—By Maria 4/86 Maria Letter #45 DO 2195
1. WHEN OUR SMALL CHILDREN ARE LEARNING VERSES & WE WANT TO SIMPLIFY THE VERSE, WE USUALLY CUT IT DOWN IN LENGTH. When we do this we're virtually editing the Scriptures & we have to be very careful & prayerful to retain the correct meaning. I think that generally it's better to use either the first part of the verse or the last part of the verse, whichever is the most important part, instead of condensing the entire verse by leaving a word out here & a phrase out there. Because when the children get older & want to learn the entire verse‚ if they've learned the first part of the verse they can easily add on the last part, or if they've learned the last part they can easily add on the first part. It's just like learning an additional verse.
2. IF, HOWEVER, WHEN THEY'RE SMALL CHILDREN, YOU CUT DOWN A LONG VERSE BY LEAVING OUT A HUNK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE VERSE, & another word or two here & there, when they're older & want to learn the entire verse‚ it's going to be difficult & much more confusing to have to relearn the verse by adding words in here & there.
3. IN THESE VERSES WITH LISTS OF WORDS LIKE "LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE", if you leave some of those out‚ you're not only making it more difficult to learn the entire series later, but you're leaving an important part of the verse out, some of the fruits of the Spirit. If you only give part of them, the thought is incomplete. If you're going to give the fruits of the Spirit, you should give all the fruits of the Spirit, all the ones that are mentioned there. It's a part of a whole & it's incomplete if you don't give it all. (Gal.5:22,23)
4. IN MATTHEW 19:29, YOU HAD THE IDEA TO LEAVE OUT SOME OF THE WORDS IN THE SERIES IN ORDER TO SHORTEN IT FOR CHILDREN, & you probably chose to delete "wife" & "children" because children don't have to forsake a wife or a child. But on the other hand‚ don't they need to know that their parents sometimes have to forsake them? And if they quote it in their witnessing perhaps the part the person needs most to hear may be left out. So it's important to include the whole series, not just for the purpose of not confusing the children when they grow up by necessitating the insertion of words, but also in order to retain the complete meaning.
5. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF WE'RE HAVING TO SHORTEN A VERSE FOR THE PURPOSE OF SIMPLIFYING IT FOR CHILDREN OR EVEN FOR EASIER MEMORISING BY ADULTS, I'm all for deleting words that aren't necessary to the verse or substituting an easier word that can be better understood. For example, we can delete "For all have sinned", "But the wages of sin is death". Because "for" or "but" or whatever the introductory word is‚ often refers to the verse before it. And if you're not memorizing the verse before it, it's not necessary, you don't need it, in fact, it doesn't even make sense without the preceding verse.
6. YOU CAN ALSO SUBSTITUTE A SIMPLER WORD FOR A MORE DIFFICULT ONE THAT MEANS THE SAME THING. Instead of "Whosoever believeth on Me"‚ you can very well use our more common word today, "Whoever believes on Me". You could also change "upon" to "on". In other cases you can feel free to use a more common word or a more correct one according to our current usage, like changing "He that forsaketh not all that he hath", to "He who forsakes not all that he has". The word "that" usually refers back to things, "a box that was on the table"‚ but we would more often say "a person who was on the table." In the King James version they usually use "that" for people, but according to the grammar that most of us have been taught, it should be "who". So you would not discredit anyone for saying "He who forsakes".
7. SO IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU QUOTE ALL THESE WORDS EXACTLY ACCURATE ACCORDING TO THE KING JAMES VERSION, IF THEY MEAN THE SAME THING!—We long ago changed "Charity suffereth long & is kind" to "Love suffers long" because we understand its real meaning better if we use the word "love". We shouldn't really criticise too harshly other translations for changing words if they mean the same as the original, because we do the same thing‚ in order to make it easier for the children & our many adults whose native language is not English.
8. THAT'S WHAT THE OTHER TRANSLATIONS HAVE ENDEAVOURED TO DO: THEY'VE TRIED TO BRING IT DOWN TO THE LEVEL OF SIMPLE PEOPLE. Of course, some of the simplifiers have been ungodly people who have polluted & contaminated the Word. But some have been done by people who have been good, Godly people with a desire to get people to read the Bible more. Not all are people who have intentionally misinterpreted the Scriptures to promote doubts in the Truth of the Word. There are a lot of good translations that have been done by people who had a real desire to help people understand the Bible.
9. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE IN THIS CHILDREN'S EDITION OF THE MEM ORY BOOK (SEE FSM 37). These are difficult verses with difficult wording, & I don't see why we always have to stick to the exact words in the verses. When you're quoting in witnessing, if you don't remember the verses exactly, you just paraphrase them, right?— And they mean the same & they're just as good. Sometimes when you're praying you really want to get the exact words of the promise to lay before the Lord. But if you can't, you can still pray & claim the promise even if you don't have the exact words & it's just as good to the Lord‚ because He knows what you're trying to say & the point you're trying to remember!
10. SO I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TO BE TOO MUCH OF A STICKLER FOR HAVING THE EXACT WORDS ALL THE TIME, just so we get the gist of it & the general point of it. It's good if we can clarify some of these or simplify them. If it helps to learn them by cutting them down or clarifying the word or even leaving out a word, if they'll learn them that way but they wouldn't learn them the other way, it's much better that they learn something than that they don't learn anything!
11. DON'T WORRY IF YOU DON'T REMEMBER IF IT'S "UPON" OR "ON"! You say, "Oh oh‚ what is it?—'On' or 'upon'?"—And you go over it & over it! "'Upon', 'upon', I can't get that‚ I don't remember that. I always say 'on' & that's the wrong word, so I have to keep going over it to make sure I get 'upon'!" If you're going to spend a lot of time memorising verses getting them just right & have the attitude that you haven't learned the verse until you can quote every word exactly right without one mistake, then you're going to spend lots more time than you need to! If you get a few words of the verse wrong or change the words a little bit, it's not going to hurt anything. For example‚ you can say, "Let your light shine before men" instead of "Let your light so shine before men"—who cares? Anyway, that's not even the way we speak today: We say, "Let your light shine before men!"
12. SO WE DON'T HAVE TO GO ENTIRELY BY THIS OLD-TIMEY LANGUAGE! Where practical & easy we can do it, because we don't want to completely change it, & like Dad says, it's a beautiful language & it's well put. But if the children can't say, "A true witness delivereth souls" they can just say, "A true witness delivers souls"; if we change all the "eth's" to "s's"—who cares?—If it makes more sense to them & they get it better! "Labour for that which endureth"—if you want to say "endures", fine, it's our language today. But "eth" is not part of our current usage, so they're bound to have a harder time learning it. Mary Dear doesn't understand that "endures" means the same as "endureth". She doesn't know that every time she says "endures" she could say "endureth", or every time she says "endureth" she could say "endures"‚ because she just looks at it as a different word.
13. WITH "COMMIT THOU TO FAITHFUL MEN", YOU COULD JUST AS EASILY SAY "COMMIT TO FAITHFUL MEN"! There are lots & lots of words in these verses which you don't have to say. (Sara: I remember that was real hard for me in Sunday School. I couldn't understand what the verse meant just because it had a "thou" or an "eth" in there.)—Yes, because to the children "thou" is a different word. They can't automatically translate it to the common "you" like the adults can who are used to the English & understand it's just an older form of the same. 14. ANOTHER THING, WHERE YOU HAVE A SERIES THAT SAYS, "LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, & WITH ALL THY SOUL, & WITH ALL THY MIND", if you want to say, "with all thy heart, all thy soul, all thy mind", who is going to mind if you leave out some of the "ands" & "withs"! The "buts" are important though‚ so you just have to know when words are important & when they're not. But if you're an adult & you're familiar with English, you can usually tell if it's important or not.
15. IN OUR PRESENT LANGUAGE INSTEAD OF SAYING "THY WORD HAVE I HID IN MINE HEART"‚ you can more easily say "my heart". Here's another verse whose meaning is made more clear by substituting one word for another: "Surely the Lord God will do nothing but He revealeth His secret." We normally use "but" in a different way in English. "But" in this verse means "unless", "unless He revealeth His secret" makes it clear.
