Twenty-three thousand, one hundred and forty-five.
That’s the number of verses the bible contains.
Many of these have touched my life in unforgettable ways. But some of them have left more enduring impact solely because they have affected my mindset and helped me to model my life along certain paths.
Here are my top seven picks.
#1. Romans 12: 11
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord
I was only a teenager when I stumbled on this verse of scripture. And it immediately became a life formula.
It was these words that gave me a sense of priority of what the most important things are for me as a Christian.
First, whatever thing that was my business – studying, trading, white-collar job, or blue-collar work – must be taken seriously. Slothfulness, lack of commitment, zeal or diligence is not allowed.
Alongside this is the charge to maintain spiritual fervency while serving the Lord at the same time. What this tells me is that while I work for God I must also ensure I am walking with God.
Being fervent in spirit is all about keeping the fire. It has to do more with my closet. It is all about the Christian basics of spending time with God, praying and reading His word.
Serving the Lord, on the other hand, is all about our service to men in the name of the Lord. It is been spent meeting people’s spiritual needs and otherwise on God’s behalf.
All three must go hand in hand. No excuses. No lagging behind in any area.
It demands wisdom and being deliberate. But the starting point is to cultivate the mindset.
#2. 2 Timothy 2:15
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth
This bible verse showed me three reasons why I should always make time out to study God’s word.
To start with, I realized that it was possible to wrongly divide the word of truth. That’s right. But I didn’t want to be one who would wrongly divide the word. I wanted to be able to rightly divide the word of truth every time I handled it.
That has driven me to a life of commitment to bible study.
I also noticed that not studying the word of God would only make me a workman who will often be ashamed. Putting this together is simple. Even as a student, if you don’t study your books, there’d be some lack of confidence in and around you. You’d be scared of engaging in any serious academic discourse because you have little (if any) in your tank to draw from.
Of course, I didn’t want to be such a believer let alone a workman!
To cap it all, the way to present oneself to God as someone capable; someone God can approve for use is to be an insatiable student of the word of God
With all these in my mind, I decided there was no going back on my commitment to searching the scriptures.
#3. 1 Timothy 2: 1
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men
If you are having trouble knowing what to pray about every time you kneel to pray, here is the answer you’ve been looking for.
When you read this scripture and the verses following it, you’d understand why some people can stay in prayer position for hours. The entire passage leaves no one in doubt that God delights a lot in our prayers for others.
In fact, this verse laid the foundation early on for my prayer and intercessory life and ministry.
Notice that it says, ‘all men’. That is, all categories of people. By the time you start praying for family members, office colleagues, friends, church folks, government leaders, unbelievers, neighbours, nations and so on, you’d realize you’ve spent quality time praying and achieved a lot.
No wonder in his book, Power Through Prayer, Edward Mckendree Bounds said ‘Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still. He will never talk well and with real success to men for God who has not learned well how to talk to God for men.’
#4. 2 Corinthians 5:15
And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
I was almost rounding off my studies in the university when I encountered this scripture. And for a long while it wouldn’t leave me.
It was upon meditating on this scripture I realized that I lost the right to live for myself the moment I asked the Lord to come into my life and save me. I was no more in charge. I am not my own because I have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Christ has since become my first consideration in any decision or move I was going to make in life.
From that time, I have become more conscious about His ‘opinion’ in whatever I do.
This doesn’t mean He always has to speak and say, ‘do this’ or ‘do that’ or ‘don’t do this and don’t do that’.
It means keeping his interests (as I am learning from scripture) always ahead of mine or others and when he speaks, to honour him.
#5. Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life
If you never read the bible, there’s still a high chance you’d be aware of the obvious truth this verse conveys. That’s because we all realize that our thought process largely determines what we do and say.
So, the impact this scripture has had on me goes beyond the plain realization that whatever I will do (or become) in life will be greatly influenced by what hovers on my heart.
It has rather drawn me more to being watchful and sincere.
Watchful of what strays in or stays in.
And sincere enough to always tell myself the truth when I’m gradually becoming hypocritical, carnal or materialistic.
This verse has taught me to always put my heart on regular check-up and be utterly open before whom everything is plain.
#6. Psalms 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid
Sometime in college, as a campus fellowship leader, I would go to an open field in the middle of the night to pray.
Now, when you hear this, you would think, ‘oh how brave this fellow is’. But strangely, i still had struggles with fear. It was this practice that uncovered my silent failing.
I would open my eyes throughout the prayer time, not because I felt like doing so but because I was afraid if I closed it, something (maybe a demon) would strike me or I would get bitten by a snake (well, I’ve had a snake bite before).
Fortunately, God came to my help and I stumbled on this scripture.
It was as though my whole life took a new turn at that point. Boldness came upon me like a garment from heaven.
Anytime fear wanted to raise its head, I’ll recite the verse for a few times and then a surge of courage takes over.
And that was how fear (of any kind), parted ways with me.
#7. Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose
When certain bad things happen to us, we may find it hard to think that anything positive could come out of the mess. But God, who has got time and eternity under control has asked, ‘Is there anything too hard for me?’ (Jeremiah 32:27)
The obvious answer is No.
Even though it could seem impossible to get good from evil and positive from negative, I realized through this scripture that God operates at a higher frequency. If there is nothing too hard for Him to do, then making all things work together to accomplish a good end isn’t beyond him.
So, I rest.
When I make mistakes or fumble along the road; when it seems like heaven has come crashing down, what keeps me going is the understanding that something good will come forth through the rubble.
There you have it, the top 7 bible verses that have affected my life.
So, what scriptures have made similar indelible impact on your life? Please share them in the comments section.
Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.