In 1678 John Bunyan wrote an allegory about a man by the name of Christian. We know the story by the title, "The Pilgrims Progress." The story is about a man who seeks to find the way to the "celestial city," or heaven. On his way he goes through many difficulties, trials and temptations.
At one point he is caught trespassing on a giant's property. The giant's name was Giant Despair and
Speaking of the life of followers of Jesus in the ancient church we read, “The husband and wife talked of them familiarly as they sat by the domestic hearth; and children were accustomed to commit them to memory. As many of the disciples could not read, and as the expense of manuscripts was considerable, copies of the sacred books were not in the hands of all; but there frequent rehearsal in the public assemblies made the multitude familiar with their contents, and some of the brethren possessed an amount of
The Secret of their survival was something hidden where no human eye could see. The year was 1966 and Captain James Ray had just been shot down in his 105 Thunderchief airplane as he was on a bombing raid over the Hanoi-China supply line. Captain Ray had endured Interrogations and torture to the point where he wondered if it would have been better to die in the plane.
Being that it was dangerous to transmit information to the other prisoners, he shared how they were secretly able communicate with each other. In his own words he stated, “One night I lay with my ear pressed against the rough wooden wall of my cell to hear Thump...thumpety thump as somewhere on the wall, cells away, a fellow POW tapped out in Morse code: ‘I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help" (Psalm 121:1). He tapped out his name-Russ Temperly-and passed on the seven other verses in that Psalm, which I scratched on the concrete floor with a piece of broken tile. "My help cometh from the Lord," the Psalm assured us, and with that assurance came His Presence, soothing us, telling us to fear not…’”
You can imagine the comfort it was to hear these words of scripture tapped out that evening. He shared how they were actually able, amongst the soldiers, to store up quite a large number of passages between all of them. Ray wrote, “We pooled the verses we knew and we now had a "consensus Bible", written covertly on bits of paper. It was the only Bible we had.”
Imagine being in the same situation with hardly any Scripture memorized. Now God could get us through with His strength supporting our faith, but how much better would it be to have much of God’s word stored in the heart. The reality is that texts tucked away in the mind are not only a blessing for some far off time of trouble, surely they would be a blessing there, but they are a blessing in all the trials and temptations we go through today.
Captain James Ray noted that his interrogators, “. . .seemed to be afraid for us to keep the Scriptures, as if they sensed the spiritual help kept us from breaking. . . We learned a most important lesson. Bible verses on paper aren't one iota as useful as Scripture burned into your mind and heart where you can draw on them for guidance and comfort.”
Proverbs 2:1 says, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee. . .” Where is only place we can hide the Scriptures so that no one can take them from us? It is in the heart.