Christian LivingMinistry

The Alphabet Bible

When I was at uni, we read an article about memory. It argued that pen and paper, computers and smart phones have erased our reliance on memory. There are good things about this, of course. Our digital calendar reminds us of wedding anniversaries. The internet delivers updated train timetables at the click of a button. Generational history is passed down through books and audio recordings. But there are also costs. No longer can we recall anyone’s phone numbers. No longer do we memorise friends’ birthdays. No longer do we memorise the Scriptures. Why bother? Our Bibles are in our pockets wherever we go.

But there are countless moments when reliance on a digital, or even printed Bible, is insufficient and we feel the loss of memorisation.

There’s a young man that I know who is a walking, talking biblical concordance. Unlike anyone else I know, he can recite verse and reference for countless pages of Scripture. He’s a great asset to our staff team as we edit teaching material; he’s a blessing as we discuss doctrine and theology; he’s useful in pointing us to Scripture as we talk about everyday life; and he’s a joy in encouraging us in his love of God’s word. Even more so, being able to immediately recall Scripture to mind is useful in evangelistic conversations, pastoral conversations and in Bible study groups as you see connections between different books of the Bible (often cross references don’t cut it).

But what I love most about memorised Scripture, is the blessing it is to me as I lie awake in bed at night, trying to get to sleep. There’s a song I grew up with (from Psalty, the singing songbook) that sings through the alphabet, reciting a Bible verse for every letter. I can still recall it now. So, at night, as I’m tossing and turning, I try to pray through each verse of the song. I find the alphabet provides a structure to my thoughts, preventing my mind from wandering off into unhelpful tangents.

The song’s refrain goes like this:

I’m gunna hide God’s word in my heart, it’s a lamp unto my feet.

I’m gunna read God’s word every day – It’s my food, my bread, my meat.

I’m gunna stand on the truth of the Bible.

I’m gunna open my eyes, I’m gunna memorise.

It’s a great song that captures the Psalmist’s delight in Scripture (eg. Psalm 19, 119). Below are the verses I now recite, having made a few adjustments for the sake of relevance and personal preference. You could make your own up too if you want!

A: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

B: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31

C: “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18

D: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, I would’ve told you.” John 14:1-2

E: “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Proverbs 30:5

F: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; child, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

G: “God shows his love to us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

H: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:3

I: “’I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even though he dies.” John 11:25

J: “Jesus wept.” John 11:35

K: “Keep my words and treasure up my commandments within you.” Proverbs 7:1

L: “Love is patient, love is kind. It doesn’t envy or boast. It isn’t proud or rude.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

M: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord.” Psalm 19:14

N: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory because of your steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1

O: “Overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

P: “Pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

Q: “Quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:26

R: “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David.” 2 Timothy 2:8

S: “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God… Because you have died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1, 3-4

T: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Psalm 95:7

U: “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.” Psalm 127:1

V: “Vanity of vanities, says the preacher. All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:2-3

W: “Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2

X: “Expose the unfruitful works of darkness.” Ephesians 5:11

Y: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

Z: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:17

I pray that the Lord might write God’s word on your heart, that you might access them 24/7, and savour them for the rich wisdom and bountiful blessings that they are.