16. "BE YE TRANSFORMED"—you can omit "ye", just say "be transformed". You don't have to say "Be ye kind"‚ just say "be kind". "Despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty"—all you have to say is, "Despise not the chastening of the Almighty." Not only is it simpler & shorter for children, but even for the adults!
17. IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE LEARNING A LOT OF VERSES, IF WE MAKE SOME OF THESE SIMPLI- FICATIONS YOU WON'T HAVE TO SPEND SO MUCH TIME GOING OVER & OVER THEM, because the time that it takes us to memorise is mostly spent in getting all these prepositions or
adverbs right, it's usually not the main big words. You're trying to get all the "thee's" & "thou's" & all those little words in there correctly, & that takes a lot of time!
18. HERE'S A CASE WHERE TO PUT IN A WORD HELPS: In John 15:16 it says, "That whatever ye shall ask of the Father in My name He may give it you", & we would more naturally & comfortably say, "give it to you". So that's an example where I put in a word‚ "give it to you", but in most verses you would take out a word or substitute a word for clarification & simplification.
19. 1COR.10:10 SAYS‚ "WERE DESTROYED OF THE DESTROYER." In common usage we would say, "by the Destroyer". So it doesn't really matter how you remember it when you have to quote it: Either way is fine. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution".—We almost always use the word "will" to indicate the future, but "will" isn't a future word here, it simply means,
"All that (or who) do live godly". In other words, it's not actually a future thing, so to take out the word "will" makes the meaning more clear to us: "All that (or who) live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
20. ACTS 4:12 SAYS, "NONE OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN WHEREBY WE MUST BE SAVED." "None" is the same as "no"‚ so we can say, "No other name"—which is more the way we usually speak—"under Heaven whereby we must be saved." Also, "under Heaven" is not necessary to the basic meaning of the verse, because whether it's under Heaven or above Heaven or wherever it is, it's still Jesus, so to shorten the verse for children we can remove it, or if you adults forget it when quoting, don't worry!
21. WE CAN ALSO CHANGE, "ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVED US." Since the little
children wouldn't understand "according to", you can just substitute an easier word, "but by His mercy He saved us". (Titus 3:5)
22. WHY DO WE HAVE TO ALWAYS QUOTE IT EXACTLY WORD-FOR-WORD? Well, for one reason we want to learn it as correctly as we can‚ so when we do forget a word here & there & have to virtually paraphrase it, we don't give the wrong meaning! You need to learn the basic words, the essential words, so you can remember the basic meaning of it.—So you don't go off paraphrasing something in your own words that maybe doesn't even mean the same as the original! So basically you should learn it well, but if you miss a little word here or there or substitute one that means the same, then there's nothing wrong with that. Besides, there are so many different versions nowadays that nobody knows what the "correct" wording of the verse is anyway! Whoever you're quoting it to‚ if they aren't other members of the Family, they're not going to know the difference!
23. THAT'S ANOTHER POINT, THAT MOSTLY WE DO NOT QUOTE THESE VERSES TO EACH OTHER. You're not usually going around the house quoting verses to everybody, they can get their own verses & look up their own. So that's not what we so much use our memory work for, for the Family. But where we do use the verses is mostly for witnessing to outsiders, & they're not going to know whether we quote one word or two words wrong or not! If we get the essential meaning of it, that's all that's necessary.
24. MAYBE IT'S BETTER THAT WE DO QUOTE IT TO THEM IN MORE COMMON WORDING‚ BECAUSE OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT NOT EVEN KNOW WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT!—Especially if you're not in England or Canada or the U.S. or Australia & you start trying to speak some of this Bible language just to show you know the exact words of the Bible, "Look at me, I'm so proud, I memorised every word!" But what good is it going to do them if they don't understand what you're talking about? So in some ways it's even better to try to paraphrase it for them in words they can understand, just like you would take the Bible for a little child & you'd paraphrase it instead of expecting them to understand the Biblical language & the big words of the Bible.
25. SO OUR GREATEST USE OF THESE VERSES IS GOING TO BE IN WITNESSING TO THE PUBLIC! Of course, the Lord brings the verses to our memory for our own counsel & encouragement & we also encourage Family members with them‚ but the major use is really in witnessing to outsiders.
