Welcome to our online community of people who memorize books and passages of the Bible. This is our place to interact and exchange ideas, to share our stories, and to build camaraderie within the group. We extend a hand to Scripture memory dropouts, and wannabes, to the curious and the thirsty. Come let’s grow together under a common goal – to know and love God more.
August 20th, 2013 | Category: Blogging | Comments are closed
Scripture memory seems to be one of those areas in the Christian life which God sometimes needs to goad us to begin. We know we should do it, but often we fail to put in the effort that we know will bring us joy and lead us into deeper fellowship with Him.
I feel that God goaded me gently, but through a serious and tension-filled time of life. I had recently learned that my husband had committed adultery multiple times and had no desire to change his ways. He wanted a divorce and I was inclined to go in peace. I didn’t like exercising but thought the gym would be a good way to release some built up anxiety. As I stared at the muted flat screen TVs on the wall, it occurred to me that the soap opera stars were having to memorize new lines for every show. They must have made memorizing into an art to be able to do that! Then it flashed in my head like a lightening bolt—if actors can memorize lines for the glory of man, I can memorize God’s Word for His glory!
I began printing out passages to set in front of me while I tediously walked on the treadmill. I began with 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. I would bring the piece of paper to the stationary equipment and tell myself that I could stop when I said the paragraph or section from memory. Soon I found that I was hooked!
Romans 8 was my first whole chapter memorized. Next, I fell in love with Galatians. I decided to memorize the book. Since then I’ve learned several chapters in Romans and most of Ephesians and Colossians. I’ve only learned two chapters in the Old Testament though—Psalm 1 and 139.
Learning God’s Word through memorization has been thrilling. It slows me down to see the details. It forces me to see themes and connections between ideas that I wouldn’t have noticed simply by reading. It has been useful in sharing the gospel and defending biblical doctrine. It has brought comfort to myself and others in times of need. Mainly it has caused my heart to glory in God and this in itself, I believe, brings honor to Him.
The rain forecast for today comes as no surprise—it’s April. And we know that April showers bring May flowers. We overlook the nuisance of rain because we delight in landscapes beautified with flowers. And another essential reason—our food supply depends on it.
God’s lessons from nature also come as no surprise.
“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11
God compares His Word to the rain and the snow that water the earth and cause life and growth. We know this. But what is it about God’s Word that causes the life and growth? The answer comes from the two previous verses, also familiar, and so easily missed.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
There’s our answer: the reason God’s Word causes life and growth is because it contains God’s thoughts and God’s ways—and we can’t find these anywhere else—there’s no other source. When we get into God’s Word, it becomes our pipeline to God’s way of thinking and doing things.
We experience growth, not from thinking our own thoughts, but from thinking his. Our maturity comes not from merely knowing about God’s ways, but from bringing our ways into alignment with his. The point of growing is to grow more like Him. This is how God’s Word accomplishes his desire and achieves the purpose for which he sends it.
As we stay in God’s Word, abide in his Word, it does its work in us. It causes life and growth—and multiplies seed for further life and growth—not only for us, but also for others we are in contact with.
We can’t live God’s ways on our own. And we can’t think God’s thoughts on our own. He knows this. That’s why he gives us the Scriptures. We can’t read God’s mind, but we can read his Word.
Let it rain. Let it rain. Lord, send your Word to your people and let the fruit multiply around the globe.
This well-known psalm is King David’s confession after his adultery with Bathsheba. I made this psalm a memorizing project and began to say the words over and over, day after day. As usual I began to see things I’d never seen before. Beginning in verse 8, and continuing through the end of the psalm, two connected themes: man’s joy and gladness in God (verses 8, 12, 14) and, God’s delight and pleasure in his people (verses16-19).
When all is well in our relationship with God, joy and satisfaction fill us up. We delight in pleasing the One who delights in us.
When we sin, and leave that sin un-repented and un-confessed, it creates a distance in our relationship. God does not delight in sin because he wants what’s best for us. Neither does he delight in a meaningless sacrifice as an attempt to make amends. God delights when we come to him with a contrite heart, broken and yielded. And when he is pleased, our joy increases, because we delight in delighting him.
My own experience confirms this. The longer I stay in an un-confessed condition the more I spiral downward. I’m miserable and slowly begin to hate my life because I’ve hurt what is most precious to me. Waiting to confess my sin only hurts me and prolongs my misery. I want to return to the joy of a right relationship with God.
