As we prepare for our upcoming series, “Rooted,” I am encouraging people to try to memorize Psalm 1.
In Psalm 1:3, we read these words:
…but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
Why Memorize Scripture
We see here both the call to delight in God’s instruction and also to meditate upon it steadily. I believe that memorizing Scripture helps us to both delight and steadily meditate on God’s truth. Memorization enables us to more deeply understand and reflect on what we are reading. As we ponder the words we are trying to work into our memory, we will begin to see – from our own reflection and by the Holy Spirit’s work in us – ways in which these truths can work themselves more deeply into our lives. What we think about has a significant impact upon our inner and outer lives. When God’s truth becomes a constant part of our mental activity we begin to live into Paul’s words in Romans 12:2:
…be transformed by the renewing of your mind
How to Memorize Scripture
There are no end of approaches to Scripture memorization, but let me suggest three here that I have used at different times in my life:
Note Cards or E-Notes
You don’t need to spend money in order to memorize Scripture. A basic and simple approach is to select one verse from your own personal reading of Scripture each week for memorization. Write that verse onto a note card that you carry around with you during the week or as a note in your smart phone. Return to that verse throughout each day for meditation, prayer, and memorization. Give yourself a week to work on memorizing the verse and then add another verse every week. Once a week, take out all the verses you have memorized and go over them all.
Navigators’ Topical Memory System
The Navigators developed a system of memorizing Scripture verses around key topics in the Christian life. These small, pre-printed cards are available in a few different Bible translations and come with a little card holder that helps your cards not be destroyed in your pocket as you bring them with you. The introductory booklet is quite helpful on best ways to memorize Scripture for the long-haul. You can find out more about the system here: http://www.navpress.com/product/9781576839973/. It is now available as an Android app.
Someone introduced me to the Fighter Verses approach in the last couple of years. It is a collection of 52 passages per year for five years (260 total) intended “to arm us for the fight for faith and love, and against unbelief and sin.” Bethlehem Baptist Church (John Piper) is the main driving force behind Fighter Verses, which has now been revised beyond print versions into an online presence and iPhone/iPad and Android app.
For some other helpful resources on Scripture memory, take a look at this blog: http://becomingsaturated.com/2012/02/scripture-memory-resources/.