Share-Your-Story Friday. Angela from WI

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.

20 comments to Share-Your-Story Friday. Angela from WI

  • Susan M.

    Such a powerful thought–that about actors memorizing new lines all the time! If they can do it for a job, surely God will help me do it so that I can fill my mind with His truths. Thank you for your encouragement! I needed this today!

    • Angela Hogan

      Thank you, Susan! I think you’re right about God helping you to fill your mind with His truth. If He wants you to do it, He will also enable you! May God bless your efforts to memorize and meditate on His Word.

  • Robin Ricks

    Thank you, Angela. I have a lot of similarities in my life to yours (except I’m a “tad” older. ). Your last paragraph well expressed what I’ve discovered in memorizing God’s Word.

    • Angela Hogan

      Thank you, Robin, and I’m sorry for what you have gone through. Isn’t it good to see how God uses these trials to lead us into a closer relationship with Him? Appreciate your comment.

  • Sue Bond

    Thank you for sharing your story, Angela. My first chapter was also Romans 8 and it will always be my favorite. (If I am allowed a favorite of God’s holy word.)
    But your first paragraph is really why I’m posting a comment. I had been a memorizing fool for 3 or 4 years and then just stopped. I loved those moments, hours, days spent focusing solely on His word and the divine intimacy that comes with that. So why did I stop? I have no valid excuse. Your first paragraph just shocked me out of my stupor. Rather, the Lord used your first paragraph to prick my heart to want to start again.

    • Angela Hogan

      What an encouragement, thank you, Sue. Consider this a message from your personal cheerleader to say, “You can do it! Start a small step today toward a new memory project (or reviewing an older one)!” Choose a passage, write it out, print it out, or any other first step and then respond to this comment afterward. Just a little push for you!

      • Sue Bond

        I’ve gotten bogged down in the past with review of all the scripture I’ve memorized, so I’m starting with a fresh book.
        1 Peter. Chapter 1 printed out on paper for my workout time and written on 3×5’s for my household time.
        Thanks for the encouragement. Be blessed, sister of mine in Christ.

        • Hi Sue, So proud of you. And such a great choice on 1 Peter, probably my favorite. You can do it.

        • Angela Hogan

          Yay, I’m so excited to read your update! I like that you wrote it out twice ( or printed it ) for different purposes. That’s the way to do it, many means but the main thing is that you’re putting it in front of you and being intentional. Actually, I just started 1 Peter today too so that’s quite a coincidence! What a great chapter. I’m excited about it. Thanks again for following up. I hope it helped you get excited about starting.

  • Audrey

    Thank you for sharing your story Angela! I’m so encouraged to keep memorizing for God’s glory- realizing I have so many lines or songs from movies memorized that I had watched over and over as a kid. Certainly I can store up God’s word in my heart! Praise him!!

    • Angela Hogan

      Amen, Audrey! I’m not sure why we think we can’t memorize scripture but it is definitely a common thought. Like you said, when you think about it, we memorize all kinds of things and our brain is constantly taking in new information so we’re definitely capable. I think just reminding myself of that encourages me to keep moving forward. When I lived in China, the Chinese people would say, “Jia You!” (sounds like Jeehah Yoe) which literally means “Add oil” but it’s kind of like saying, “You can do it!” Jia you!

    • Josh

      Amen! I have had this exact thought! There are tons of movies I know by heart for the same reason. I can recite them from start to end regardless of length (example: the Back to the Future trilogy). I can quote any line from them, for any occasion. I keep praying to know God’s Word that well, and God has helped with it since I started praying for it. “Ask and it shall be given.” Since I know tons of songs by heart that are longer than the average psalm, I figured that singing the Psalms would help, and it does!

      “The dearest idol I have known
      Whate’er that idol be
      Help me to tear it from Thy throne
      And worship only Thee.”

      • Angela Hogan

        Thank you for the encouragement, Josh. It’s so true, what you say about movies and music. I think we forget how much we memorize all the time in daily life so we think we aren’t capable. It’s good to have that pointed out so we can change our thinking about it and get the courage and confidence we need to get started. And I love that you pointed out “Ask and it shall be given.” That’s a great thing to remember. =)

        • Josh

          Thanks, I’m so glad I could help. One thing I keep thinking is, I read that Orthodox Jewish boys memorize Genesis through Deuteronomy by the time they’re 13; Muslims memorize the whole Koran, which is slightly longer. We could achieve a similar amount of memorization with the Gospels and Psalms–in fact, Jews in Biblical times also knew all the Psalms.

          What got me started a few years ago was meditating on Ephesians 6:17: “And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).” I thought of something from–of all things–The Legend of Zelda, a video game from the 1980’s. (You may even remember it.) The opening scene shows an old man giving the hero a sword, saying, “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.” I realized that taking God’s Word with me involved more than just having a Bible app on my phone. What if I didn’t have it with me? Even if I did, if I was tempted and needed a Bible verse to help, how would I find the relevant verse in time, or even know what I was looking for? I knew I had to memorize–large sections, not just a few hundred isolated verses like some do.

          So far, by the grace of God, I’ve memorized Philippians, the Sermon on the Mount, James 4, and about 30 psalms totaling about 200 verses; that’s not counting the many isolated passages I know by heart from quoting them all the time. I would have memorized more if my methods had been as good as the ones I use now…

  • Shari Blodgett

    Thank you for sharing this, Angela. This was precious. It makes me realize all over again the power of God’s Word in our lives. And thank you for sharing how God’s Spirit moved your heart as you watched a muted TV. He has His gentle (but determined) ways with us. I, too, wholehearted concur with your last paragraph! Many blessings!

    • Angela Hogan

      Thank you for your comment, Shari. In this case He was gentle and I’m grateful. At other times He’s had to hit me over the head to get my attention, but I think that’s the “determination” you speak of, ha. Wish I always learned by His gentleness…=)

  • Lise

    Thank you Angela!! I needed this encouragement and echo and am thankful the ways God has used Scripture memory in my life. I particularly identify with your statement that “often we fail to put in the effort that we know will bring us joy and lead us into deeper fellowship with Him.” That convicts me to the core and I need to hear it everyday. Thanks again.

    • Angela Hogan

      Thank you, Lise! That sentiment kind of convicted me as well as I thought of it, ha! I’m glad it convicted you but also encouraged you at the same time. May God bless you as you continue to memorize more and more of His Word and also use it as you minister to others.

  • mary edwards

    angela i went thru a bad time also and thats when i heard someone recite psalm 103 on the radio and i was mesmerized. i knew i had to memorize it, which i did. it was my 1st big chunk of scripture to memorize. then i memorized romans 8 also, which is my favorite passage. thanks for your testimony about Gods work in your life. i look forward to meeting you someday!

    • Angela Hogan

      Thank you so much, Mary! I’ll have to take a look at Ps.103. It is so helpful to have God’s Word to focus on in times of trouble. Some cynical people say, “You can memorize and I’ll be obedient.” But I find that a great way to obedience is getting His Word in my “inner man” through focusing on a passage long enough to memorize it. I have found though, that as you get “better” at memorization, it doesn’t take the same concentration or diligence and it is possible for me to memorize without internalizing. Lord, help us to think deeply about our memory passages and let your thoughts change us! In Jesus’ name, Amen.