Application trumps memorization; Be doers of the word and not just hearers

James 1:22 – But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

I grew up attending AWANA; which if you’re not familiar with it, it’s a K-12 program that meets out of churches that helps provide a place for kids to have fun by way of playing games, singing songs and other things.
The main aspect of the AWANA program is that it focuses on memorization of Bible verses. I started when I was 5 and I stayed with it till I was 16 or 17, I won’t go into my falling out with the AWANA program, but in my earlier years I loved it; the games, the memorizing of Bible verses, the leaders were phenomenal in aiding to my spiritual development. On a side note, I’m glad to have helped foster the spiritual development in the context of youth ministry to one of my former leader’s sons, it’s definitely a God moment that in some degree a full circle has been completed. Thank you former Sparks leaders, you know who you are πŸ˜‰

If I had the power to restructure the AWANA program, I would add to what they have to offer the application side of what was learned by memorization. Do I think it’s important to memorize Bible verses? Absolutely, but memorization needs to be paired with application. The verse I posted in James does point to taking what is learned (heard is mentioned, but that ties into their oral tradition culture) and practiced out, but you also have this repeated quite often in the chapter some Christians refer to as “The Love Chapter” (1 Corinthians 13).

The phrase within 1 Corinthians 13 that gets repeated is “If I have no love” which to me it sticks out. In that time and age I’m sure love was thought to be something that came from the heart and thoughts and learning came from the mind, so to reduce the Gospel message as something that is simply thought or learned about, to use the mind and not be in touch with the love that comes out of it via the heart…Well, the author says when he doesn’t love:
– he’s a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal
– he is nothing
– he gains nothing
Similarly for us who are followers of Christ, if we err on the side of memorization only we lack in love, and when love isn’t acted out in a tangible love…is it really love?

I implore you dare reader who is a follower of Christ to question yourself in what you’ve read in the Bible, in particularly what’s attributed to what Jesus said as well as did, do you take what you’ve read and learned and take it to those who need it? Are you in need of transitioning from being simply a hearer to a doer?

Something to chew on…

~Nathanael~

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2 thoughts on “Application trumps memorization; Be doers of the word and not just hearers

  1. I don’t know what your experience was in your church’s Awana program, Nathanael, but I think you missed the point of Awana. Here’s a little information to fill in the gaps. πŸ™‚

    The program is run as a complete 2-18 ministry, with life threads that teach students to know, love and SERVE Jesus Christ (expressed literally in their vision statement. πŸ™‚ The life threads are as follows (SERVE is emphasized in all the age groups, but is expressly worked into the curriculum during the high school program).

    Preschool: Respect for God
    Younger Elementary: Wisdom
    Older Elementary: The Grace of God
    Jr. High: Destiny
    Highschool: Perspective

    The purpose to move the students from KNOWING God to LOVING God to SERVING God. πŸ™‚ Awana is and has been about action. (See 2 Timothy 3:15-17:

    …”and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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.”

    and 2 Timothy 2:15 (the ol’ theme verse):

    “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”)

    It’s in over 25,000 churches in over 100 countries reaching over 1 million kids (and their families!) with the Gospel, and works to serve churches with outreach, evangelism and discipleship curriculum and opportunities. πŸ™‚

    I’m sorry your experience in your church wasn’t a positive one, but be careful you aren’t throwing all the apples out because of a couple worms. Every church, every believer, every organization has ’em! πŸ™‚ I appreciate your reminder of James 1:22!

    Later gator!

    • Thanks for your feedback.

      I am not throwing out all the apples, but my experience with AWANA has led me to keep an open eye out for abuse within the church, physical/spiritual/mental/etc.

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