We are currently in the process of developing an updated course of religious education for the Primary School at St Mark’s College. It’s a huge job (all prayers much appreciated) and one that will take at least a couple of years if it is to be done right. Part of the process is to identify and list the most important verses and Bible passages so that a schedule of passages for memorisation can be produced. Rather than putting this together willy nilly, our strategy is to first identify the most important Bible passages and then pare this list down to those that are most crucial. These will be memorised over the 13 years of schooling the students receive at a Coptic School.
If you had to list the most important Bible passages to you, which would you include? Perhaps they would be passages of comfort and hope? Would you put in those that teach basic tenets of the Christian faith, like the divinity of Christ or the means of salvation? Would you include passages that are just poetically beautiful? I have found the process to be surprisingly interesting. Having only completed less than half the job, our list has already gone over the 250 mark. Every one of them is a passage that is probably instantly recognisable to any Christian, yet I had no idea there were so many!
I am beginning to think I might want to print up this list and hang it on my wall. In a way, it is like a gallery that depicts all I believe, and how I want to live my life. Of course, the danger is that this list ends up being just a transcription of the whole Bible, so a degree of discernment must be applied. And that’s the hard part. It isn’t hard to find life-changing passages in the Bible; the hard part is choosing a select few to represent the whole faith.
Anyhow, allow me to share with you some of the more beautiful of the longer passages I have added to the list. I find these inspiring and moving, as profound in their message as they are striking in their expression. My Top Ten Bible Passages:
1. Isaiah 53:3-9
2. Matthew chapters 6-8
3. John chapters 14-17
4. Romans 8:35-39
5. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22
6. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
7. 2 Corinthians 6:4-10
8. Philippians 2:5-8
9. Philippians 4:11-13
10. Hebrews 11:33-40
Perhaps I have leant too heavily on the New Testament and neglected the Old, but it is so hard to choose! Perhaps if I went through this exercise again in a month’s time, the list would be different. If you had to do a personal “Top Ten” list of Bible passages or verses, which would they be? Feel free to share your own particular favourites.