GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins remembers the day like it was yesterday. An older member of the Sagamore Hill Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, handed Hawkins, then a 17-year-old brand-new Christian, a slip of paper with the Scripture “1 Cor. 10:13”. He was told, “You better memorize this because you will need it!”
That verse says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” It was the first, but certainly not the last, Scripture Hawkins has committed to memory.
The decline of Scripture memory among Christians burdened Hawkins and led to the publishing in 2012 of The Joshua Code: 52 Scripture Verses Every Believer Should Know.
The book, which has sold well more than a quarter of a million copies, was reintroduced this summer in Spanish. The Spanish title, La Clave de Josué: 52 versículos de las Escrituras que cada creyente debe saber, is available from all major book retailers.
The book’s title is based on Joshua 1:8, which says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” In the book, Hawkins highlights 52 well-loved verses that every Christian should know. Along with each passage comes an outline and devotional message.
That makes the book especially useful for pastors, who can encourage members to memorize the Scripture, while creating a preaching plan for the entire year.
“Pastors can use it to lead their people through the book, preaching on a verse a week and challenging their people to remember it,” Hawkins said. “Individuals can use it as a year-long devotional to learn to memorize Scripture. And it makes a great introduction to our lost friends or those who need an introduction to Scripture.
“And since it’s now available in both Spanish and English, it’s a perfect tool for bilingual congregations to use to grow together through Scripture.”
All author royalties and proceeds from sales of the book benefit Mission:Dignity®, which provides much-needed financial support for some 1,700 retired Southern Baptist ministers and their widows. Bulk pricing is available through ChurchSource.com.
“When memorizing Scripture, I have found it helpful to write it out in my own handwriting on a small notecard,” Hawkins said. “I keep the card in my pocket throughout the day and week, and numerous times during the day, while at my desk, at a stoplight in the car or other occasions, I simply review it until the first phrase is memorized, then the second and so on.”
Hawkins said a return to Scripture memory is something every Christian should embark upon, whether a believer for five minutes or five decades.
“With all the busyness of life, I can say I’ve never regretted taking time to memorize Scripture and to get the Word into my being,” Hawkins said. “As church leaders, we need to help the people understand how applicable to their daily life Scripture is and how to live it out as we go about our day-to-day activities.”
Roy Hayhurst is director of denominational and public relations services for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention®.