***I cannot believe myself. I am five days late on this journey that I promised to set out on; and it's only the second week! We were out of town this weekend and so busy that I'm not even sure I brushed my teeth. But here it is, nonetheless.
When I was in the 4th grade I began participating in Bible Drill at our church. I don't remember deciding to do it...I think it was always in my future as I was (and am) the daughter of very active-in-the-church parents. Bible Drill was sort of a right of passage for those of us who's parents were as involved as mine. I do remember looking forward to it, though. If you studied, learned, and qualified at appropriate levels you got to go on a trip to the State Bible Drill. And this fidgeting-feet girl loves to travel.
So each year I would study all year long with that 4-hour bus ride, overnight, automatically parental-approved trip in mind. this was no ordinary trip you see. Upon arrival in Alexandria, LA, we got to go to the mall without our parents. Of course there were some parents (my mom went a time or two) and chaperones but they didn't say 'No' when we emerged from the candy store with 10 sour straws, 1 pound of Reese's Pieces [did they have those then?!], button candy [the kind you pull off of paper-really?!], 6 packs of crackle rocks, and one-3 inch diameter jawbreaker. That store could go 3 months on the profits they made on us that one night every year. Candy store in the mall food court-genius.
What is Bible Drill? It is a predetermined list of scriptures references & passages that had to memorize verbatim in preparation for the timed drills at the end of the year. Each year the scriptures were different; they cycled through every 3 years. So in the end of 9 years I had learned over 150 verses, passages, & the plan of salvation. I think [if I remember correctly] there were 4 sections in each drill. The part was books of the Bible. It would go something like this:
The proctor would say, 'Attention' and ten, nervously confident kids would respond by standing up straight, with feet together and Bible [spine down] held in their right hands.
'Present Bibles' We then shifted our Bibles to the horizontal position and slightly above the belly button with right hand on bottom and left hand on top [absolutely no fingers crossing over edge of the cover].
Then the proctor would call out a book of the Bible. We were given about 3 seconds to begin processing it's location with our Bibles before 'Begin' was called. 'Begin' signaled the timer to begin timing and the students to begin thumbing furiously through the incredibly thin pages of the blue, hard-covered Bibles we were issued. You then had 10 seconds to find the book, place your finger on any verse in said book, and step forward.
When 'Time' was called one individual was called on to say the 'the book before the book called, the book called, and the book after the book called' [and that is verbatim, straight from the rule book! I heard it a few times in my life...]. If you messed up, you didn't get a point. If you got it right, you got a point. And so on.The other sections included finding a specific verse, recognizing a portion of a memory verse and locating in your Bible only to be asked to close your Bible and recite it from memory. Now that I'm going through the sections of the drill I'm realizing that there were at least six sections to each drill! But I won't list them all out. I think you get the idea.
At the time, I knew what each verse said but I didn't really know what it meant. They honestly didn't mean much to me then. But I knew them; forwards and backwards I knew them. And now, as I begin this challenge of memorization I am realizing how many verses I can still recite and am amazed. While I cannot tell you the address for most of them I can recall most of the verse; well enough to find it through a concordance or search engine.
So that is where I am choosing to get my memory verses from this year: from the verses that I 'hid in my heart' [Psalm 119:11] so many years ago. Only this time I am more fully understanding their meaning and application to my life. I admitted to my Dad last week that all of those verses that I memorized over all of those years really didn't mean anything to me. But now, going back, they are hitting my heart chords. He said that he understood and said, 'But they're all still there, aren't they? They never went away.' I'm so thankful he understands.
I'm not just re-memorizing these verses. My goal is to take each verse and memorize the few verses before and/or after each verse, getting the full context of what each verse is saying. Slightly more challenging.
If this is your first attempt at memorizing scripture, please do not be discouraged or think that you need to learn chunks of scripture. That will come in due time. You have to start small or else you will get intimidated.
I still have my Bible Drill Bible; it's home is on a shelf in my room at my parents'. It is fragile after the years of drilling, practicing, & flipping through the pages in a timed manner. The spine is hanging on by only a few threads. The pages are stained with what can only be a natural build-up of oils from my hands [I am not nor have I ever been a dirty-handed person!!!]. The front cover dedication is written in my Children's Minister's calligraphy pen. When I pull my Bible down and hold it in my hands I am reminded of the time spent, the flashcards that littered the walls and doors of our house, the love and dedication of our teachers/leaders, and, most importantly, the truths that have not escaped me after all of these years.
And with that, I leave you with my verse for the next two weeks:
Romans 3:22-26New International Version (NIV)
22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.