What is a “Life Verse?”

I was recently listening to a pastor speak and he used the phrase “my life verse is…” and it got me thinking, what exactly is a life verse and why does it matter? Admittedly, this is not the first time I have ever heard the concept as I have had one of my own for a few years. Yet the question still bugged me as a Christian peculiarity that I wanted to learn where it came from.

Trying to figure out an answer for this post I found a life verse to be defined a few different ways: a verse that you believe has special representation or predictive qualities to your life or is a something like a touchstone for you to look back on your entire walk with the Lord. So, another way to put that might be, it is a verse that you think is important to your life. I suppose there is nothing ground breaking in that idea, and I probably could have assumed that on my own. Yet, I occasionally do scholarly work, so I felt I had to see what some people out there are saying.

“So what’s your life verse?” — Random new Christian you just met, probably Ned Flanders

According to Dictionary of Christianese, the term life verse has only been around for about 100 years. It seems to be an idea that came out of Christian Fundamentalism that arose during the early 20th century, that focused on strict, literal interpretations of everything in Scripture. The idea became popularized to “adopt” a specific verse as your guiding light in your walk with Christ.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”
— Psalm 119:105, NASB

Many Christians today speak of having a life verse. I like the idea of them, especially as an idea that keeps you grounded in Scripture. Are there any restrictions? Not that I can tell, but I might worry about you if you pick John 11:35. However, it does not seem that you should pick some arbitrary verse. The force behind a life verse is that it should guide you, or speak to the person you are spiritually.

Going Forward

I’m not sure what the point of this post really is. An idea caught on and I ran with it. Do you have a life verse? Would you be willing to share what it is and why? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you have.

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