Do You Know the Word?

If you are following along in Revelation, you might have noticed I skipped two churches. Now we’ll talk about those.
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this: ‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word and have not denied My Name. Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet and make them know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God. and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’” (Revelation 3:7-13).

What was this church doing?
They were keeping His Word and not denying His Name, in spite of those who opposed them—the synagogue of Satan, and the Jews (by birth, not by decision).

What is involved in “keeping His Word”?
Before you can keep it, you’ve got to know it.
Knowing it more than a "Sunday School look."
They didn’t just read God’s Word; they knew it, memorized it and made it part of their life.
Do you memorize His Word?
I can give you more excuses than you can about how hard it is. But God praised this church for keeping His word. If that’s what we're suppose to do, we better know it and know it well, which means, (Cough) memorizing it.

Back in my youth, I memorized chapters. Those chapters are a bit rusty, but I still know them.
Now when I work with the boys, I have to look after saying a phrase 5 times, because I’ve already forgotten it. But just because it takes work, doesn’t mean I have a reason not to do it. It’s what God values, so we must also.

What are you doing to enable your children to know God’s Word?
You say, "They are too young."

We started memorizing common chapters while the boys were small. Our toddler was there as we worked with the other ones. He'd rolled all over the floor, sat, stood and did all sorts of jumping around while the older ones said their verses out-loud. We tried having them stand at attention and pretend to “present” the verses to us. This toddler (3 years old) stood at attention too and recited all seven verses!
Too little to memorize? Not a chance.

Later our church had AWANA. Even though it was a great hardship to drive up and down the mountain twice on Sunday (wore me out, threw the kids schedule off for school the next day, remember all the excuses you can think of?), we did it. Why? AWANA pushes the memorization of God’s Word with immediate rewards. The children were motivated to learn. And I didn't have to be the one to push! They learned verses showing why the Bible was true and worthy of study, what it meant to be saved, what it meant to obey God…practical verses for every day life.

How do we memorize?
Take the verses at the beginning of this article, I would take a short, do-able phrase, like “And to the Angel of the church” and repeat it 5 times out-loud with the boys saying it with me. I explain any words that needed it and say it with a sing-song rhythm. (There’s nothing worse than saying the living, powerful Word of God in a monotone!) If it was difficult, the boys would say it individually to make sure they got it. Then we would work on the next phrase, “in Philadelphia write” 5 times. Then we would combine the two phrases, “And to the Angel of the church in Philadelphia write” saying it five times. Then we would move on.

When we would start again the next day, we would review and make sure we had yesterday's verses before moving to the next phrase.

Unfortunately, I had to constantly read the phrase to make sure I said it right, and thus, I didn’t know the verses as well. If I was really diligent (which I’m not), I would work on my own to master them. But I felt I was getting the Word in their little hearts—they would reap the rewards.

The angel says “hold fast what you have.”
If Christ came today, what would you have to hold fast?

If your Bible was taken away right now, what would you remember of it? Just a feeling, or the words hidden in your heart that won’t return void.

I’m amiss at memorizing.
My boys recently memorized Philippians. That’s four chapters. When they started, I helped our youngest. But when he wanted to try to do it himself, I didn’t keep up. (Remember all those excuses?) 

What rewards?
God says His Word will not return void. 
"So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty. Without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts, and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Separating joints from the bone—that's deep! 
That means when comfort is needed, the Word soothes the soul.
That means when it needs to instruct, the Word gives His solutions.
That means when there’s suffering, those Words help stand on the rock of God and not doubt.
That means when there’s tribulation, “God is faithful and good” will be on our lips, and enable us to stand against the opposition and be faithful.

Memorizing helps you persevere. It’s amazing when a verse comes to mind that encourages or convicts or directs—the Spirit is right there with me.

Without His Word memorized, how can you stand fast?

Satan can misquote it. Didn't he with Eve and Christ? You won’t recognize it. You'll  believe his half-lie, rather than give back the truth of what the Word really says.

Memorizing—it’s not just for the young.
I remember listening to an evangelist when I was young. He thought he was going blind. He worked to memorize the entire Bible. He knew a lot!
Must we wait until we can’t see, or we don't have a Bible available, then bemoan we don’t know it?

Seize the opportunity now.

What was promised because of this church's faithfulness?
The angel will keep them “from the hour of testing.”
Testing is coming for the church.
I’ve read books, testimonies, and even the current news of Christians who have and are suffering for their faith.
We aren’t exempt. In fact, it’s coming. But God provided a way for us to be faithful.
By knowing His Word.

What's the rewards?
They will receive a crown.
By persevering, they will become pillars in God’s temple.
Pillars stand when trials, hard times, and doubt come.
God’s name will be written on them. People will know God owns them.
God holds a promise for the faithful ones. They reflect Him by knowing Him.
Know the Word and be where God is.

BIble Study Tools. "Revelation 3:9." n.d. Bible Study Tools. 23 October 2018. <>.
"Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary: Revelation 3:9." n.d. Study 23 October 2018. <>.

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I write about what you---
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               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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