Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Me, Memorize? What a joke!

Dear readers and memory-impaired folk like myself,

You know how when you learn a new word that you've never heard before in your life (who knew schizothemia was a word!?) then suddenly you hear it about four times within the next week?  Okay, so I kind of doubt schizothemia will come up in the next casual conversation, unless you're the one broaching it.

But I digress.

It's the same way when something is moving in your heart that you need to begin; suddenly, prompters and reminders pop out from the proverbial woodwork, urging you from all sides to do something about what is on your heart.

I recently started coaching in JBQ (Junior Bible Quiz) and I enjoy seeing children memorize passages, chapters, and books of the Bible.  I was duly impressed with their skill, and thought how wonderful it would be if only I too could memorize!

My brain isn't broken, though, so why not memorize?  But I dismissed the idea; it seemed too difficult to memorize chapters and books of the Bible. That's a lot of words!

I thought to myself, maybe I can just memorize a verse or two?  Now, that was an absolute flop!  The verses wouldn't stick; I forgot them by the next day. "This isn't meant to be!"  Then our pastor preached a sermon out of a specific passage, and impressed upon us the importance of reading the verse within the context of the chapter!  "This is a commonly memorized and quoted verse," he said, "but the original meaning is often missed because we tend to forget the preceding verse."

Like my Pa says, A text without a context is a pretext!

It stirred in my heart that possibly I should be considering memorizing larger chunks of Scripture - but, remembering my failed attempt at memorizing one single verse, I soon forgot about this idea.

A few days later I attended a ladies' event and one of the women told me, with great excitement, that she had recently been inspired by Ann Voskamp to memorize the entire book of Colossians.  I almost shouted, "What's this, Lord - can I not escape You anywhere I go, even at a ladies' get-together!?"  These reminders were getting a little irritating!

When somebody starts lighting a fire underneath you, you eventually do one of two things: You sit there and burn, or you get off your rump and take action!

Earlier, before all of this rumbling, I had requested a book from Moody Publishers for review.  They sent me, free of charge, this book to review on the blog: His Word in my Heart, by Janet Pope

I hadn't read it yet, but after all of these preceding events, this book was the final straw.  I cracked it open and found it to be a book about memorizing Scripture - by the book, not by the verse!

I read it every morning after my devotions, and it didn't take long to get through it - it was so engaging I didn't want to put it down!

In the book, Janet tells her story - how she was getting a little ragged around the spiritual edges by dint of spending more time driving her kids all over creation than spending time with the Creator.  She wanted to remedy the problem, but she didn't want to sell her kids, so she decided to memorize Scripture so that she could meditate on it day and night!

In the book, Janet talks about a few good reasons to memorize scripture.

"No, the Bible does not command us to memorize Scripture.  But here are some of the commands and exhortations we do find:  Know God's Word. Remember His Word.  Do not forget His commandments.  Have His Word ready on our lips.  Meditate on His law day and night.  Dwell on Christ's words.  Store up His words.  Keep God's Word within our hearts... Memorizing is never the final goal, it is only a tool to help us reach the ultimate goal of knowing God and loving Him."

This book could not have come at a better time for me - what encouragement it is to be soaking up Scripture, pounding it into my brain, devouring this good meat as I prepare for my husband's departure to the Navy!  If you want to borrow my copy you may, but I would recommend eventually purchasing your own - I wrote all over this book!

Using the method she describes in the book, I made myself a little spiral-bound set of notecards began memorizing.  I was a bit nervous. 

I thought I might not actually memorize anything. But ...

So far, within the last few weeks, with diligent exercise and discipline, I have memorized Psalm 1 and the first chapter of Titus.  I am bound and determined to have the rest of the book of Titus memorized before long!

I have never been able to memorize or remember even the simplest things (ask Mr H, he'll tell you it's true!).  Memorizing Scripture isn't something I take lightly; and it isn't something that comes naturally or easily for me!

But it can be done.

Mrs H


  1. Don't you guys have the Bible on CD? Maybe you should listen to the passages you are memorizing over and over while you're in the car! If we can memorize the words to songs that way, it would probably work with chapters of the Bible too! :D

  2. yes, indeed! The version we have on CD isn't the one I want to memorize, though; and I am not very good at pure audio learning, I like to underline and color and see the shape of the words to help me recall it!

  3. Oh darn, I hate it when I have something memorized and then hear a slightly different version. It always trips me up lol. I bet writing them out on the notecards like you talked about in your other post helped too - at least for me, I always remember stuff from school better when I actually write it out rather than just listen!




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