045 - DIFFERENCE 6: The Usage of the Bible and the Koran
Another difference concerns the way Bible and Koran are used in the daily lives of those, who follow the respective book.
For Christians it is extremely rare that somebody knows the whole text of the Bible by heart. I have met many young people in the USA, who do “Bible quizzing” and who have memorized one or two of the books of the Bible (e.g. the book of Acts with 28 chapters). During my student years, I myself memorized the small book of Ephesians, which has only six chapters. Also, I was told that a professor of the New Testament (the German Adolf Schlatter) knew the whole New Testament by heart in its original Greek language. And a former Muslim, who came to faith in Christ, knew around 50% of the Bible by heart. But I have never met or heard of any Christian, who had memorized the whole Bible by heart. What Christians often regularly do, is read in the Bible, or study the Bible diligently and then preach the Bible. But aside from key verses of the Bible, most Christians do not memorize the complete Word of God that they cherish so much.
For Muslims this is very different. A significant number of the former Muslims that I have met told me that they had memorized the whole Koran by heart. In some Muslim countries many of them memorized the Koran in Arabic even though they hardly know any Arabic.
So, it is important to note that you can find many Muslims, who have memorized the whole Koran in Arabic. In fact, in many countries of the Muslim World there are competitions to find out, who is able to recite the whole Koran in the best way.
How much do Muslims think about their Koran? This differs among those, who have memorized it. There are Muslims, who meditate on the Koran daily to apply it to their lives and embody its teachings in their deeds. For many other Muslims, however, memorizing the Koran is a good deed (one of the Hasanaat), which according to the Hadith (i.e. Muslim collections of what Muhammad said) will secure escape from hell and eternal abode in paradise not only for the one who memorized the Koran, but also for his whole family. This is why in some parts of the Muslim World families single out one or two members of their often large families and make him or her memorize the whole Koran as a kind of religious insurance policy for the family.
Such a belief is not present in Christianity, because as followers of Christ we do not believe that we can save ourselves, by e.g. memorizing the Bible, but that, no matter what we do by way of good works, we are surely lost. We believe that only our faith in the substitutional death of Christ for our sins can save us. This is why there is no ambition among Christians to memorize the whole Bible. Our salvation does not depend on it.
Nevertheless, I encourage you to memorize portions of the Bible, because the Word of God is full of power from God and can deeply impress your life, if you memorize it. Conversely, never underestimate the spiritual power of Muslims memorizing their Koran. For them the Koran in their hearts is a spiritual force that gives them much courage in standing up for their Islam, more than many Christians do today, who hardly remember any verses of the Bible by heart. So: Memorize verses of the Bible and you will experience the power of the Word of God!