I don't have the gift of memorizing.
You don't understand how busy I am!
I don't know how.
I prefer prayer and bible study.
I've tried before and don't want to fail again.
I'm not good at it.
Just this week I told someone in my bible study that I was going to assign memory verses each week. Her response, "That's great I love to memorize!” I sat stunned and for a second I thought she was serious, but then she told me she was joking. This lady said she’d done it in her past but that she just wasn't good at it, so she gave up.
What does that mean, "just isn't good at it"?
I wonder what the Father thinks when He hears that statement or any of the other excuses. I wonder what Satan thinks.
Maybe we would be less apt to make excuses if we knew why we should memorize and what is at stake when we don't.
Instead of me telling you why we should memorize, please watch this short YouTube video of Pastor John Piper who does an amazing job of explaining why:
A few years ago when I was teaching a bible study on Ephesians, when I read 6:10-18 my spirit was deeply convicted regarding memorization.
Paul goes on to tell us the armor we are to put on. And for me, I realized I often didn’t carry my sword.
I was convicted of my own inability to stand firm against the schemes of the devil and that needed to change. I needed to pick up my sword.
Simply put, the sword of the Spirit is to know specific Scriptures for specific circumstances. I needed to memorize. Not once in a while, not when I felt like it, not when I was less busy or when I magically became better at it. I needed to do it right then, and then again the next day and the next. Until I see the Word face to face because I am in a battle; and as far as I an tell, it doesn't end this side of heaven.
So if you are like me and you want to pick up your sword, what are some helpful ways to do this?
For what it's worth, I believe there are some “non-negotiables” and some ”negotiables” of memorizing.*
- It is a matter of prayer. We must ask the Lord to give us a desire to find a method and to help us stick to it.
- Pick a reliable translation and stick with the same translation.
- Choose a method and stick with it for a few weeks to form good habits.
- Memorize word for word.
- Spend time alone with the Lord meditating on what you’re memorizing.
- Read the passage multiple times.
- Don't be in a rush and don't move it’s memorized.
- Try to get the verses into long-term memory by reviewing often.
- Not one method is best.
- It can be topical or book based.
- An area of struggle may be what you memorize. Unless the Lord specifically leads you to memorize a particular text, there is nothing wrong with choosing a different verse.
- It’s doesn't matter how much you memorize. However, longer passages help with context, meaning and flow of the argument and are generally easier to memorize than several shorter unrelated verses.
- Don't need to reference every verse. It was the mid 15-16 century that verses were added to the bible.
There are many ways to memorize; these are a few helpful hints and resources.
- 5 min/day or the "Kitchen Sink Method". Keep your verse with you at all times or in places you frequently look. Spend about five minutes/day memorizing it. Focus on the same verse for one week.
- www.memvere.com. Gives accountability.
- The Charlotte Mason Method. https://simplycharlottemason.com/timesavers/memorysys/Put verses on cards, Helps with long-term memory.
- Andrew Davis scripture memory. http://brossellsprouts.blogspot.ca/2012/02/approach-to-extended-memorization-of.html
- Read verse ten times then say verse ten times, and carry throughout the day. Next day review verse 5-10 times and learn a new verse. After a week say old verses once/day.
- Structuring: rewrite verses into smaller sections, memorize phrases then the entire verse.
- Draw pictures. This is especially helpful with apocalyptic scriptures.
- Act it out.
- Write a song.
My hope and prayer is that none of us will be excuse makers. But if you are, this is what I would say to you...*
I don't have the gift of memorizing. Well neither do I because there is no such thing. It is a skill to be acquired. It is not an intelligence test; instead it is a matter of diligently obeying a biblical command.
You don't understand how busy I am! There are 168 hours/week. If you spend five minutes a day, six days a week memorizing, that would total 30 minutes a week. Being overly busy isn't bragging rights it’s an issue. We aren't promised a tomorrow, we need to do it today.
I don't know how. Then you need to choose a method and start. If you do something, eventually you will become better at it and you can learn how.
I prefer prayer and bible study. This isn't an either or. Reading and studying gets you into the Word and Scripture memorization gets the Word into you.
I've tried before and don't want to fail again. Satan loves this!
1 Peter 5:8 warns us to be alert and of sober mind. Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Perhaps you’ve tried before but the method you used hasn’t worked for you. Please try again without the option of giving up.
When you encounter various trials, or when your bottom falls out, you will find out who or what you've been leaning on. My prayer is that we will lean on the Word of God and be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
ONE LAST WORD FOR PARENTS...
As you look at your kid’s schedules, where is the time you put in for them to spend with God? What they practice as children they will likely practice as adults. If you fill their schedules and don't allow time for study, memory and prayer, why would you think they would do it when they are adults?
Kids learn everything by memorizing and mimicking, so they are experts. As soon as they can talk they can memorize. Give your kids the gift of knowing the very Words of God. Simplify verses so they start with just a phrase and little by little they will know Truth. Give it a try, teaching them teaches you.
I pray you will STAND FIRM...
*Mary Mohler, Transformation by the Word - The Power of Scripture Memory (The Women's Gospel Coalition, 2012)
Nicole Funk teaches women's bible studies and loves being a part of Westside. She is the wife of Pastor Norm and has two fantastic boys, Matthew and Micah.