26. NOW, TELL ME WHY WE HAVE TO LEARN REFERENCES! What about using references with the public, with outsiders? Usually during your witnessing you quote verses to them‚ right?—And Dad has said it's good to open your Bible & show them what you're quoting. Well,mostofthe times that you're actually opening your Bible to show them a verse are when you give them Salvation verses, in order to lead them to the Lord, or verses on the Holy Spirit in order to get them to pray for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, maybe some on the Endtime.—Unless they're Catacombers or somebody that's really getting close to the Family that you're going to teach classes to, & then we usually have lists of verses that we can look up in our Bible & show them when they come & we want to sit down & give them a class. For Bible classes like this we usually do not have all the references memorised, instead we have a written out list to use.
27. BUT WHEN YOU'RE ON THE STREETS OR IN A CLUB OR AN OFFICE OR A TAXI OR RESTAURANT OR WHEREVER & trying to incorporate a witness into the conversation, it's not always practical or appropriate to pull out your Bible & show them every verse you quote & say, "Look, it's right here!" You expect that if they're receptive enough to listen to you, that they're going to have the confidence in you that if you say you're quoting the Bible then you really are & that they're not going to have to have you open the Bible & show them, "Look it's right here, it's really in the Bible, so what I'm telling you is really true!"
28. IF YOU ONLY HAVE TIME OR OPPORTUNITY FOR A LIGHT CONVERSATION, YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO PULL OUT YOUR BIBLE. And if you've gotten so far that you're really having a deep lengthy conversation with them‚ they're going to have confidence in you & they're going to feel that you're honest in what you're telling them & they're not going to say, "Oh‚ she's just making something up!"
29. SO YOU USUALLY DON'T NEED TO USE THE REFERENCES WITH OUTSIDERS SO MUCH, except perhaps in Salvation, which is the main step, & a very important step for people & the thing that the Enemy fights them on the most. So, as Dad has said, it's good to show them the verses right there in the Bible & let them read it for themselves.—And even when they're receiving the Holy Spirit, because it's such a big step & they really need to know that "This is the Word of God & it's right here" & they need to look at it & concentrate on it if possible. "This is what God's Word says! It's not me at all, it's right here!" Those Salvation & Holy Spirit verses are few enough that we can all learn the references easily. But how many of the 453 verses in our Memory Book do we have to learn the references to?—References that are not in any kind of logical order.
30. I WOULD RATHER PEOPLE WOULD LEARN THE VERSES & FORGET THE REFERENCES THAN TO SPEND COUNTLESS HOURS TRYING TO MEMORISE THE REFERENCES! In fact‚ in the long run, they probably take more time trying to memorise the reference than they even do the verse! The reference is an isolated entity, you often can't relate it to anything. In memory work they always tell you the best way to memorise is to relate one thing to another. You've got to have some association between things to memorise them well. The words of the actual verses are associated in a logical sequence, they have a logical order & everything makes sense, it's not just a bunch of isolated words that don't have any meaning or association, like the isolated references. So that's why an entire verse is probably a lot easier to retain, in spite of its many words, than the reference is.
31. I DON'T SAY IT'S EASIER TO MEMORISE, I SAY IT'S EASIER TO REMEMBER, because of course you can memorise the reference more quickly than you can the verse. But in overall memory, really remembering it, you're probably going to have to spend more
time on the reference. Six months from now you probably are going to remember the verse, but not the reference. Therefore you would have to spend a lot more time on the reference if you're going to be able to remember it at the end of six months. So actually it may take longer to remember the reference, to really memorise it so that you remember it, than it does the verse!
32. OF COURSE YOU FEEL BETTER WHEN YOU KNOW WHERE THE VERSE IS. You feel like, "Well now I could go right to it if I need it."—And if you need it & you haven't learned the reference, that's frustrating. But how often are you going to really need it? In our Family we always have some people around who have memorised the reference‚ so we can ask them!—Or you can look it up in a Concordance or somewhere. But how much do you have to look it up if you're on the field & you're witnessing? Even in the future, if we no longer have our Bibles, what good are the references going to be? You won't be able to look them up anyway!
