2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (King James Version)
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. (New Living Translation)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (New International Version, 2011)
Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. (The Message)
When I was growing up, we always had Bible verses to memorize as part of Sunday School, Training Union and Vacation Bible School. I was also a part of Girl’s Auxiliary (G.A.s) where moving up through the ranks required scripture memorization. An older woman in our church, Mrs. Simon, worked with us each Wednesday night to help us. I can still remember her encouragement as she drilled us on the required verses. It was a big deal at the end of the school year to stand before the church and recite those memory verses to the congregation. I always got stumped on the reference, never quite remembering what chapter and verse they came from. To this day, I can quote a verse, but can’t tell you where it is found. When I was a girl, the only version of the Bible that we used was the King James. By the time I was a teenager, the Living Translation had come along with its easier to understand language, but, the verses I remembered were all in the King’s English. It’s been more than forty decades, and my memory is not as good as it was. So, it was with some misgiving that I signed up for a Scripture Memory program this year. Every two weeks, I chose a different verse and work on memorizing it. I look for something that relates to what is going on in my life. When I was preparing to go to Guatemala, it was James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” While there, it was Matthew 19:14, “Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” At first, it was not a difficult task. By the end of January, I could recite two verses. But, as time has gone on, I have to remember those verses and add more. Now, in early May, there are nine verses to keep track of. To make it more challenging (what was I thinking?) I chose verses in a different translation than King James. I thought it would help to have them in a modern translation, but also didn’t want to cheat by relying on what I learned fifty years ago. Sometimes, it is hard to choose which translation to use, especially when the most modern one, The Message, adds a lot of words and often combines verses. For example, Philippians 4:6. What I learned as a child says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (King James Version) The section from The Message says, “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” I really like that last part about being settled down. So, I will continue plugging along even though I struggle and try my best to hide God’s Word in my heart. I’ll try not to worry as well. Even if I do have another seventeen verses to memorize!