• johned@aibi.ph

How To Memorize Scripture

(Colossians 3:16 NKJV) {16} Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Memorizing the Scriptures is an ancient spiritual discipline that has proved profitable since the time Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. When the Israelites came into the promised land they were to embark on a program of systematic scripture memory:

(Deuteronomy 6:4-15 NKJV) "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! {5} "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. {6} "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. {7} "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. {8} "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. {9} "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. {10} "So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, {11} "houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant; when you have eaten and are full; {12} "then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. {13} "You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. {14} "You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you {15} '(for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.

What happened when they neglected this - and the book of the law of the Lord lay neglected for years in the temple? The nation fell into idolatry and sin and was eventually punished by God by being sent into 70 years of exile in Babylon. Our knowledge of God is never static - we are either remembering God or forgetting Him. And one of the best ways we can keep on remembering Him is systematic Scripture memorization. Let's look at what Moses recommends and see if we can find some principles there for today.

1.Hear O Israel :the Lord our God, the Lord is one!- This is known as the Shema from the Hebrew word for "hear". It is a call to listen to the laws of the God of heaven and earth who is one. Idol worshippers had multitudes of "gods" each of which and its own form of worship and own "laws". There was no point in memorizing these laws since the gods were multitudinous and capricious and the worshipper could at best placate them - never predict them. But since God is one then we have God whose laws are unifying, which last forever, which will not be changed by another God and which are worth remembering because they are the laws of the only god that matters.

2.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength. Scripture memory is not a legalistic duty but a way of reminding ourselves of the God who loves us and who we love. Its motivating power may include duty (its something we are supposed to do) but goes beyond duty to love. And this love is to be "full on" which means that Scripture memory should not be half-hearted and desultory but diligent and sincere.

3.And these words I command you today shall be in your heart. That is not just in our Bible on a shelf or even in our intellect filed under "Bible trivia" rather they are to be treasure in our heart. That which we treasure in our heart we remember in detail. Faces, promises, a lovers kiss, a beautiful day. These we rehearse and remember in vivid detail. We should treasure Scripture, in our heart, just like that.

4."You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. The Word of God is to be part of regular family life and not just left to the Sunday School or the Church. The Bible should be discussed at home like the newspaper or the TV news. And for us adults - nothing helps us learn better than teaching our own children - diligently.

5.{8} "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. {9} "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. The Bible needs to be visible - on your computer, on posters on your wall, on your T shirts and on your jewelry. In your music and in your art. In your reading and in your recreation. And as you remember God he will remember you to bless you.

6."So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, ....... when you have eaten and are full; {12} "then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. The great enemy of remembering God is our own material self-satisfaction. Why go to all that trouble of memorizing Scripture when life is so comfortable? Look at our cities and your question is answered! Unless we remember God we forget Him. And when we forget Him we forget the one who sustains us and blesses us and "things fall apart".

7."You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. {14} "You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you {15} '(for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth. Scripture memory promotes loyalty to God. it stops the drift to other religions and philosophies and steadies us against the encroachment of "foreign gods". Here Moses reminds us that we are to "take oaths in His name" - not in the name of Baal or Ashtaroth or Mammon. Our loyalty is to be with God alone.

Form a group of people to study Scripture together and memorise Scripture together. Remember Moses commands were for a nation. Groups have big advantages when it comes to learning - get your family, friends, church involved in Scripture memory and encouraging each other to remember God.

Here is a prayer for you: "Lord God Almighty whose Word is precious and is true instruct Your children through Your Spirit in the things of God. Cause them to remember You and delight in You and show us all how to treasure Your Word in our hearts. Amen."

This article may be freely reproduced for non-profit ministry purposes but may not be sold in any way. For permission to use articles in your ministry, e-mail the editor, John Edmiston at johned@aibi.ph.