33. SO FOR NEW DISCIPLES THAT ARE COMING UP NOW & having to learn these verses & references, & even the ones who have learned them before but are probably having to almost start from scratch again on the references to learn them all over again, it just seems to me that it's a pretty big waste of time for what you actually get out of it, for the good it actually is going to be.
34. I JUST THINK IT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAT YOU KNOW THE VERSE! What good is the reference going to do? If you quote someone a verse, they don't really care whether you have the reference or not!
35. SO I WOULD SAY THAT IF HAVING TO LEARN THE REFERENCES IS GOING TO DISCOURAGE YOU FROM LEARNING THE VERSES, THEN IT'S BETTER TO FORGET THE REFERENCES, unless maybe you want to remember the Book that it's in. The people that are real whizzes & have no problem memorising, they could learn the whole reference. And the people that can't spend so much time, they could learn the chapter. Then it's fairly easy to find the verse if you should need to.
36. OF COURSE IF YOU'RE NOT GOOD AT ALL IN MEMORY & YOU JUST WANT TO GET THESE VERSES DOWN & want to be able to use the verses in witnessing, don't learn the references at all, or just learn the Book! However, just learning the Book isn't going to do you too much good, because it would take you a long time to go through the whole Book to find the verse.
37. THINK OF THE NEW DISCIPLES HAVING TO LEARN ALL THESE THINGS, ALL THESE REFERENCES & ALL THESE VERSES IN BIBLICAL LANGUAGE.— Not only isolated references, but verses in Biblical language that they don't even understand & aren't familiar with. Now we who've been in the Family & who've been Christians for years, it's much easier. Even if we haven't memorised these verses before, we've heard them over & over‚ so that when we go to actually sit down & really memorise them, we've got that remembrance of phrases & words & it comes a lot easier.
38. BUT TO THESE POOR NEW DISCIPLES THAT HAVE NEVER EVEN READ THE BIBLE, NEVER BEEN TO CHURCH, NEVER HAD ANY BIBLE‚ THIS KING JAMES IS DIFFICULT LANGUAGE! They're difficult verses & they're lengthy, & it must look like a monumental job to them to even start memorising! It's bad enough for us‚ but at least we've heard them over & over & over & over for years! We've read almost all these verses & heard them quoted, so that makes it a lot easier.
39. HOWEVER, I DON'T KNOW IF BEING AROUND A LONG TIME MAKES IT EASIER FOR US TO MEMORIZE THE REFERENCES except that often we remember they're either in the Old Testament or the New Testament‚ or even sometimes in a certain Book, or maybe even a certain chapter that's very familiar, like Matthew 24.
40. BUT WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THE NEW DISCIPLES THAT ARE JUST NOW COMING INTO THE FAMILY & not be self-righteous with the attitude, "It's easy to learn the verses & we still remember them from a long time ago & even the references." Now maybe it is easy for some of the people that have been in the Family for a long time, but these poor new disciples coming in, not only do they have all these verses & references to learn but they've got years worth of Letters to read too & they've got so much to absorb! Learning & retaining these verses is very important for them‚ not only in their outreach & in their witnessing, but for their own edification. So to require them to also learn these references is going to look like a monumental job to them!
41. I SYMPATHISE WITH THESE PEOPLE LEARNING THESE REFERENCES! When I started thinking about memorising the verses in the Memory Book a few months ago‚ I said, "No way am I going to memorise the references! I cannot memorise the references, it's going to slow me down! I'll get discouraged after the first three verses & I'll quit!" So I said, "I'm not going to memorise the references, I'm not even going to look at them!"—Well, I might look at them & whatever sinks in when I look at them once, okay!—"But I'm just going to memorise the verses!"
42. THAT WAY IT'S GREAT! IT JUST GOES GREAT‚ YOU GO SO FAST! You don't have to worry about all these difficult references that are so hodge-podge & mumbo-jumbo! Our children & new disciples hardly even know the Books, what the abbreviation "Pe." means, what "Pro." or "Jn." means. But even the people that have learned the references, how long do they remember them? You usually remember the oft-repeated John 3:16 & Romans 8:28, but most of the references that you don't use in witnessing about Salvation over & over, you forget unless you constantly use them & constantly review—which takes an awful long time & we've got more important things to do!
