Stop and think for a moment: how many Bible verses do you know? And when did you learn them?
John Hardwick is of the opinion that it is good for children to memorise Scripture, even as young as four years old, and they will remember them for a long, long time, even into their 20s and 30s. But probably they will have a few hundred verses in their memories for the rest of their lives.
John had the idea of Big Bible Verse Challenge in early 2011 and has developed the project with one memory verse for every week of the year.
“I take a lot of R.E. days in schools, given the subject of ‘Why read the Bible?’
I put Bible verses to music, using a variety of styles: African, ballad, reggae, jazz, and so on. It takes me about half an hour to produce words and music for each one I choose.”
John’s plan first became action in a church holiday club. Teach a verse, then quiz the youngsters – such an easy process. Some verses are ‘praise and worship’, some ‘gospel’, some quite hard – hitting, Romans 6, 23 for example: ‘The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
The best-known of John’s songs, he believes, is based on John 3, 16: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son ...’
All fifty-two verses for 2012 are already recorded and will be placed on line one a week. “Different translations are used and in a contemporary style. I decide which type is appropriate for which age-group. Wherever I go, I talk about Big Bible Verse Challenge. People instantly sign up. There is no cost, and it is of course accessible through internet. Just recently I have received emails
expressing appreciation. A mum and two children have learned five verses. Likewise a grandma, through YouTube.
John reminds us that Bible translators lost their lives through their loyalty to Christ, yet now so many Christians rarely read their Bibles every day. Sadly, we don’t treasure Scripture as they did. He also reminds us that this is the year of the Olympic Games here. “The athletes are known for their dedication and we could be like them as we learn 12-months’ worth of verses before the end of
Psalm 119, 11: ‘I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.’ Our testimony too?