Does God need the Bible to speak to us? No. Does He use the Bible to speak to us? Absolutely!
6 Listen, for I [wisdom] have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right.
Memorization is hard. I remember in my Sophomore year in high school, my English teacher had rules for writing that she wanted memorized exactly. To miss anything meant that we failed the test. I took that test four times before I got it right. Do I remember them today? No, but she did show us how to implement the rules, which I still follow today.
In the book, “Growing Up,” this week’s chapter for my group is about Scripture memorization. It is based on Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Many of us may remember this verse because of Vacation Bible School (it’s in the pledge to the Bible). In the book, the author does a quick history lesson:
The art of memorization is quickly becoming a thing of the past. In the first century,
however, memorization was critical. In an age when the only way to store and transmit
material was to copy it by hand, men and women had to commit information to memory.
In Deuteronomy 17:18, Moses instructed the people to have their (future) kings to do this:
18 When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. 19 It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees…
What about us today? How do we hide His word in our hearts? Most people today will pick a verse (or have one picked for us) and we memorize the verse. We commit it to short-term memory and can usually remember it long enough to pass the “test” in our next class. I come at it a little differently. Let’s take a verse that is near and dear to my heart,
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16
Here’s what I do:
- I ask myself, “Do I need to memorize the entire verse?” What is it that draws me to the verse? If the part I like is, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” then that’s the part I work on.
- Is there another version that I like better? Check them out. One uses “message” instead of “word,” and “among” instead of “in.” These words give a little different flavor to the verse.
- Where is the verse found? In this case, it’s in the third chapter of Colossians. Colossians has four chapters that are roughly split up into the first two chapters dealing with doctrine (basic teaching) and the last two chapters dealing with application to our lives. Chapter 3 is the meat of the book concerning application, which is what our verse is about. Interestingly, our verse has the same “address” as a very popular verse, John 3:16. That helps.
- Reading it in a hands-on Bible helps, too, because I can envision where the verse is on the page. I know that there is a header after verse 17, and the verse I like is one back from there. Every little thing helps.
- There are two more “cheats” to memorization. One is repetition. Say it over and over again. The other is to teach it. Once you’ve researched the verse and explained it out loud, you stand a good chance of moving it from short-term memory to long-term memory. By the way, teaching is part of the verse!
I’m sure there are more tricks of the trade, but that’s how I do it. I would be interested in you sharing your unique way of memorizing Bible verses with me. Tomorrow, we will look at why we memorize Bible verses.
Abba, I love the idea of singing our faith. May we be faithful to the message You have given us in our worship of You, O Lord. Amen.