Most Important Belief

Today I was interviewed by a newspaper reporter who, it turned out, was a fellow Bob Jones University graduate.

Among other set questions she asked, “What is your most important belief?”

My reply: For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”

She smiled and said, “I’m so glad you included the second half.”

“Absolutely! We so often forget that “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”

I had to memorize this verse as a child in Sunday School. They said this Bible memorization was ‘learning by heart.’ We were to “write these words in our heart that we might not sin against Him.”

Praise God! If only we would take time to memorize the Scriptures, the liturgy and the great hymns. This is not just an Evangelical tradition. The Benedictine monks not only encouraged the slow, meditative reading of Scripture called lectio divina they also memorized great chunks of Scripture. The Rule of St Benedict is infused with Scripture, and was clearly written by a man who was himself infused with Scripture.

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker
  • jeron

    Right on! As a post-Vatican II child of the JPII generation, I can’t recall really learning Scripture in parochial school. I was taught the Apostle’s Creed & all my prayers, but not really Scripture. My brother is a Permanent Deacon, and when I reverted to the faith 2 years ago, he gave me his breviary. Through praying the Divine Office, I’ve found myself committing portions of Scripture to memory and it has blessed my life tremendously. I WANT to read Scripture now. I just started reading M. Robert Mulholland’s *Shaped by the Word, the Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation.*

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12160692717572191491 onionboy

    I completed my first poustinia {24 hours of fasting, prayer and bible reading in a small room with nothing but a bible, and the odd cup of tea} and spent the majority of my time doing “nothing” but reading St. Matthew’s gospel.It reminded me of my Protestant days when I read a lot, a lot of scripture but better.This time I read under the knowledge that I am guided by sacred Tradition, the teaching of the Church, and no longer on my own with Scripture even when I am on my own with Scripture.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17691145638703824456 kkollwitz

    Christian found the article in today’s Journal; it was very gracious.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16829008956478473428 John Seymour

    Mine would be:Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead. Nothing else explains the subsequent actions of the Apostles. Confronted with this, what I refer to as the central fact of history, how do you respond?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13753776175726884530 Rowena Hullfire

    Mine is:Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:41)(My name is Elizabeth.)Catholics know more Scripture than they are given credit for. They don’t necessarily memorize chapter and verse, but those are medieval Catholic inventions anyway! We encounter the Word of God the way all Christians always have back to the beginning–proclaimed in the liturgy. So many of the Mass prayers are scripture quotes, too. We are totally bathed in the word.I much prefer hearing Scripture proclaimed in the liturgy than any other way, but I read my Bible a lot.I love how much we pray the Psalms–responsorially, in hymns and songs, in the liturgy of the hours.Psalms and canticles of praise are my favorite. The Song of the Three Children from Daniel is so freakin’ beautiful, it goes farther than St Francis of Assisi. Somebody needs to make that into a plainchant responsory like the Litany of the Saints, or a song or hymn.


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