43. SOMEBODY SAID, "I'M MEMORISING! I'M SPENDING AN HOUR OR TWO ON MY MEMORY WORK EVERY DAY!" I said, "Great! But how do you have time for all the other things you need to do, like reading the old Letters & studying the new Letters?" We do not have time to spend an hour or two on Memory every day, plus read our new Letters & review our old Letters & carry out all our outreach duties on top of that! All these poor people on the field with all these ministries, how do they have time? I said to these people who were so self-righteously saying, "I'm spending all this time on my memory," I said, "Well, when are you reading the Letters you really need to help you in your spiritual life?
44. "IT'S GREAT TO MEMORISE, BUT IS THAT REALLY THE MOST IMPORTANT THING?"—Because there are quite a few other things that are important, & some of these people who are such memory experts have all kinds of big spiritual problems. I said to one of them, "I don't think memorising your Memory Book is helping you with your problems! You ought to forget the Memory work & get to reading some of these old Letters & the new Letters & the things that are going to help you solve your problems!" You just can't do everything, & the people that are memorising up a storm shouldn't be so self-righteous‚ because they're probably neglecting things that are even more important than Memory!
45. I THINK WE OUGHT TO MEMORISE & I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT, I think it's great to memorise, but I'm just trying to make it as easy as possible for people, including myself, for whom I always try to make things easy! I shouldn't say I can't, I could memorise the references, but it would be a terrible fight & it would slow me way down, & what good would they be? How would I use them, except once in a blue moon? I don't think they're that important that we have to slow ourselves down & discourage ourselves too. These poor people must get terribly discouraged trying to learn these references!
46. I'M CERTAIN THAT IT'S MORE THE REFERENCES THAT DISCOURAGE PEOPLE THAN THE VERSES! But they think the two are equally important & they think if they can't memorise the reference, even if they memorise the verse, then they might as well give up because they didn't get half of it, the reference!—Which is false‚ it's not true at all!
47. DAD REMEMBERS ABOUT A COUPLE DOZEN REFERENCES AT THE MOST! But what does he need references for?—And he doesn't even remember very many of the verses word–for- word, he paraphrases them. But I don't see that that's hurt him in the least! I don't remember very many more myself! Of course I've been reviewing & doing the Memory Book, or I did for a few weeks a couple of months ago. I memorised quite a few of the verses, or I should say I re-memorised them, because at one time or another I had memorised them. But if I had had to learn the references, I don't think I would have even started memorising the verses! I guess I'm one of those people that doesn't have much get-up-and-go or perseverance or whatever, but I guess that means that then I understand what a lot of other people are like‚ & when I encounter problems or difficulties, then I see what they need too! (Ha!—She's a hard wkr!—D.)
48. (SARA: THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT, BECAUSE LOOK AT POOR MARY DEAR OR THE BABIES BEING BORN RIGHT NOW‚ they probably only have a few years to go until Jesus comes back, & look how much Word they're going to have to absorb.) And yet we spend so much time trying to drill the references into them! (Sara: Oh, I've really done that with the kids, I've really drilled them & spent so much time each day on it!)
49. IN A WAY IT'S HARD FOR ME TO BREAK AWAY FROM OUR OLD ESTABLISHED POLICY OF REQUIRING EVERYONE TO LEARN REFERENCES, IT'S EVEN DIFFICULT FOR ME TO SUGGEST IT! Basically I am a perfectionist & basically I want to do everything correctly & accurately & perfectly, & I know that that's the ideal way & I know I should do it that way & I know I'd rather do it that way. So I fight suggesting this really, but I know this is the most practical way & the best way & the way that we're going to learn more verses faster! All the time we spend repeating, "Titus 3:5‚ Titus 3:5, Titus 3:5", that doesn't do anything for us!—Except maybe eventually we'll learn it & then for sure we'll forget it & we'll have to keep reviewing it, much more than we have to keep reviewing the verse! (AMEN! GBY!—D.)