During high school and college I spent several summers working as a camp counselor. “Working” might not be an accurate term. Those summers involved lots of chubby bunny contests, extreme ironing, near death experiences with copperheads, and becoming permanently dependent on caffeine.
Anyway, one summer the staff t-shirts had “18:2” written on them. There was some clever theme that escapes my memory, but I remember looking up every 18:2 reference with my fellow staffers. When we got to Revelation we all joked that it definitely wasn’t that one.
“He cried in a mighty voice: It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen! She has become a dwelling for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, and a haunt for every unclean and despicable beast.”
Revelation has always been one of those pick-and-choose books for me. I carefully avoided the parts about locusts, plagues, the notorious prostitute, and any passages that made me confused or uncomfortable. However, I often wrote out the comforting promises about no more tears and the descriptions of the new Jerusalem in journals and letters.
In fall of 2015 I had signed up for Bible Study Fellowship, which is an awesome international community you can learn about here. The study was Revelation, so I hoped that as I committed to lots of meditation on the book that the BSF study would shed light on all of the previously skimmed over passages- and it really did!
The Spirit was continuing to use my review time in Colossians and James to show me the richness of memorizing and reciting Scripture in its full context. A year into the journey, I was even more confident than before that I could trust Him to continue to guide me in the light of the Word. The Spirit had also been making it clear that this discipline was all by His power, not my own efforts.
So, still nervous that I’d falter out a few verses in, but with the encouragement of my amazing sister Caroline that God was able to keep me at it, it began. Ten months later (just a few weeks after BSF ended) I finished it. For the first year and a half afterwards, I reviewed the whole book every week (~4 chapters a day) to really get the content kneaded into my heart. Currently I review it on a three week schedule- one chapter a day- and am amazed afresh at the whole counsel of God.
I still find it difficult to fully grasp and humbly receive the harder things revealed by God in Revelation, but I join with the vast multitude in chapter 19 in praising the King of Kings:
“After this I heard something like the loud voice of a vast multitude in heaven, saying: Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God, because His judgments are true and righteous, because He has judged the notorious prostitute who corrupted the earth with her sexual immorality; and He has avenged the blood of His slaves that was on her hands.”
Next week I’ll share more about what I’m learning from Revelation! Listen to the Streetlights recording here!
Also, I want to go ahead and share a few practical tips regarding long-form memorizing that have helped me:
- As you go, copy one chapter, without verse numbers from a Bible app (such as Youversion) into a note application on your phone
- Break the chapter into sections that make sense for you. Each one can be as short as a phrase or a few sentences. Try to add one section daily and use the note to review what you have so far. It helps to have it on hand on your phone for memorizing and reviewing anytime- you’ll be surprised how much in-between time your day has!
- I previously shared the Memorize Anything app as a good tool for auditory learners. Find your learning style and leverage that for getting the truth into your head!
- Another essential thing is finding an accountability partner – for me, those have been family members and several friends. If you need one, I’m always up for it! When I started Revelation, Caroline and I made this shared Google document with a game plan in it. Utilize technology as much as it’ll help and motivate you!