the very God-breathed words left for us for our sanctification as we walk in this shadowland.
I encourage you to form a Living Bible group yourself, whether with two or twenty, which helps you to be accountable to be diligent in a work that reaps great rewards, both in this life and the one ahead of us.
Today if you hear His voice, harden not your heart.