Of things I prized in my Bible college years, nothing matched the volume of raw text Mr. J. Andrew Freeborn had us ingest. Coaxing everyone to scripture memorization. Unforgettable.

The Romans course found every student rehearsing countless times Chapters Eight and Twelve. Their combined verses came to sixty. While for some sixty verses could seem a modest number, for youth whose minds ‘til now had snared only a handful of memorized passages, the challenge was daunting.

And when it came to the Ephesians course. It was another thing yet.

“Alright ladies and gentlemen”, Mr. Freeborn had raised his voice against the stirring of papers and shuffling of classroom furniture as we took our seats.

“Today we move into Ephesians, a letter Paul wrote from captivity, within a prison cell. It’s broken into six full chapters. I am here to make a pledge today, a promise to each and any of you taking this course.” Pausing, he scanned the room, waiting until all eyes turned his way.

“Memorize the book and here is my pledge. Commit to memory its body of text and you will be graded an ‘A’ for the entire course. You’ll gain your ‘A’”, he emphasized, “regardless how you perform on exams or how your assignments turn out.

“So I challenge you, I welcome you. Commit to memory all this book, reciting it to me at the end of this semester. You will have your perfect mark for the course.” He paused. “Agreed?”

Heads nodded.

Several students gave the challenge their best, myself among them. A hundred fifty-five verses numbering three thousand twenty-two words. Although a few came close, none of us hit our instructor’s mark. But the exercise carried its own reward. Mr. Freeborn knew it would – rich beyond our imaginations. Ephesians captivated us – endeared itself to us.

In the end several of us actually did earn an ‘A’. . . devoting to the enterprise many late nights. . . and gallons of black coffee.
©2017 Jerry Lout



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