Dear Connect Family
I will warn you that this post will be long, but please read it and seek the Lord regarding it.
I initially posted this in October '17 in the Members Lounge under the title “A Dare.” As time has gone on, we went from memorizing Romans 8 to Philippians 2 then 3 and recently finished 4. We now have begun our quest to do the whole book of Colossians by starting with chapter 1, 2 verses/week. I am getting ahead of myself, so please read on.
Bible memorization has been instrumental in my walk with Jesus. I was so excited when Carson began a weekly memorization offer for anyone interested. Initially, many responded but as time went on, very few remained. I contacted Carson and as we discussed it, I commented that it was more difficult for me to retain the verses from different books of the Bible as opposed to learning two verses per week from a chosen chapter and to memorize the whole chapter. The verses are more connected, if that makes sense. The thoughts conveyed in the verses have a sense of continuity. I have memorized many chapters and I don’t say that with any sense of pride but with a sense of thankfulness. So I asked Carson if we, as a group, should do that? He said to go for it. My comeback was, if the boss doesn’t have takers, who am I that anyone would be interested. His reply was what would it hurt to try? So here goes…
To have the Word of God in my heart has changed me. Think about it - when the Truth is in your heart, it manifests itself in times of prayer, trials, guidance etc. The Holy Spirit so creatively uses it. Often, if I awake during the night, I don’t have to find my Bible but I can just recite the various chapters that I’ve learned. So often, though I’ve quoted a chapter hundreds of times, as I am reciting it, something new jumps out and causes a sense of worship. It interesting that I’m currently reading the book about the Burnhams who were captured by terrorists in the Philippines in 2000 and held captive for over a year. They were without a Bible all of that time and they tried recalling the verses that they knew. They recalled many verses . I thought, if only they had memorized more of the Bible. We probably will never be in that situation but we never know when we will need it. At all times, you are armed with the Sword of the Spirit. I think a chapter is so much more complete as thoughts are contextual as they flow from verse to verse. Often what verses become precious to us are not always the ones that we would have hung on our refrigerators.
What I often hear is “I am not good at memorizing scripture.” Believe me, it is not true because I am not proficient at it so if I can do it, anyone can. It’s planning how to go about it that is absolutely essential. How one does it will be different for everyone but I legalistically memorize two verses per week. As the verses add up, I learn the new ones and then go back to the beginning of the chapter and memorize it to date. That way I retain what I’ve learned while adding new verses. When the chapter is complete, I start a new one that I’ve felt led to memorize. As I proceed the same way as the chapter before, I then also include quoting the previous chapter in addition to the new one in order to retain what I’ve memorized. After awhile, you have quoted one chapter so often that you really have it down so then I interchange what I’ve learned while moving forward with a new chapter.
Again, the plan on how to do it that fits for you is critical. There is no “one plan that fits all.” I am paralyzed so I handcycle. I memorize new verses by clipping them to my shoes as my legs go straight out when I bike, I have the new verse as well as a few previous verses on a notecard that is clipped to my shoe! It is a blessed time where I bike and memorize and it leads to prayer for others as well.
Obviously, you won’t do it that way but maybe you commute and are on the road a half hour each way to work. Put a card with verses on your dashboard and go over the verses as you drive. It redeems that time as you not only learn scripture but it leads to prayer as well. I also carry the verses in my pocket so when I am waiting for someone or just alone for a bit, I slip it out and review the verses in a matter of minutes. Everyone is different with various circumstances but the key to memorizing is devising a plan as to when you’ll do it. Good intentions will not work. You have to devise a plan on when and how it will work for you and stick with it. It may cause some tweaking. It doesn’t need to involve carving out more time in your day but be creative as to how to incorporate it into how you function already during your day. Some of you run on a treadmill - put scripture on your devise as you run. You will never regret it when you have chapters of God’s Word hidden in your heart.
No one can suggest a plan that fits all. It has to be important enough for you to devise a plan that works for you and stay with it. At times, quote the chapter to your spouse or friend, not to show off, but to pronounce the blessing of the passages to others while enabling for you to retain what you’ve learned. So often my wife will ask, while driving to recite, say, chapter one of Ephesians. Also, when praying with others, you’ll be amazed at how portions of a chapter pop out and dovetail with prayer.
Time does not allow me to go into how valuable memorization of God’s Word is but please, please consider joining the Bible memorization team in this adventure. What I would propose is that I’d post two verses of a chapter each Saturday that would be memorized that week. The following Saturday, the next two verses of the chapter would be posted and so on. Obviously, they really need not be posted as the next two verses are just that - the next two verses until we reach the end of the chapter. Yet, I will still post the verses which will serve as a reminder as to where we are. As the verses are posted, determine what version you want to memorize from. I currently post from the NIV, ESV and NKJV but I have always memorized from the RSV so I stick to memorizing in that version. Choose the version that suits you even though the posts may be from a different version. I will gladly post from the version of your choice - just let me know.
The verses that you memorize, I guarantee, will speak volumes to you. All who read this post, I hope, would consider joining the group. To do so, all that you need to do to sign on is to go to @Bible_Memorization_Group and sign in. Because posting to a number of individuals is limited, Carson has set up the address above to accommodate all of us that sign in. At the moment there are 39 of us.
Who am I to do this? It is humbling for me but why I took up the challenge is the realization that it isn’t about my idea, but rather, incorporating God’s Word into the very fiber of our being. It is all about the Sword of the Spirit - the only offensive weapon that we have in fighting the enemy in the Name and for the glory of Jesus.
I love this group and have such a heart for those who are from all over the world. For anyone interested, I have brothers and sisters who have given me their full name, city, state and country, pinned on a Google map. If you go to the site below, it contacts me to give you permission to see the map. It’s so encouraging just viewing it! When you click on a pin, it will tell you who lives in what city in that country. It is so cool. Please keep sending that information as the map is great but it only has about a third of us on there.
It will bless you to see all of us who love Jesus and are growing in Him through His Word throughout the world! Please truly consider coming on board. I know that you will never ever regret it.