Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Part Three: Memorizing Scripture (Back 2 Basics Series)

This is a guest post by Lauren C. Moye.

Why Memorizing Scripture is Important

When I was a child, I could start memorizing Scripture twenty minutes before leaving for church and would be able to spout all of it off verbatim. I know, what a preacher’s kid, right? I learned two things from those experiences, though: 1) memorizing Scripture is very important for a Christian and, 2) long-term memory takes a lot more work than a twenty-minute study session.

Three Reasons Why You Should Memorize Scripture

#1 - It Helps You Internalize God’s Word

As Christians, we talk about the need to apply God’s word to our lives. Often, people fall short of actually living out this desire. Why does that happen? In my own life, I find that I fail to apply the Bible to my life because I’ve forgotten what it actually says. I haven’t internalized God’s word.

Internalization is a necessary part of applying God’s word to our lives. Once you have accepted a message as truth by internalizing it, you will not forget it. The secular world knows this well. Marketing is all about getting you to internalize a message about a product. Magicians use subliminal clues to help you internalize the things they want you to do. If the world recognizes the importance of internalizing a message, then shouldn’t Christians recognize it as well?

#2 - It Guards our Path

Another reason why I often fail to apply Scripture to my life is because I don’t recognize temptation when I should. It’s like walking with blinders on. By the time I recognize that I’m in the middle of temptation, it’s normally too late to practice what God’s word says about the situation.

But when I’ve memorized Scripture, I notice that it has a funny habit of coming to mind precisely when I need it to. Okay, you got me. It’s the Holy Spirit at work.

When I’m tired or have been dealing with a headache for most of the day, the last thing I want to do is be helpful to my equally hardworking and stressed husband. When he asks me to do something for him, my first thought is usually to snap, “I just put the baby to bed. It’s me time!” That’s when I remember Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourself. Each one should look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

If my husband has a bad moment and snaps unfairly at me, it’s tempting to have an angry wife meltdown. But before I say anything that would add to his frustrations, I think of Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste and health to the bones.”

As you go into the world, you’ll face all kinds of circumstances that will challenge you to step away from the way that God would have you handle them. When you’re in the moment, it’s hard to remember how we should act unless we have internalized God’s word. This is why memorizing Scripture helps guard our path.

#3 - It Assists Other Spiritual Disciplines

As much as I love personal Bible Study time, life is too chaotic for it to happen every single day. I’m not making trying to make excuses here; I’m talking about the unexpected curveballs that come up. Maybe it’s sickness in the family, having the UPS driver show up to talk about a missing package, or car trouble. Whatever it is, it takes away from the precious Bible study times you may have in a day. So how do I stay connected to the Word on the days when I cannot read it for myself? I refresh my memorized verses as I go about my chores.

If you are a person gifted with counseling others, you also know that you’re not in control of when somebody approaches you for help. Sometimes, you’re caught in a situation where you cannot physically look at the word of God. So how do you know you are sharing words that are in agreement with God’s word? Memorized scripture.

Memorized verses help me to stay focused while praying. When I’m struggling for the words, or struggling to know what to ask for, I fall back on my memorized Scripture. For example, I might use Proverbs 16:24 by praying, “God, please give me pleasant words to speak to people this day.”

There are so many applications to memorizing Scripture. I find that this Spiritual discipline intertwines with all others in my own life. But what if you aren’t very strong at memorizing things?

The Trick to Memorizing Scripture

Forget most of the ‘how-to’ articles or tips that you’ve heard on this subject. You don’t need flashcards unless they really help. There’s one very simple trick to memorizing Scripture: know your personal learning styles.

You see, not everybody learns the same way. For example, I learn by reading and writing. That’s why I could memorize verses so quickly as a child. There are many different ways to learn, which is why I’ve complied this list. Simply memorize according to your strengths:

·      Reading – The easiest one. Simply read the verse silently. Then, take a moment to see how much you can recall without looking, then go back to read it again. Repeat.
·      Writing – Write out the verse. Flip the page over or cover the verse up. Try to write it from memory. Repeat.
·      Auditory – You learn by hearing. Record yourself reading the verse or use an audible Bible. Play the verse back a few times. After a moment, see how much you can remember on your own.
·      Tactile You learn by doing something with your hands. As you read the verse, use sign language or invent your own signs to go along with the verse. You might also try doodling or Bible journaling to help you memorize.
·      Visual/Spatial – Pictures and graphs. This one is a bit more difficult because it isn’t often that you’ll see pictures that perfectly fit a Bible verse. If this is you, try to think of images that go along with the verse.
·      Smell – For some people, memory is tied to scents. If you’re one of those people, burn a candle while memorizing Scripture. Others have success by chewing specific gum flavors. Later, when you want to recall it, think about the scent as well.
·      Logical – If you like to reason things out, then you’ll probably find that you can memorize verses easier when you think out steps to apply them to your life.

Closing Words

Memorizing scripture is very important, but it’s more important to memorize the meaning of the Scripture than it is the actual words. Don’t stress about it too much if you struggle to remember Scripture word-for-word. Also, once a verse is memorized, you also have to consistently work to keep Scripture memorized beyond short-term. It helps to keep a journal of Scripture references so you can flip through and refresh yourself occasionally. The benefits of actually memorizing Scripture, however, make all the work worth it.

Biography: Lauren C. Moye is a stay-at-home mom, but in another life, she majored in Communications. She writes at www.chaoticlifeoflauren.com, where she is dedicated to helping busy Christian Moms manage life. For a similar post, see “The Importance of Learning the Bible.”

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  1. Yes, yes, yes. Love it. I had to memorize Scripture as part of my schooling curriculum each year until Gr 12. I can't imagine life without it. I find I am a mix of memorizing strategy. I definitely need to read, write and hear to memorize Scripture. Thanks for a great post Lauren. I also really loved how you touched on the importance of the meaning behind the Scripture.

  2. This was great! Studying and memorizing the Word truly is the best way to "transform" the mind.
    Thanks for sharing!