I wrote this poem as my personal summary of the psalm:
I hate my life—its all my fault
My sin has put me there
The mess is great
Confession can’t wait
For I have no joy to spare.
I’ve hurt the One who loves me most
My actions crossed the line
His Law is just
Repent I must
The consequences mine.
The Lord forgives my darkest sins
His mercy washes me
Though scarlet red
For sins he bled
To set offenders free.
When I confess the wrong I’ve done
He doesn’t make me wait
He hides his face
And commands, “Erase”
And gives me a clean slate.
Oh friend, don’t wait to be restored
Bring your contrite heart
Trust God’s Word
Your prayer is heard
He’ll give you a fresh start.
Bring God the desired sacrifice
Others will follow then
God will delight
When you make it right
And you’ll love your life again.
What are your thoughts on Psalm 51, poetry, and the benefits of meditating on a Scripture until it becomes your own?
I began the wonderful journey of scripture memorization in my forties. I am now 61 years old and have had the privilege of going half way around the world to teach the children in Cambodia the value of the memorized word of God. I began memorizing the word after a Wed night bible study on the book of James at our little country church. I soon found out the joy of God’s word going over in my mind throughout the day. It is a wonderful way to renew your mind daily. Some of the books I have memorized are James, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Jude, Titus, Jonah, and I am currently working on Ruth.
On Jan 7, 2017, I took off on an almost thirty hour flight to Cambodia. I went to visit my son and daughter in law (Luke & Sokha) who are missionaries in Ank’jeay village. Upon arriving I felt like I’d already been through many dangers toils and snares. Ha! Even though it was my second time to Cambodia, it was a time of venturing out of my comfort zone and putting my complete trust in God.
First of all it was a joy getting to know my long distance grandchildren. Hannah was two and a half last time I saw her and is now four and a half. We had lots of fun with tea parties, play dough, and puzzles. This was my first time to meet seven month old Asa . He is a very busy boy and just beginning to crawl. He seems to enjoy life in the village with the constant attention.
Now a bit about life as a visitor in a missionary’s world. One of my highlights of course was just experiencing life as a villager. Since I am a country girl I adapted well. Not to mention eighty degrees in January. Not bad. One of the things these missionaries do is teach English classes in their yard to the children. It was great to meet them and interact with them. Some are very fluent in English.
I read Bible stories, played basketball, and oh yes, the girls and I had a hoola hooping contest. You are never too old to hoola hoop. After meeting these beautiful children I know why Cambodia is referred to as “The Land of Smiles.”
I was given the opportunity to recite a couple of the books of the Bible that I have committed to memory. I recited the book of Jonah and the book of James. I taught them the value of the memorized word of God. On my last night in the village three of the students had memorized Psalm one and recited it word for word. I never dreamed that when I started memorizing scripture in my forties that God would send me to the ends of the earth. World Traveler was not in my vocabulary but God had a different plan for my life. What an adventure!
I got up this morning dreading the day. With coffee in hand, I headed to my desk to read the psalms and find solace. I read the first words on the page and tears cascaded down my face. I cried till the Kleenex ran out.
Today is one of those days when life hurts. I feel blindsided by people who did not respect me. I feel like God let me down. I feel frustrated with my prospects and where to go from here.
This is when faith meets me at the crossroad. This is when faith is tested and refined—times when nothing makes sense and I can’t see a way forward.
“My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation
He is my fortress.
I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2
So ironic, because this is one of the psalms I am teaching this summer at my church. I’ve been working on it for several days. Time to put into practice what I teach.
What does it mean that God is my rock, that he alone is my rock?
Israel is a land of rocks—they’re everywhere. But David, who wrote this psalm, is not thinking about stones here. He has in mind the photo above. That’s the kind of rock he’s talking about. These rocks are solid—symbols of strength. And they’re not going anywhere.
The metaphor of God as a rock is used twenty times in the psalms. Our God is strong and dependable—someone you can count on when everything else crumbles. God is our solid rock. He will not change. And he will not move.
Sometimes we say things like, “My husband is my rock,” “My best friend is my rock,” “My dad is my rock.” Can we have a moment of honesty here? People let us down—even when they don’t mean to. People change. Sometimes they back away, sometimes they move away. No one is 100% reliable—I can’t even count on myself. You and I are restricted by our own limitations. Good intentions will take us only so far.
