Monday, 2 April 2012

Scripture Memory - easier than you think

Memorizing the Bible just might be the most "misunderstood" way of growing closer to God through His Word.

I always thought memorizing took too much time and was too difficult.  Until I read some articles by Janet Hope on Revive our Hearts, and then her book, "His Word in my Heart".  I highly encourage you to read the articles, you will be inspired!

Anyway, what I loved most was the fact that she acknowledged that we simply just don't have any more time in our days.  (That could actually be an arguable point - we have time for the things we want to make time for - the amount of time we spend online or watching TV are great examples of the fact that we DO have time.  But I digress).  In depth Bible study, and even short devotions, do take time, and sometimes it seems too overwhelming and so we don't even bother doing anything.

Janet's point is that we spend a lot of time during our day on mindless tasks.  Tasks that keep our hands busy but our minds otherwise unoccupied.  Perfect opportunities to redeem the time!

What better way to do so than by memorizing scripture?

while in the shower
while blow drying our hair
while brushing our teeth
while making breakfast or school lunches
while doing dishes
while waiting at the dr office
while driving or running errands
while cleaning or folding laundry
the options are almost endless!

It doesn't take more time, it redeems the time otherwise spent on mindless tasks.  What a fabulous idea!  And totally practical, feasible, realistic and doable.

Anyone can do it.  You don't have to have a good memory (I don't!).  Do you know the words to your national anthem?  Why?  Because you repeated it over and over and over again until it was in your long term memory.  After learning a passage of scripture, you will review once a week, so it becomes ingrained in your long term memory - and you will never lose it.

And the benefits of scripture memory are incredible!

Charles Swindoll: I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. That's right. No other single discipline is more useful and rewarding than this. No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your counseling will be in demand. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.

LeRoy Eims on the importance of Scripture memory:
"I think two of the master strokes of the devil have been to convince people he doesn't exist, and that Scripture memory is only for children. He remembers the humility of defeat when Jesus Christ, who was tempted in all points like as we are, met him with the Word of God." (What Every Christian Should Know About Growing; p. 26-27)

Still need more motivation?  See what John Piper and Tim Challies have to say about the benefits of scripture memory.

I was convinced.

I definitely wanted to do this but wanted some accountability, so I created a facebook group and a blog dedicated to scripture memory.  I started this journey in the middle of January and so far, using Janet's "method", I've memorized Psalm 1 and the entire book of Titus. (That sounds a bit more impressive than it actually is - it's only 3 chapters, or 46 verses).  Now we're going to start memorizing a few psalms - smaller projects that are a great starting point for anyone wanting to try it out.

Today we start with (the first verse of) Psalm 121, a very familiar and beautiful psalm.

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

If you want to join me, check out my blog, His Word in My Heart (especially this post that explains the "method"), and type your email address in to receive all the blog posts with the day's verse.

Here are the links to the articles I read (you can listen to them or read them, whichever you prefer)
How Busy People can Memorize Scripture
You can Memorize More than You Think
You Need Hunger

Some quotes from Janet's book.....

No, the Bible does not command us to memorize Scripture. But here are some of the commands and exhortations we do find:
Know God’s Word.
Remember His Word.
Do not forget His commandment.
Have His Word ready on our lips.
Meditate on His law day and night.
Dwell on Christ’s words.
Store up His words.
Keep God’s Word within our hearts.

For me, memorizing Scripture is just a vehicle for accomplishing those objectives.

Janet encourages memorizing passages, chapters or even entire books of the Bible, instead of just "random" verses.  One benefit is less references to remember!!  Another is how important it is to memorize verses in the context in which they were written.  Here's another point Janet had about this....

The focus was definitely on me. I’m not saying we shouldn’t memorize these verses, but if we will memorize them in their context, we will keep the focus on God and greatly enhance our learning in the process. God put His thoughts and His words in a particular order within each book, and this is how God intended for us to learn them.

One last encouragement from the book.....

When we get into God’s Word, it becomes our pipeline to God’s way of thinking and doing things. As I stay in God’s Word, abiding in God’s Word, drinking in God’s Word, letting it go deep, it will do its work in me, the work it was sent to do. It will accomplish God’s desire and achieve His purpose, which is to cause growth in me by bringing my thoughts and my ways into alignment with His. Memorizing Scripture is never unproductive time.

God bless you as you take this journey with me!

1 comment:

Abagail W said...

Love this! It is only because of my kids I have started memorizing! Our daughter is earning badges for her memorizing. But it is a good way for the whole family even the 2 younger ones repeat the verses! They also can recite them quicker than I can I am so excited to be giving this opportunity to my children and of course I am excited to be learning verses also!


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