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What Was Your “Life Verse”?

proverbs 3 5-6

I grew up in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement. Children were encouraged (conditioned, indoctrinated, and cajoled) to get “saved” at an early age. Many IFB children get saved at least twice: first as a young child and then as a teenager. I professed faith in Jesus at age five, and then I really, really, really got saved at fifteen.

After having a born-again experience, young converts are encouraged to choose a “life verse”; Bible verses that would become lifelong governing principles.

My partner Polly’s life verse was Micah 6:8:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Pretty good advice to live by: justice, mercy, and humility.

My life verse was Proverbs 3:5-6:

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

These words governed much of my Christian life: trust the Lord with all my heart. Don’t trust my own understanding. In all my ways, acknowledge God, and if I do so, he will direct my paths.

Did you have a life verse? Did your chosen verse affect how you lived your life? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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    Matthew 17:20 – He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

    Faith was important to me and using that faith to improve myself and my abominable ways was particularly important. My faith was strong and steadfast. It is what kept me bound to Christianity so long, in spite of the damage it was causing to me. Interestingly, this verse, which I strove to live fully, is also what began my journey out of Christianity.

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    There are several that come to mind, but the verse I seized upon from my earliest Christian days was Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” It resonated with my whole self image as a prodigal son.

    If there was one thing I felt certain of back then, it was my status as a redeemed sinner. Even though I no longer believe that to be objectively true, I still find the concept of grace emotionally powerful.

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    I was delighted to find a framed victorian sampler, beautifully embroidered with ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart’ and hang it on the wall opposite our bed so I could read it every day. The ‘T’ was fancy and curly, small daughter, proud of her prowess at learning to read, asked. ‘Mummy, why does it say Crust in the Lord’ in your bedroom?’ …We removed it to the stairwell soon after that, it had somehow lost it’s magic power over us!

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    Brian Vanderlip

    There is no one verse for me but generally, I prefer the philosophical bent of the Sermon on the Mount. I am, in this seventh decade of my life, particularly enamoured with the entreaty to people to put their human disputes before their obligations at the altar. The speaker says that one ought to set aside their offering to the altar and first go directly to work out the human problem with the (br)other before attending to offerings. I appreciate the pragmatic focus here, that we might better seek peace among ourselves as a firm and true basis for any further ‘obligation’ at an altar. We have not gotten this right yet in the world. Putin in his recent talk with Carlson is giving us a similar advice regarding Ukraine: You have created this conflict against us. We do not want it. Correct your misstep and we will be satisfied. Can the USA stop warring with the global family? Can it turn away from a hundred years of war all over the earth? Is the military-industrial complex capable of departing the altar of war and seeking peace with others? Until the brainwashed flag-wavers realize that they are simply cannon-fodder no matter where they live on the globe, we will continue blindly, the blind killing blindly.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    For me, it was Colossians 3:-23-25: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

    Those verses appealed to me, not only as a Christian witness, but also as a writer/artist and someone who seeks truth and justice. It gave me hope that in living a Christian life and pursuing beauty and truth rather than material gain and people’s approval, there would be some reward, for me and the world.

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    1 Timothy 4:12
    12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

    This was a major Bible verse at the fundamentalist Christian school I attended. However, this verse was important to me as a youth. My family had a distinct pecking order in terms of respect, with children being lowest status and elders attaining highest status. In my family, fir example, babysitting was referred to as “keeping the children” like ine would keep a pet or an object. Kids’ opinions weren’t valued very much, acting like a child was looked down on, and kids’ needs were considered secondary to adults’ needs. Therefore, I learned to act older and express disdain for childhood things. My aunt referred to me as the most grown-up 2-year-old she had ever met. I despised being despised for my youth and had a Bible verse to back me up.

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    Gosh am I allowed here? Us Catholics didn’t have no Bibles of our own, Bibles and bible passages being beyond the understanding of us laity, don’t you see?. The clergy read the (Latin I presume) Bible for us cause we wasn’t smart enough. All we parishioners had were our little prayer books containing as I recall, prayers but no such thing as Bible passages. As a compulsive reader of anything and everything, I began reading Gideon Bibles I found in hotels etc.. A passage from Matthew stuck with me about false prophets. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” To me that was about insincere people in general and phony Bible thumpers specifically. Eventually I saw it as about mendacious deceptive persons in power and judging credibility. It said believe what I saw, not what I heard. This fundamental wisdom echoes in a rule of evidence referring to “fruit of the poisonous tree”, that being information gained by violating Constitutional prohibitions. As examples, evidence gained from torture being inherently unreliable, (waterboarding anyone?), and privacy being so crucial to our system, the Government must be discouraged from violating it at all costs, to the point of forbidding use of even credible evidence obtained by such violations. So, yes The Bible has profound wisdom, but, so does much of literature. Shakespeare being a prime example. Shakespeare is so profound many scholars believe one person could not possibly have written it all in Will Shakespeare’s short life. Wisdom and scripture do not define each other.

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    Very interesting and kind of cool, a “life verse”. Since people are fluid over time and the various roles we play over a lifetime I wonder if it could be changed?
    I remember in confirmation (ELCA) we picked a favorite verse and favorite hymn. The verse eludes me, unlike in a fundie church, it was more like just picking something out after a short search. It wasn’t a long term exploration for the aspirations of your soul. The hymn was “Sing to the Lord a new song”.

    I picked a verse later from the epic Greek poem Prometheus Bound, “In a word, I hate all gods that received good at my hands and requite me wrongfully.” I admit, I got it second hand from of all people Karl Marx. There is also “Sic Volvere Parcas” from the Aeneid, “the fates shall so decree”. The man with no gods gives a slight nod to unpetitionable fate. (If nothing else you get to sleep in on Sunday mornings.)

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Bruce Gerencser