Has the information age removed the need for us to remember scripture? After all… whenever we need a verse now we can just pull out our iPhone/ipod/ipad/android devices and load up youversion/esv+ . It’s right at our fingertips.
I was prompted to think on this by one of my lecturers over the past week. He mentioned it quickly in a lecture on Romans but the topic of thought has been one I have had over the past few years, and I have been re-energised to mull over it some more through his comments.
We know the Word of God is not just any word. It is not a normal book.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow; and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
The verse clearly outlines that God’s word effects us. It works inside us powerfully. The question then, “Can it do this while it is on your phone/computer/ipad?”. The answer I believe is no. The word of God is seen to be living and active at the point in which it interacts with those God intended to interact with. Human-kind. It is not living and active as words on a page, but words in a mind and heart.
Reading the Bible off your phone once, and forgetting it in minutes leaves us in the same predicament as reading the written word of God once and forgetting it in minutes. Unless the word of God is allowed to penetrate our mind and heart through approaches like thoughtful study and memorisation (both of which take decent portions of time) we will experience limited effect. We must not think that the close proximity of the word of God (on our phone – instantly accessible) is somehow of benefit to our life transformation if we do not read it and memorise it and mull over it.
In fact, I am even inclined to think that the proximity and ease of access we have to the word of God through our phones may actually be damaging to our overall life transformation. I only think this is the case due to a dangerous thought that no doubt creeps into many of our heads (subconsciously most of the time), namely, that “I don’t need to memorise that, I can access it whenever I want”. We must fight against this one. We mustn’t succumb to equating the total benefit of memorisation of scripture with “having the scripture on-hand to share whenever we need it”. Scripture studied and memorises sinks much deeper, and has much more life and action than simple regurgitation of words. As the Hebrews verse states, it helps discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. It’s not going to do this on your phone.
A project I have been involved with since around 2008 is a web tool I made to help memorise scripture as a part of a demonstration of website coding I did for some of my students when I was a school teacher. It was called the MAPAW (Memorise a Passage a Week) Project. I have since closed it in the hope of redevelopment into something more substantial, that could help more people get the word of God into their minds and hearts. If you visit www.mapawproject.com you will see the stub of it promising a new version soon. I have since purchased a new domain for the tool, www . memver . com (not included it as a link because I don’t want google to find it in its unfinished state), that is still under development. I am very keen to finish redeveloping this tool, to begin using technology to put the word of God into us, rather than using it as an excuse to keep it out. The first free chunk of time I have available I will work hard on it.
This stuff is important. We need to fill our minds and hearts with the Word of God. Use technology to aid this.