Far from being a bother Samuel, I’m encouraged when you express interest in the subject. I’ll warn you that this post is long as I copied and pasted “A Dare”. Hope it helps. Please give me any input after reading it. Thanks Brother!
" A Dare
Dear Connect Family
I will warn you that this post will be long, but please read it and seek the Lord regarding it.
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 it is really down so then I interchange what I’ve learned while moving forward with a new chapter. At times, when I’ve completed a chapter and feel not confident in retaining it all, I take a week off and use that week to review all of the chapters that I’ve previously learned.
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 but then, 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 other 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. 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 me 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. Carson posted from the ESV 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. The verses of the chapter is what is important and not necessarily following the version that is posted.
So what I would recommend as a start would be a long chapter but one that I feel every Christian should know by heart and that is Romans 8. Rather than just knowing that there is no condemnation for those in Christ and that everything works together for good for those that love Him, you’ll discover how rich the whole chapter is. I guarantee that it will speak volumes to you. What I’d propose is that all who read this post and would consider joining together to memorize it, would indicate their commitment to do so and that we would begin, not this Saturday but rather Saturday, October 14th. That way it would give time for everyone to take it to the Lord if this is something that He is leading you to do. If we have takers, we could start then. Admittedly, I have memorized that chapter already but will be in the process of learning a new chapter but be with you as I emphasize those verses personally each week.So please remember to indicate if you would feel led to join together in this adventure.
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.