This is essential for professionals who wish to become tentmakers. No serious Christian would consider serving the Lord anywhere without their Bibles. Especially professionals who earn their living and make Jesus Christ known in hostile countries. But having a Bible is like carrying our sword in its scabbard. You should have a Bible on your desk at work as well as one at home, and ideally, have a New Testament or at least a Gospel in your pocket.
But even if you have a Testament with you, it won’t do much good in emergencies unless you know exactly where to turn in the moment of need. The best solution is to carry portions of Scriptures around with you all the time in your memory! You have God’s Word with you unsheathed and ready for use. Think of the emergencies likely to occur:
1. Temptation. You cannot predict when that will sneak up on you. There will rarely be time (or inclination) to hunt up protective verses. The Holy Spirit promises to bring to mind the protecting Scriptures. But how can he retrieve from our memory data that we have never stored there? It is difficult to overestimate the value of memorized verses, whether we need protection from sin, fear, discouragement, impatience, or whatever. In fact, verses will come to mind during the day and you find yourself meditating on them–in fellowship with the Lord and in worship.
2. Evangelism. Both Paul and Peter tell us “to be ready to answer the questions” of seekers. Our evangelistic effectiveness is greatly enhanced as one memorized passage after another is recalled to us as we speak. If necessary, we can quickly paraphrase verses into a foreign language. Or find it in a foreign language testament–a language we do not yet speak.
3. Persecution. If you are called in and interrogated by an authority. Jesus told his disciples that it would happen to them, and they should not worry what to say because his Spirit would remind them what to say at the moment. In the ancient world everyone memorized. Teaching was done in a way to facilitate remembering. Many Christians (in China, the ex-Soviet Union, etc.) and quite a few tentmakers have found themselves isolated for long periods with no access to a Bible, and were grateful for every shred of Scripture they could bring to mind.
4. Bible study. Your personal inductive study is enormously enhanced as verses from all over the Bible surface, interpreting and enriching your passage.
5. Ministry. With memorized Scripture, you can give a sermon at a moment’s notice–even in a foreign language. Find your memorized passages in a local language translation and read them, using the vocabulary in the verses to explain them.
You may want to consider other reasons and some excellent practical suggestions and some Navigator materials in our
GO Paper on The Tentmaker and Bible Memory.