“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”Joshua 1:8
S hortly after trusting Christ in 1987, I came into contact with a man who would be my pastor and my friend. You may or may not know the name Roland Rasmussen, but to me, he was a special man in my life, especially right after my salvation. Dr. Rasmussen was the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church of Canoga Park, CA and the founder and director of Faith Baptist Schools, where I was a student.
One of the things that Dr. Rasmussen challenged me with as a new believer was the importance of reading my Bible each day. This was something that he himself did faithfully for over 70 years. He read the Bible through at least once a year at minimum. In speaking with his son, Tim, he told me that his father read through the Bible at least 100 times in his lifetime. It is a very simple discipline, but one that yielded lasting results. It did not require a lot of time or special tools, just a Bible, a notepad, and pen to record the insights that the Holy Spirit revealed while reading.
Dr. Rasmussen taught me to pray the Scripture before opening the Bible to read it. When I pray before reading God’s Word, I pray the words of Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law. ” One of the things that has continually amazed me as I read the Bible is that I can read a passage and see brand new things that I did not see in years past.
Dr. Rasmussen also challenged me to memorize Scripture. The method that he used was the Navigators Topical System. I immediately started memorizing the verses in that particular plan. This was a great help to me as a new believer. One time when we were discussing Scripture memory, Dr. Rasmussen challenged me that if we ever came to a point of persecution and the Bible was taken away from us, the only Bible we would have at that point would be what we have memorized. His example was a challenge to me because every day without fail, he would read his Bible, work on memory verses, and study his Greek Primer and New Testament.
Thank you, Dr. Rasmussen for challenging me as a young Christian regarding these spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and memorizing Scripture. This is true discipleship at its core.