Encourage Youngsters

Bible Study - It Stays With You

James E. Farley

I have a little New Testament on my desk in front of me, given to me by my brother Bill Farley. Inside the front cover it reads, “To: Eddie 12 / 13 / 64 (Read Everyday) From: Bill.” This little Bible was given to me forty-five years ago, and I still have this good gift from my oldest brother.

If I am not mistaken, this is the first Bible I ever owned as “mine.” I had, of course, read from other Bibles around our house and at the church house before this time, but this was “my Bible.” I was twelve years old and attended church services with my parents, brothers, and sisters at Boomer, West Virginia. At that time, I was in brother Ray Dolin’s Bible class. Ray was a student at West Virginia Tech and later taught Biology at East Bank High School. He and his wife, Nadine, meant a lot to us during that time, and they are now faithful members and workers with the church of Christ in Madison, West Virginia. Ray was one who encouraged the young people at Boomer to memorize Scripture. The very first passage he had us to memorize was 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I memorized that passage out of this little Bible I still have in front of me today.

There were other passages we were required to memorize in Ray’s Bible class, but, with the exception of John 11:35, I honestly cannot remember the others. However, that 2 Timothy 2:15 passage seemed to stick with me all through my High School years, though I became rather worldly during the last two years of High School and into the next few years after I graduated in 1970. I am glad that this passage stayed in my mind. It would often just seem to “pop up” in my mind unexpectedly. I knew, from this passage I had committed to memory as a child, that I needed to be living a life that would be approved by God, but I was indeed often ashamed that I was not living as I should and that I was not reading the Bible as I should. Memories of this time, along with memories of how I ultimately “awakened from slumber” and submitted to the gospel, remind me of words from the song, “Rescue The Perishing”: Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, Feelings lie buried that grace can restore; Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.”

Early study of the Word of God and encouragement from older folks is vastly important for young people. The Word says, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Again, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.” (Psalm 119:9).

Some young folks, like me, may, indeed, stray from what they know is right - from what they have been taught from the Word of God. However, I am sure that God’s Word planted into a pliable and sincere young heart, can, indeed, ultimately bring forth fruit to God’s glory. (Cf. Isaiah 55:8-11). In my case, it was just one passage - just one memorized verse - that kept coming to my mind, and it took seven years! God’s timetable is not ours.

I thank God that He did give me time enough to “come to myself” (Cf. Luke 15:17) and to submit to His Will as right. I obeyed the gospel while stationed in Germany with the Army in 1971. I know that that one passage Ray Dolin had me to memorize as a twelve year old boy and his persistent encouragement during those awkward, rebellious years had a great deal to do with my obeying God.

Encourage youngsters to study the Word, to memorize Scripture, and to attend services. You may not see fruit from your efforts for several years, but, if you plant the seed and the heart is good, there will be fruit. -1179 Mark Wayne Drive, Louisa, KY 41230. preechfarley@yahoo.com

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