If you haven’t seen The Book of Eli and you plan to, you might not want to read ahead as I’m going to spoil the entire movie. I don’t normally watch movies that contain a lot of violence, and if you don’t either, The Book of Eli might not be for you. But it’s a movie that sticks with me and one I find myself thinking about often. It is set in a post-Apocalyptic landscape where water and books are prized currency. Books were burnt during the war because they gave hope to survivors of the apocalypse. Denzel Washington is a traveler who has been told by a voice to guard The Book of Eli, live by its principles, and get it to safety in the West. There is a ruthless town baron named Carnagie who wants the book as he has heard that it contains great power and can be used as a weapon against the weak. His goons finally get hold of it when they shoot Denzel’s character, but when Carnagie opens the book to read it, it’s all in braille. He can’t access the great power of the book. Denzel is taken to Alcatraz by Mila Kunis’s character, Solara, where there is a printing press. The goal of the press is to preserve the knowledge of the world. Denzel proceeds to speak the entire bible to a transcriber. The Book of Eli was a bible, and whenever he could, Denzel would read and commit what he was reading to memory in preparation for a day when he no longer had the book in his possession. Because of his commitment to the Book, the printers were able to publish a copy of the bible saving it from being forgotten forever. After the bible was completed, Denzel’s character dies, having completed his mission, but Solara leaves Alcatraz to spread all that she had learned from the book and Denzel.
So I’m going to say it right now. There is absolutely no way that I could accomplish what Denzel’s character does in the movie. If the world ended tomorrow and it were up to me to transcribe the bible word for word, I wouldn’t be able to do it. The bible would be lost to the sands of time. Now you might think that Denzel had a singular mission, and if you or I had that mission we’d be able to commit the bible to memory. But why aren’t we reading the bible with the fervency that it would take to memorize it now? Isn’t it the most important thing that most of us own. the key to our salvation, our rule book and direct connection to the ways of God?
In the time before books were mass produced, when a village might have one copy of the Torah or a town one copy of a bible, people memorized what they heard. If you were to pass down God’s words to your children or tell it to others, you couldn’t pull it out of your pocket, you had to rely on what you knew. Back then there were plenty of people who could speak the Word, and it’s a good thing, too, because this spread the message throughout the world.
We are learning memory verses in my home group. This wasn’t my idea, and I have to admit that I’m not always the best a memorizing the verses, but I’ve decided to make a commitment to the bible, and with that a stronger approach when it comes to memorizing scripture. I hope that you will join us. Let the Word find its place in your heart. Here’s your first memory verse:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17