Recently, I attended a church conference and was challenged by the amount of memorised scripture the speaker was sharing. The speaker, Dr Steve Larson (you should check him out) passionately presented the gospel with bible verse upon bible verse, clearly defining the need for Christ as Saviour.
I have since started my own bible verse memorisation challenge. To be honest, this is something I have attempted in the past and have remained consistent for all of... maybe a few days. After this I have given up, sighting memorisation as too difficult for me.
However, at this point in my life I was struck by Dr Larson's ability to teach scripture from memory. Yes I find it really hard to memorise songs, movie quotes, jokes etc but it's time to push my mind to remember the Word, because I want it to be a daily resource.
Memorising scripture equips us for ministry:
Committing the Word of God to memory equips us for ministry to people from all walks of life because we have the truth on our lips and can access it for any conversation.
This concept of speaking the Word of God in ministry lines up with the verse in 1 Peter chapter 3, verse 15 "always being ready to make a defence to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you..."
I remember speaking to a friend of mine who doesn't know the Lord, but I couldn't think of specific verses in which Jesus says He is God. Yes, I could go home and research the biblical references when Jesus acknowledges He is God and share them with my friend, but that certainly doesn't have the same impact as speaking the bible passages at the time of our conversation.
Memorising scripture shapes our worldview:
Apart from ministry to others, I want the truth to soak in deeply and transform my life by the renewing of my mind. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" 2 Timothy, chapter 2, verse 16.
Knowing and understanding the bible is essential for us to live our lives for the Lord and to represent Him well before others. While there are many resources I can study, what better resource than the memorised Word of God to shape my worldview and help me express it during daily conversation?
Memorising scriptures prepares us for spiritual battle:
Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of the darkness. As we consider the issues and situations around us we must remember we are fighting a spiritual battle against the devil and his workers. We are however, 'more than conquerors' and we have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to fight the battle.
Jesus also teaches us, through His own life, how to overcome Satan's schemes, lies and deception with the use of the Word of God. For during the temptation in the desert, Jesus rejected the temptations from the devil by quoting scripture from memory. In response to Jesus, the devil even used scriptures himself to further tempt Jesus, but Jesus again quoted scripture to rebuke Satan.
This knowledge of the scripture is also important for us; as it was Jesus, to speak against the lies the devil speaks to us regarding personal, family and international issues.
Tips for scripture memorisation:
Obviously to start with you need to read the verse you're about to memorise. While doing so it's helpful to meditate on what the verse means and highlight any names, places or keywords.
Once you've got a basic understanding of the verse and what it means there are some strategies you can personally implement to help memorise bible verses (and a host of other things), depending on how you are wired:
A visual learner may like to write the verse out time and again, use flash cards or paint/draw the verse and other objects they associate with the content of the verse. Another visual method is to write the first letter of each word and allow this to jog your memory as to what the word is until you can do it without the letters.
An audio learner may like someone to repeat the verse with them, they might want to read it out loud themselves, repeat it to others or sing the verse.
A kinaesthetic learner will likely prefer to be active during the memorisation task and may like to perform actions to help them remember.
Trying to find patterns in the text is also a good way to help memorise the words e.g. in John chapter 1 verse 4 there is a '4, 4, 4 pattern' (using the NASB translation) with 12 words used to make up this verse and appropriate breaks after each of the four words. In verse 9 of the same chapter the word 'world' appears and this leads to it being used 3 times in verse 10.
Whatever method you use to memorise verses stay consistent, don't give up and repeat, repeat, repeat.
So with all this being said, I've now completed day 10 of my challenge and am about 80% confident in the first 13 verses of the book of John.
I feel this is a good start (particularly because I'm still going); although this is a far cry from Brother Yun (author of 'the heavenly man') who memorised a chapter a day at one point in his life (I'm not sure of his current bible verse memorisation practices).
The next challenge, after learning these verses is to make sure I live it all out (and that's even harder), because this is the true test of my faith. After all, the devil enjoys seeing Christians who know what the bible says but don't obey it; because this hypocritical behaviour turns more people away from the Lord than most of our other words and actions (but that's for another article I'm preparing to post on my blog).
Tim Wilson is an Australian currently living in Canada with his wife (also a comment writer) and their three children. He is passionate about the Church living according to the Word of God and authors a blog to inspire and challenge men and women of faith.www.abrokenmanblog.com
Tim Wilson's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-wilson.html