Wednesday
Jun132012

From Where I Stand: Bookmarked Verses

The friendly folks at YouVersion, maker of Internet and mobile Bible applications, recently released a list of the “Top 10 Bookmarked Verses” across their vast user community.

As readers peruse the pages of the sacred text, they are able to highlight and bookmark favorite passages just as readers of the printed page can do with ink and ribbons.

YouVersion’s list held no real surprises, except that venerable favorite John 3:16 somehow managed to miss the cut.

 

10. First Corinthians 13:4: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” The first seven-and-a-half verses of First Corinthians chapter thirteen are always well-regarded, forming the foundation of what is known as the “Love Chapter.” While often applied to marriage, the context is broader, especially touching on relationships and personalities within local congregations, where ambition and pride can interrupt fellowship and fidelity. 

9. Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Jesus was concluding his comments about trust and anxiety when he reminded his audience to prioritize kingdom matters above physical needs, understanding that God will satisfy the latter sufficiently that believers need not worry. In an age of hypertension and doubt, that is always a welcome reminder.

8. Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” It is a verse that is often misunderstood, but one that asserts divine benevolence, especially upon the faithful. Our good is not defined by material prosperity or ease, but by whatever it takes to promote deeper fellowship, spiritual growth, and eternal life.

7. Proverbs 3:6: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” The wisdom literature of the Old Testament makes its first appearance in the top ten with an admonition to orient one’s life toward spiritual matters so that divine direction can be possible. When we pray for God to guide, guard, and direct us, it should be with the personal application of this verse in mind – an acknowledgement of God must become synonymous with submission to him and his will.

6. Philippians 4:7: “ And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The era of world wars and the threat of nuclear conflagration seem to have waned, but a sense of insecurity continues to envelope mankind because God has been evicted from so many corners of public life. The incomprehensible peace of God guards the hearts and minds of the faithful, but only when they learn the secrets of contentment, thanksgiving, and hope.

5. Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” No passage of Scripture contains greater encouragement than Paul’s boast that he could accomplish anything so long as the savior empowered him. It is another verse that can be extended too far by snatching it out of its context – we hear athletes predicting championships at times based upon it – but Paul had in mind much higher goals as he sought Heaven.

4. Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Peer pressure is not just for kids anymore, not that it ever was. More than ever, Christians are required to resist the ways of this world to remain faithful, choosing the rarity of transformation over the expectation of conformity. Without a commitment to peculiarity, however, faith is quickly diluted and eventually destroyed.

3. Jeremiah 29:11: “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” The reader should not overlook the fact that this promise was spoken by God to Judah as she entered Babylonian captivity hundreds of years before Christ. Still, it reflects the Lord’s lovingkindness toward us, even when his commands challenge us or his words rebuke us.

2. Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” We are tempted to trust in God’s wisdom only as long as it overlaps with our own. Where it seems worldly wisdom or personal preference conflict with God’s will, we are apt to overthrow the divine and apply the profane. Trusting in God wholeheartedly means submitting to his wisdom especially when certain costs are attached and the promised reward is distant.

1. Philippians 4:6: “[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” The fourth chapter of the Philippian letter is unparalleled in popularity, at least among digital bookmarkers. Instead of trying to medicate anxiety away, the inspired writer suggests a combination of prayer and thanksgiving, old-fashioned blessing-counting and gratitude. So few of our anxieties surround the spiritual, but are rooted in perishable objects and other things that expire with use. Casting all our burdens on the Lord is a surer way to apprehend freedom from crippling anxiety.

 

Although it is far from scientific, YouVersion’s Top 10 does serve to tell us a little bit about what Bible readers are thinking. More than anything, there is a quest for courage in a culture of doubt, depression, and doom. Reminders of God’s patience and strength are helpful, but only when combined with personal commitment and action.