Monday, July 21, 2014

Memorizing Scripture: Why? How?

Almost two years ago I sat across a fast food restaurant table from a high school girl who had tears running down her cheeks. She was dealing with grief, rejection, and weighty burdens I have never experienced. It was one of those moments where I knew none of my words would do much good, and I really wanted to share a few Bible verses that could speak into her current situation.

I realized that, although I could paraphrase verses (more easily in English than Spanish) or locate them in my Bible, I felt the conviction that I needed to be intentional about memorizing Scripture – a spiritual discipline I simply hadn’t focused on in the past few years. I wanted to have a mental index of verses according to topics and doctrines that I could, by the Spirit’s leading, turn to in a given situation. As I had conversations with other girls about different circumstances, I was reminded I needed to begin, but I needed a good system to keep me motivated and diligent.

In fall of 2012, I found this great list of verses by topic, and this website helped me figure out a system:
  • Mondays/Thursdays: memorize a new verse, reading it aloud ten times and then repeating it ten times, looking only when needed.
  • Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Fridays/Saturdays: review previous verses once each and repeat the newest verse ten times (twelve verses total).
  • Sundays: review all verses from the beginning, once each.
Over time, I added new verses more frequently, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I finally completed the whole list! There were times I had to put it to the side (moving back to Honduras, having our baby, etc.), but I thank God for helping me stick with it and reach the goal. I have found this mental list of verses helpful when studying the Bible with people, sending someone a note, keeping my mind calm before going into the operating room (twice by now!), meditating on truth before falling asleep, and more.

Now I'm eager to memorize more. The BILD discipleship program has questions and discussions designed around biblical texts that are foundational to our faith, and I plan to focus on these passages next. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use the Word to renew my mind, change my heart, and speak truth and hope into others’ lives as He leads.

I wanted to share this with those who might feel overwhelmed by the idea of memorizing Scripture, in case some of this information is helpful and encouraging. However you make it work for you, it's more than worth it! Feel free to share your own strategies, challenges, or ideas about Scripture memory in the comment section below.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

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