Has a song gotten stuck in your head recently? If it has, I hope it’s been one you really like and listen to often (as opposed to an annoying tune from a kid’s toy or a lame song you heard in a store or something)!
Every now and again phrases from the Bible passages I’ve memorized will get stuck in my head. Here’s one! It happened because when I first memorized it (for me, this involves a lot of loud repetition) Jude would repeat it, so we made a little game out of it. I would say:
“…He was even calling God His own Father…”
And Jude, from his car seat or while building something with Duplos, would finish:
“…making Himself equal with God.” – John 5:18
The truth conveyed here is foundational to the Christian faith- that Jesus is truly God. That’s definitely something I want to think about nonstop!
That was a rambly start to a two part series on why and how to memorize books of the Bible. This part will focus on the why, because without that the how isn’t gonna help anybody.
In my first post I listed the books and passages I’ve memorized. Since then I’ve made progress in Nehemiah (today I’ll start memorizing chapter 7) and have also memorized the first two chapters of 1 Corinthians. That totals up to 80 chapters so far. And as a result of dedicating roughly an hour or so each day to review, I can recite all of those chapters from memory. If I didn’t live with myself 24/7, I’d be proud of that. As it is, I’m not. But more on that later.
My initial motivation for memorizing was to model an active love for God’s Word to my children. I knew that if I didn’t love it and prize it, it’d be pretty disingenuous to encourage them to do so. At that point in my journey I was a believer, but my love for God was very faint. By His grace, He convicted me of my lack of desire for Him.
The threefold God genuinely wants each of us know, enjoy, and love Him. I can testify that He will indeed give more grace to anyone who humbly acknowledges their sin and draws near to Him. It’s incredible!
If memorizing – whether it’s a verse or two, a chapter, or a whole book- is something you’re wanting to commit to or something you’re currently attempting, read this:
“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day….How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” -Psalms 119:97, 103
Now take a moment to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with this mindset, to enable you to hunger and thirst for His righteousness, and to show you how much better His revealed Word is than any pleasure this world has to offer. Ask Him to tear down any barriers preventing you from spending time in His Word. If you have a bad memory and it’s really tough for you to retain Scripture, ask Him to make your memory really great when it comes to the Bible. Regardless of how He answers that petition, you can be confident in asking Him to display His perfect power in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Now back to why I’m not proud of knowing 80 chapters of the Bible from memory. I know the evil I conceal in my mind and heart- and all the times that manifests itself in the way I treat others and how I regard God.
I desperately need to repeat the Word to myself because I’m a rotten sinner. On more than one occasion I’ve been reviewing Colossians 3, reciting aloud the command to be compassionate and forgiving as Christ has forgiven me, then turned around and treated my toddler’s spilled juice like it was the greatest catastrophe of all time.
So then I need to – and get to! – go back to Colossians 2 where I’m promised that Jesus has erased the debt I owe because of my sin by nailing it to the cross. Because Colossians 3 also tells me to be humble, I’m spurred to confess my sinfulness to my kids and point them to Jesus’ righteous sacrifice made on behalf of everyone who puts their trust in Him.
This doesn’t come easy. It’s a fight. Every.single.day. But it’s one I know He has already won for me. This means that even when I fail spectacularly, I can repent and press onward. When we see Christ as the best Master, we don’t want to serve sin anymore. We’re free to dedicate ourselves to abiding in His Word.
I’m a podcast junkie, but let me tell you this- I don’t listen to them nearly as much anymore. I’m a social media addict- but not like I once was. The Bible is displacing these things as well as others in the battle for my time and my thoughts, and I can honestly say I hope that it supplants them even more!
I don’t know how your Bible time should look. My prayer is that the Spirit will lead you to the best habits for you to bear much fruit as you abide in Christ. What I am sure of is that guilt isn’t gonna motivate you for long, if even at all. What will get you started and keep you going is the certainty that He loves you deeply and that His Word is true and life-giving!
“[May your] hearts be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” – Colossians 2:2-3
2 thoughts on “Memorizing the Bible: The Why!”
I’m so glad you are writing about this and hope you will share a lot of the “how to” in your next post. You were such an encouragement to me in our one phone conversation – so glad Carolyn connected us! Age 61 was a pretty late start for me in Bible memorization and initially memorization was very hard for me – sometimes, I would think, “I just can’t do it”. But what an AMAZING blessing! As I pressed in, prayed for the Holy Spirit to help me memorize, and took it slow, it has become easier. When I hit a tough verse, I just pray more, stick with it, and He is faithful! Since we talked, I’ve memorized James chapters 1 and 3, Ps 23, a number of verses on “old self/new self”, and have almost completed Romans 8 (just 4 verses to go). Like no other “Christian discipline”, memorization (and the deep meditation that goes with it) has drawn me so much closer to the Lord, “stayed” my mind on Him throughout the day, greatly deepened my love and awe for His Word, and worked in my sanctification (although I sure have a LONG way to go- thank the Lord there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!). Thank you for your encouragement AND your practical tips. Looking forward to your next post. God bless you.
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