Sunday, 30 August 2009


Ask Charles Matlock to recite a random Bible passage, and he'll think for a second before delivering the verses as if reading from the book.
Because of his photographic memory, Matlock, 59, has been able to memorize most of Christianity's holy book.
He is known as the "Walking Bible of West Tennessee." The Savannah native can recite whole books or chapters by request.
"I started when I was very young, sharing about Jesus Christ whenever I could," he said. "Memorizing the Bible is a great opportunity to know Christ and share him with others."
His favorite T-shirt has 26 Bible verses listed, each one beginning with a different letter from the alphabet. He even has the order of those verses memorized.
During an interview Aug. 14 on WTNE 97.7 FM, Matlock recited John 1:1-10 and other passages host Tom Mapes suggested.
Matlock has no cell phone or computer. He's traveled around most of the South and spends little time at his home in Hardin County. He visits churches, nursing homes and street corners, just hoping to share the gospel, he said.
"I just want to try to bring someone to Christ," he said.
Jim Essary, owner of Lexington Chevrolet, first met Matlock when the traveling evangelist visited the car lot. Matlock has prayed for the car business and his family several times, Essary said.
"I've known him several years," he said. "He's a very unique individual. ... He can quote Scripture, and I don't believe any pastor in the world can quote like he can."
Matlock's an intelligent man, Essary said.
"He could've made a lot more money in his life doing something else with his talents," he said. "He's very humble and survives off of the donations people give him. I'm very impressed with his knowledge of the Bible. He's got a good spirit. It makes you feel good when he's around."
For more than 44 years, Matlock has been evangelizing, at the encouragement of his parents, Matlock said.
"I started studying the gospel when I was 12 years old, along with my homework," he said. "I used to sit and learn spelling words. I thought, 'If I can memorize my homework, I can memorize scripture.'"
The first passage Matlock memorized was John 1:1-5. From there, he moved on to other well-known passages to cover the entire Bible. His favorite verse is Romans 8:31.
"I want a relationship with Jesus more than just reading and memorizing verses," he said.
After high school, Matlock began traveling and preaching wherever churches invited him to speak. Today, he averages about one or two churches a month.
Matlock would stand on street corners - something he says he can't do anymore because he's usually asked to leave.
"We're always going to have the sphere of Satan fighting against us," he said. "Whether I'm out, no matter where I am, I see people come to Christ. You have to be real out there for God. You have to come as close as you can to know him."
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