Your Bible Knowledge: RAM or HDD—or Both? (A Geek With A Bible – Article 1)

By: Aaron Cozort

As the first article in a new series entitled, “A Geek with a Bible,” I want to thank all those who will read these articles.  I hope they will be beneficial to those who desire to learn more about God’s word.  They may even be able to improve your knowledge of technology.  In all things, to God be the glory!

In order to understand the contrast in the title of this article, explanation is needed concerning the difference in the function of RAM (Random Access Memory) and a HDD (Hard Disc Drive).

Random Access Memory Explained:

RAM is considered “random access” because you can access any memory cell directly if you know the row and column that intersect at that cell.

[A] memory chip is an integrated circuit (IC) made of millions of transistors and capacitors. In the most common form of computer memory, dynamic random access memory (DRAM), a transistor and a capacitor are paired to create a memory cell, which represents a single bit of data. The capacitor holds the bit of information…like a small bucket­ that is able to store electrons. To store a 1 in the memory cell, the bucket is filled with electrons. To store a 0, it is emptied. The problem with the capacitor’s bucket is that it has a leak. In a matter of a few milliseconds a full bucket becomes empty. Therefore, for dynamic memory to work, either the CPU or the memory controller has to come along and recharge all of the capacitors holding a 1 before they discharge. To do this, the mem­ory controller reads the memory and then writes it right back. This refresh operation happens automatically thousands of times per second.­ (http://www.howstuffworks.com/ram.htm).

Hard Disc Drives Explained:

In contrast, a hard drive is made up of a hard platter with a magnetic film around it.  The magnetic material of a hard drive uses a concept similar to that of a cassette tape.  The magnetic material in a HDD is layered on a polished disk of glass or high-precision aluminum.  The head of the drive that reads and writes to the magnetic material flies over the surface of the HDD (without actually touching the surface) while the platter spins at speeds ranging around 170 mph.  The advantage to a hard drive is that the magnetic material that holds your data will remain intact for years.  (http://www.howstuffworks.com/hard-disk.htm).

Notice the points of contrasts between the two devices:

(1) The RAM will almost immediately lose any information that is stored on it unless the information is refreshed frequently.  In contrast, once data is written to a hard drive, it is remembered for a long period of time.

(2) The information on the RAM is accessible quicker but is not useful in the long term.  The HDD is slower, but is more reliable for long-term use.

Now, let’s take these concepts and apply them to our knowledge of the Scriptures. 

Do you find yourself frequently going to a worship assembly and listening to a sermon only to find that by the time you get home, you have forgotten the majority of that which you have heard—maybe you don’t even remember the preacher’s topic.  Do you find yourself reading the Bible, but when you close the greatest of all books, you couldn’t really even tell someone what you just read?  IF someone asks you a Bible question, do you find yourself unable to answer biblically because when you search your brain for God’s word, it seems that it has leaked out of your memory?

Some people excuse this kind of situation in their own life by saying, “I can’t remember things very well.”  If you do this, examine the other things in your life that you remember just fine.  Do you have problems remembering your address and phone number?  Do you forget what time your favorite TV program comes on and what channel it airs on?  Do you forget the web address of your favorite website?  Men, can you recall who played in the last ten World Series’ or National Football Championships?  Do you know the stats of your favorite player on your favorite college sports team?   The protest may come to mind, “but that’s different…” yet reality says otherwise.  The difference is not in the type of information, but what we do with that information and how important it is to our lives.

How important is God’s word to your life?  Where does it fall on your priority list?  Do you dedicate true mental exercise in order to remember God’s Word?

Now consider if your knowledge of God’s Word is like a hard drive.  Do you have a vast knowledge of God’s word accumulated over years of diligent study that can be recalled quickly, completely, and yet remains permanently in storage?  Can you say as the Psalmist said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11 – NKJV)?

One last concept should be considered.  Why is it that computers have both RAM and a HDD?  Why does a computer have both a storage component that needs to be constantly refreshed and one that is able to hold data for long periods of time with the ability to erase and re-write frequently?  The answer is simple: they serve two different purposes.  When your computer boots, it uses the RAM for the storage of DATA from active programs and processes.  Because of the speed and accessibility of RAM, it is the fastest way to keep data active and immediately accessible.  If you have ever attempted to copy multiple streams of data to and from a hard drive simultaneously, you know that it does not do such efficiently, RAM on the other hand does.  For that reason, a computer will access the Hard Drive, get the data for the program is has been commanded to run, transfer that data to the RAM, and store the data there while it is in use.  Then, when it is finished, the data that will be kept is written back to the HDD for permanent storage.

If our knowledge of God’s Word was such that it was always accessible and because is was permanently stored, but was also able to be accessed quickly and used efficiently no matter the amount of demand that was put upon it, would we not then be able to consider ourselves truly blessed?  Moses told Israel, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6).  Peter wrote, “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18a)

May we all place a premium on our knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and all that He has commanded us.

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