God alone is my Rock. He is the only stability in my life. I will not be shaken from this conviction. If it seems like God has let me down, that’s because I don’t have the whole picture. I see only a portion of what he sees. His character never changes and his good plan for me never wavers.
When life disappoints me and threatens to pull me down, when circumstances rattle my equilibrium, I will cling to my Rock, and seek rest for my soul. I will walk by faith and not by sight.
God alone is my Rock and I will trust him. He will not change. And he will not move.
I took up memorizing scripture right after I recovered from a bout of postpartum depression that lasted for months, during which time I couldn’t physically open my bible due to the oppression of the enemy yet I knew my soul was dying of thirst and longing desperately for God’s word. I came across a book by Janet Pope called His Word in My Heart, and something in me shouted out with delight.
I proceeded memorizing Psalm 1 as a start, then the book of Titus, as the book suggests. I then felt urged to start a women’s group to go through the book together and memorize scripture at the church I was attending then. Since our finishing of the book, whenever Psalm 1 or any verse from the book of Titus was mentioned in sermons on Sundays, there often was immediate connection and testifying among us who have memorized the same thing and we would turn to each other sharing a moment of insight into the same spiritual realm where we lingered previously in the group, strengthening each other in the faith.
How sweet it is to have sisters in faith witnessing side by side, who, individually and collectively, are being spoken to by the same one living God!
I’m originally from China, majored in English literature and have been living in the States for 4 years. I feel that no other book has the power to speak across different cultures and beyond life stages like the Word does; in it and by it, I finally started to taste the satisfying goodness of relationships as God intends for us to have with Him and with His children.
I have since memorized the book of Ephesians, and am currently in the book of James. I found it helpful to go through in-depth studies on the book at the same time I try to memorize it. I paste whichever chapter I’m memorizing on the wall of our bathroom so I’m reminded to review the verses throughout the day. It is also a way to encourage other family members to join in anytime they want to! There were times in the past 2 years when I didn’t feel like memorizing at all. I felt void and distance from God when I stopped, nothing worked until I got back on it again. God’s word is living and active; I pray God causes me to always seek Him and treasure Him as supreme pleasure to my soul.
Spring is just around the corner. Time for planting trees and shrubs and flowers. Who am I kidding? I’ve never planted anything in my life—and I’m good with that—no green thumb here. But we’re still going to talk about planting, because spring represents a time of new life and growth and beauty, after a winter season of leafless trees and brown grass.
In Psalm 1, God gives us a metaphor to describe the blessed person:
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither,
whatever he does prospers.”
The tree represents a life. The water represents God’s Word. This healthy tree flourishes because it is planted close to the water—its life source. Likewise our souls flourish by our intake of the Scriptures. It is water for thirsty souls.
I remind you that the Psalms were originally written for the nation of Israel, and we are the gleaners of these rich truths. Israel is a semi-desert region with almost no rain from May through October. So how can a tree in Israel have abundant water in such a dry climate? The answer is intentional planting. They didn’t just plant a tree anywhere and hope to find water. They found the water first and then planted the tree. Brilliant!
Psalm 1 is a wisdom psalm. And what is the wisdom in this psalm? Plant yourself by the water. Don’t just plan your days and weeks hoping that God’s Word will fit in somewhere—be intentional. Arrange your schedule in such a way that God’s Word is always watering you, always accessible. You are the tree. Without water you will wither and dry up.
This is why we memorize passages of Scripture. It’s an intentional way to keep God’s Word on our hearts and minds throughout the day. Most verses can be recited in less than ten seconds—ten seconds! Most chapters can be recited in two to three minutes. Even with a jam-packed schedule there is always time for a verse, and then the next one, and then the next one. This keeps you flourishing throughout the day. When we’re not intentional the demands of the day swallow us up and deplete our reserves.
This morning I got up and reviewed the psalm I am currently working on—Psalm 96. Then after breakfast I went walking and reviewed it a few more times. Now I’m writing this blog. Shortly I will take a shower and memorize some more while getting ready for the day. After a few hours of desk work it will be lunchtime and I will review again. More desk work. Late afternoon I have a dentist appointment so as I drive I will review other passages including Psalm 96. Then there’s the drive home, cooking dinner, evening tasks, and getting ready for sleep—each can include a few moments in God’s Word. My day will be full—and my soul will be full. Intentional planting!
