Bob Tamasy: Hiding the Truth Where You Can Find It

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
How good are you at remembering things? Many people are quick to complain, “I have such a terrible memory.” But in many cases, our memories aren’t nearly as bad as we claim. For instance, do you know your home address? Social Security number? Your phone number, or those of friends, close family members, or where you work? How about lines from movies, or lyrics of favorite songs or hymns?

Virtually all of us succeed at memorizing information that’s important to us. Maybe we can’t recite the Declaration of Independence verbatim or the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution, but we usually can manage committing to memory those things dear to our hearts.

Meeting with men I’m mentoring or discipling, I often suggest they try memorizing key verses of Scripture.
If they reply, “Oh, I can’t memorize things,” I’m apt to raise a skeptical eyebrow. I sometimes tell them point-blank, “You can if you want to.”

But why bother? What’s the big deal about memorizing some verses from the Bible? We’re not trying to win a contest at church, or show off during a Sunday school class, are we? Not at all. In the Scriptures, however, God makes it clear He desires for us to make His inspired Word integral to our lives. The Bible shouldn’t be some reference book we consult every once in a while.

A profound statement about this is found in Psalm 119:9-11. King David wrote, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word…. Your word I have treasured in my heart that I may not sin against You.” The NIV translates it, “I have hidden in my heart.”

Both terms convey a strong commitment to embracing God’s truth, appreciating its great value for everyday living. The apostle Paul affirmed this in writing to Timothy, whom he had been discipling: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

This tells us the Lord inspired men to put into writing His truth for everyday application. It’s not to be confined to a worship center’s sanctified halls.

An example is Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, a ministry that has made Scripture memory an important part of its discipling strategies. Trotman traveled all around the world, and often didn’t have a Bible readily available. But, having been diligent to memorize and meditate on the Scriptures, he could always access them from memory whenever needed.

How do we go about “treasuring” or “hiding” the Word of God in our hearts? There’s not just one way, but I’ve learned a few helpful tips over the years.

Years ago, my wife and I were attending a marriage conference when the speaker suggested making a commitment to memorize verses from the Bible. I had learned the 23rd Psalm from hearing it repeated when I was in grade school. (The supposed total “separation of church and state” hadn’t been discovered yet. How scandalous was that?) But I’d never thought of making a conscious effort to commit to memory passages from the Bible. 

The speaker suggested starting with a verse that’s easy to remember, such as 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” Only three words? That would be easy enough. Then he added, “If that seems too difficult, try the verse that precedes it: 1 Thessalonians 5:16, ‘Rejoice always.””

Wow! Suddenly I had two Bible verses committed to my “remembery.” Later I discovered other short verses, most notably John 11:35, which states, “Jesus wept.” Eventually, however, I realized the key for effective Scripture memory was not picking out simple passages, but finding ones that had special meaning or importance. Those are the ones most easily hidden or treasured in our hearts.

Before long I took on a little more ambitious challenge and memorized Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” 

This passage became my life verse that to this day serves as a foundation for my faith and trust in God, no matter what circumstances I face. Looking over the course of my life, I’ve been able to see that even when I didn’t understand what was happening, I could trust Him – and He truly has directed my paths. 

At times, I’ve tried to learn a new verse that seemed too difficult. The solution was not only to try learning the words and their context, but also put the passage into use. One of those was 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 

I was trying to learn it unsuccessfully until I decided to share it with a friend as we were riding in his car to a meeting. He wasn’t a follower of Christ, but I asked if he’d mind if I recited the verse since I was trying to learn it, and he didn’t object. 

Without realizing it at the time, I was applying the principle from another verse, James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Soon I had “hidden” the verse in my heart – and many times, when confronted by temptation, I’ve brought it to mind for help in making the right decisions. I guess it’s okay to hide the Word of God – as long as you know where to find it.

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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

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