Andy Davis’ office has two of four walls filled with books. Most of them — Bible commentaries, books on counseling and church history and more — nearly stretch from floor to ceiling.
But Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., will tell you there is one book that has captured his heart; it is the Bible. And his desire to know God’s Word has led him to memorize 35 of its books.
He noted he’s never claimed to have been able to recite in detail each of the 35 books he has memorized. “There is a limit to memorization,” said Davis, who is currently working to memorize book 36: Zephaniah.
“But what I really want to know is,” he said, “‘Why are you memorizing?’ The goal should be: life transformation by comprehension of God’s perfect Word.”
Nathan Finn, a member at First Baptist since 2005 and a professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, said Davis’ love for Scripture memorization has inspired some people to join the church.
“Some have come across his booklet [“An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture”] on the topic, while others read about Andy’s approach in an article in the Raleigh News & Observer several years ago,” Finn said. “I know we have many members who are strongly committed to extended Scripture memorization because of Andy’s influence.”
Davis came to Christ through CRU (formerly Campus Crusades for Christ) while a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
He began memorizing scripture through Navigator’s Topical Memory System. During his senior year at MIT, he said, he began thinking that “it might be better to memorize an entire book of Scripture” as opposed to just memorizing topical verses.
While on a mission trip in Kenya in 1986, Davis decided to start memorizing his first book, Ephesians, as he waited for a bus. “When I returned from Kenya, I was committed to continuing so I then began memorizing Philippians and then book three was the Gospel of Matthew….”
It took Davis a year to memorize the Gospel of Matthew. “I will never forget the joy of getting to the Great Commission in Matthew,” he said.
It is essential to the Christian life, Davis said, for believers to have a daily time of prayer and reading God’s Word.
“I believe we should follow Jesus’ example of having it early in the morning,” he said. “… Really no culture makes much of a claim on the individual early in the morning.”
Davis said he desires for Christians to have both a knowledge in depth and in breadth of the Bible. The former is done by memorizing scripture, he said, whereas the latter is a steady intake of scripture.
“There are always dead spots in your day where you don’t have to do any verbal work,” he said. “In those dead spots, I suggest memorizing a few verses a day for 15 minutes a day.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Michael McEwen/Biblical Recorder