Introduction to Biblical Literature

Bible memory passages

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" -- Psalm 119:11

Four biblical passages must be memorized as part of the course titled Introduction to Biblical Literature. For your convenience, here is the wording of those passages as you should memorize it. These are from the New International Version.

The word count is given so that you can better check to see if you have left anything out in writing a passage down from memory."

The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20

Also called the Decalogue or "ten words"

Drawing of two stone tablets with the
words Take two tablets written underneath

160 words

3 You shall have no other gods before me.
4 You shall not make for yourself an idol.
7 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.
8 Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
12 Honor your father and your mother.
13 You shall not murder.
14 You shall not commit adultery.
15 You shall not steal.
16 You shall not give false testimony.
17 You shall not covet.

Devotional thoughts on the Ten Commandments


Psalm 23

117 words

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12

141 words

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Philippians 2:5-11

(117 words)

     5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
     8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross!
     9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Bible text from the New International Version, copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. All rights reserved.

What does "verbatim" mean?

Several times in class, Professor Jon Middendorf had reviewed the Introduction to Biblical Literature syllabus section about memorizing some specific biblical passages. The text of those three passages was supplied on a sheet in the syllabus. Showing students that sheet, Prof. Middendorf told students to memorize exactly the text on that page, just as it was presented to them, verbatim from the Bible.

Later, a student -- upon receiving her graded memory quiz back and seeing that she had not scored well -- commented to him, "Man, your definition of verbatim is too strict."

"Take two tablets" graphic is from a poster by Church Ad Project

Why are the Old Testament books in the order in which they appear in Bibles today?

Click hereWhy aren't the Old Testament books in chronological order? Why do they appear in the order that we have them? [ more ]

     -- Howard Culbertson


Introduction to Biblical Literature resources:   Course home page     Bible at a glance     Weekly reports    Weekly asignment grading criteria     Canaan's strategic location     Cliff's Notes: The Bible in 50 words     15 key Bible chapters    How to study the Bible    Text of 10 Commandments     Questions answered by the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)    Bible humor, jokes and trivia     Exam study guides

10/40 Window explanation and map     Seeking God's will?    African martyr's commitment     Sign the pledge    Mission trip fundraising    Ten ways to ruin mission trips