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I shared recently about how to memorize Scripture effectively. Today, as part of our Scripture memory challenge, I want to share one of the ‘whys’ of memorizing Scripture and look deeper into Jesus’ example. But first a quick review of how to memorize.
If you’re using an app, such as ScriptureTyper, just put this month’s verses in your app. If, however, you are memorizing the old-fashioned way, here are the steps:
- Print or write out the verse.
- Say the verse repeatedly, breaking it into phrases to help memorize longer verses. Don’t forget to include the reference, so you know where to find the verse.
- Once you’ve started mastering the verse, write it down over and over again. For some people, writing the verse down is the only way they memorize. If that’s you, consider writing and saying the verse at the same time, combining step two and three.
- Repeat steps two and three as many times as necessary over a week’s time (longer if needed, just do it daily). As you repeat these steps, the verse will work its way into your memory.
- Review, review, review! The key to successful Scripture memory over the long term is review. Review a new verse daily for two to four weeks, then every other day, gradually decreasing the review time until you are reviewing just once a month. This is where your written or printed cards come in handy. Keep them on a ring or in a recipe box, and you’ll be able to organize them for your review.
Scripture Memory Challenge: Why?
The why of Scripture memory starts with a verse: Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (emphasis added). We are to renew our minds with God’s Word.
How do we renew our minds with God’s Word? The first step is to get it into our minds. That’s Scripture memory. The next step is to think about it repeatedly, mulling over the truths of the verses you’re memorizing. That’s meditation. For more about the difference between the two – and how they work together – read this post.
This is so important that God’s Word contains multiple verses on the mind. Here is a sampling from the New American Standard Bible.
- Ephesians 4:23 – Be renewed in the spirit of your
- Isaiah 26:3 – The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace because he trusts in You.
- Colossians 3:2 – Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
- 1 Peter 1:13 – Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- Romans 8:5-6 – For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.
- Matthew 22:37 – You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
There are many more verses along these same lines, some using the words heart or attitude instead of mind, but all conveying similar messages. God is concerned with our minds, what we put into them and what we mull over. He is concerned about our minds because “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart: (Luke 6:45).
The more good things we put into our minds – by way of reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word – the more good things will come out of our mouths. We will become those people who, when we open our mouths, wisdom comes out (Proverbs 31:26).
Scripture Memory Challenge: An Example
If you’ve been a student of the Word for very long, you may know that Jesus quoted Scripture when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. After fasting for 40 days, Jesus was hungry. The first thing Satan tempted Him with was bread. Imagine how much Jesus must have wanted something to eat – as you and I would. But, instead, He drew Living Water from the well of verses He had internalized over 30 years and refused the temptation.
Satan tried two more times to tempt Jesus, but each time Jesus fought back with the Word (read the whole account in Matthew 4). Jesus did not rely on legions of angels coming to His aid, He did not rely on His own self-discipline (which He obviously had, because He went 40 days without food), nor did He simply ‘let go and let God.’ Jesus was fully participating in the challenge from Satan by fighting back with the Word.
But this well-known example of Jesus is far from the only example we have of Him using the Word. In Matthew 10:35-36, He quotes from Micah; in Matthew 11:4, He quotes from Malachi; in Matthew 12:7, He quotes from Hosea; and in Matthew 13:14-15, He quotes from Isaiah. That’s just scratching the surface!
Perhaps the most encouraging use of the Word in Jesus’ life, was when he quoted from Psalms while on the cross (Matthew 27:46; Luke 23:46). In the midst of tremendous suffering – suffering that no human can ever imagine or experience, because it was the tearing of the very relationship of the Father and the Son – Jesus again quotes Scripture. Yes, it was a cry of anguish, but it was from the well of the Word.
If Jesus, in His most agonizing moments, could think clearly through the power of the hidden Word, then how much more will that Word strengthen and enable us, if we hide it in our hearts.
Scripture Memory Challenge: Four Verses on the Word
This month’s verses are all about the power of the Word.
- Joshua1:8 – This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
- Psalm 119:11 – Your Word have I treasured in my heart that I might not sin against You.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…
- Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Some of these verses will challenge you (Joshua and Hebrews!) but are well worth the effort they will take to memorize. Start with the hardest and by the time you finish the month with Psalm 119:11, you will think it a breeze!