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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Scripture Memory

In a "Taste and See" article found here in its entirety, John Piper says of Scripture memory:

"First, a few testimonies: I have it third hand, that Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Seminary once made the statement (and I paraphrase) that if it were his decision, every student graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary would be required to learn one thousand verses word perfect before they graduated.

Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, wrote, "Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization" ("Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person" in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2, Spring, 2001, p. 7).

Chuck Swindoll wrote, "I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified" (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61)."

Doesn't that sound like a worthwhile endeavor? It does to me!

There are many, many ways to effectively memorize scripture. There are card systems, audio cd's with Scriptures set to music, and curriculum and programs for adults and children alike. All of those things are great, but if you simply have a Bible (something we often take for granted, for there are people in the world who do not have access to written copies of God's Word) you can get started today! Piper shares his own method in a short audio clip here. The keys, he says, are to pray for discipline and to set aside the time. I'll summarize his steps:

*Choose your passage of Scripture, choosing verses that will help your soul. This is not for mechanical memorization, this is to fight the devil, to minister to others when you don't have your Biblewith you... this is to help strengthen you at 3:00 in the afternoon. These are for you!

*Mark an "M" next to the passage in your Bible.

*Read the verse 10 times in your Bible.

*Say it 10 times with your Bible closed.

*Carry it with you on a piece of paper or notecard and review, review, review.

*The next day, add the next verse and repeat the steps.

*All in all, he says, 5-10 minutes a day is all it takes!

Is Scripture memory part of your day? If it is, please share in the comments effective techniques you've found or share which passages you're working on. This is something we should all be doing. Let's encourage each other to do this daily!

Have a blessed weekend!

Cyndi blogs at One Day More and Mater Magistra.

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Blogger Denise said...

Great ideas , thanks for sharing dear one.

September 15, 2007 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Cyndi said...

NOT that I've got large quantities of Scripture stored in my memory, but because it really is a goal of mine and I want to become better disciplined and purposeful in this area...

I bought some of those colorful, neon index cards. I keep them with my quiet time basket and when a passage hits me between the eyes or especially ministers to an area of my life, I copy it down and carry it with me. I keep them clipped together with a binder clip and in a pocket of my purse for those times when I am waiting for a child at a lesson or appointment or other idle moments. It's starting to help! I'm going to employ Piper's method, I think.

I have an acquaintance that used to write them on strips of notcard, hole punch them, and put them on her keyring. She many, many scriptures memorized!

I also recently bought some "Walking In The Word" music cd's (they go along with the First Place weight loss program). Although I'm not in the program, I'm really enjoying the cd's.

I'm doing what Piper says: setting aside time and praying for discipline!


September 15, 2007 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Funny you should mention this Cyndi :-) We are committing to memorizing one verse of scripture each week as part of our Bible Study. It gets more difficult the older I get!! My dil gave me a little booklet a long time ago with a system much like the one you speak of in your comment. Instead of one verse though, they recommend doing several verses at a time. Amazingly enough it does work.
I heard Beth Moore say once that on the eigth day God invented index cards. She recommends exactly what you do. Write it down on the card and carry it around.
You always share such practical, essential truths. You bless me more than you can know.

September 15, 2007 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

This will reveal me as a young Mom who can't even use the, um, facilities by herself, much less find 10 minutes to concentrate on Scripture.

But this is what works for me! Being equally convicted and impressed with the need for more memorization in my life, I made a New Year's promise to myself and God to attempt to memorize a small book of the Bible that means a great deal to me. The question quickly arose: How in the world would I find the time to do it?

Sometime in March, it hit me: The only time I'm alone for a few minutes each day is when I'm in the shower. So I typed up the four chapters required for this exercise, laminate the double-sided sheet at my local mailbox store and stuck it on my shower wall. Now, as I lather-rinse-repeat, I also repeat God's Word in my mind.

It's certainly not foolproof. (At least, not until I get a lock installed on my bathroom door.) But it's encouraged me greatly to think this isn't something that has to wait for when my children are in college. Because I need God's wisdom flowing through my veins NOW.

September 15, 2007 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Dianne said...

As a child and then as a teen, I memorized a great deal of Scripture, including several entire chapters. I'm thankful for that. I agree that making Scripture a part of our lives is key. Lately I've found it helpful to "live in" one passage of scripture for several weeks or even months. When God speaks to me through one verse or passage, I just kind of plant myself there for a while. I'll write it out in my journal, journal about and reread it until I feel compelled to move on. I'll even look for songs if possible, related to that scripture. Not exactly memorization but that happens in the end.

September 15, 2007 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

What a great reminder! I also use the color coded cards on a ring for my kids and it is great. I usually write it on a card and carry it around, put it on the frig, or my bathroom mirror where I see it over and over throughout the day and usually that does it unless it is a longer passage and then it just takes a few more days. Extremely beneficial and I desire to "hide" even more of it in my own heart!

September 15, 2007 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger lori said...

You are so right, and I want to pass this gift on to my children...
I write mine on the white board that I face in our school room, you know by the end of the week, I have memorized or at least can paraphrase and find MY verses for the week. Thanks for the encouragement in this. It is so easy to overlook!
(and you are right too, those cd's that the kiddos listen to...we all learn!!:))

September 16, 2007 at 10:11 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

I totally agree with you, Cyndi.It has helped me often that I had Scripture in my heart and head, especially through a rough day at work. I am thankful that I have some totally memorized. I just started to listen to Scripture at work -- some of it sticks, but I think reading a Scripture passage over and over is the most effective way for me to memorize it.

Thank you for sharing.

Blessings to you and yours...

September 17, 2007 at 12:07 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

This is so important and an area I struggle in...

I make index cards and on the flip side write the first letter of each word in the for me! :)

Thanks for giving all these tips...I so much want to know God's word jot and tittle!


September 19, 2007 at 7:01 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Oh, that video was awesome!! God must have loved that gift.

September 25, 2007 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I've used It's really worked for me. I have a hard time ignoring an e-mail in my in box, and it makes you keep repeating the verse until you get it right! And one day of the week is a review of the previous verses you've learned.

Thanks for your tips--I'll add them to my routine.

September 25, 2007 at 9:24 PM  

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