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and any tips on keeping yourself planted by the streams of water.
In recognition of Black History Month, I share this article about Harriet Tubman. She was known to have memorized large portions of the Bible even though she could not read. This tells me that someone spent a lot of time with her teaching her the Bible over and over. The article tells who that person was.
SHE FOLLOWED THE VOICE OF GOD
By Mark Ellis
She earned the nickname of ‘Moses’ because she led so many of her people from bondage in the house of slavery to the promised land of freedom along the Underground Railroad. A woman of deep Christian faith, she followed God’s voice and pursued the visions He planted in her heart to achieve true greatness.
Soon she will be honored as the first African American to be featured on U.S. currency. Raised on a plantation in Maryland, her mother – a cook in the “big house” – taught her Bible stories. She came to faith in Jesus as her Savior and Lord at her mother’s apron strings.
While Tubman never learned to read, she had a phenomenal memory and memorized long passages of Scripture that informed her captivating oratory later in life.
In 1849, when Tubman was in her late twenties, she felt she heard the Lord’s voice urging her to flee northward. After an initial attempt with her two brothers that failed, she set out again by herself, hiding during daylight hours and traveling by night, fixing her eyes on the North Star for direction.
Tubman connected with the illustrious Underground Railroad, comprised of abolitionists, freed slaves, and Quaker activists to make her way. A Quaker community nearby was probably her first stop during her escape, according to Larson’s account. Her journey of about 90 miles on foot probably took at least a week.
When Tubman crossed into Pennsylvania’s free soil she felt like she had been born again: “I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person now (that) I was free. There was such a glory over everything, the sun came like gold through the trees and over the fields, and I felt like I was in heaven.”
While filled with joy, Tubman soberly realized she must find a way to survive on her own. “Oh, how I prayed then,” Tubman recalled later, “lying on the cold, damp ground, ‘Oh, dear Lord, I ain’t got no friend but you. Come to my help, Lord, for I’m in trouble!’” With God’s help and her newfound connections with abolitionists, she found odd jobs and saved a little money. When she learned her niece and two children would be sold in Maryland the year after her own escape, she made her way back to Baltimore and hid until she could make arrangements for their escape. Tubman was able to bring them with her to Philadelphia.
The following spring, she went to Maryland again to aid her brother’s escape, along with two other slaves.
Over 11 years, Tubman personally rescued at least 70 slaves in about 13 expeditions, including her three other brothers, Henry, Ben, and Robert, their wives and some of their children. She also assisted and directed 50 to 60 additional slaves who escaped to the north. Some have estimated she was ultimately responsible for liberating as many as 300 slaves.
Harriet Tubman is the famous one in the story, but it was her mother’s profound influence that prepared her for a lifetime. Who are you influencing to know and love God’s Word? Never underestimate the role you can play in someone else’s life!
I spent some time journaling all of the amazing spiritual and practical benefits I am experiencing from memorizing and meditating on God’s Word this way (memorizing sequential verses). I share them with you:
When my mind wanders or I wake in the night I have God’s word right there in my heart to meditate on and have purpose in my thoughts rather than just letting them take me wherever they might. I see that my thought life doesn’t have much free time to entertain lies or dwell on petty things because it’s too busy meditating on the truth of God’s word!
I LIKE my time doing dishes and folding laundry and other tasks that seemed mundane before but are now my sacred times of meditation.
My understanding of 1 John is so much deeper and richer (I’ve been studying it over 6 months) since I memorized it and the Holy Spirit reminds me of His truths that are in my heart.
When I hear or read other passages I see the congruency of scripture and how the same truths are reinforced.
I have even more opportunities to see how God works in my circumstances fleshing out the truth of His word because my heart is more constantly considering His word.
My kids hear me saying my verses and are encouraged to know Mommy believes and loves God’s word and they hear more of God’s word.
My gratefulness to God grows in appreciation that I have free access to His word, that He has revealed Himself through His word and that I have been given a working mind to memorize and retain His word.
I’m thirsty for more of His word!
I am praying the scripture for my husband, my kids, myself, and others.
I am so thankful to be working this spiritual discipline into my life. I am almost 37 and I have wanted to be able to celebrate my 40th in a significant way when it comes, so I’ve been thinking I should aim to have 40 chapters of the Bible memorized (and still in my heart and mind!) by my 40th birthday.
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