| How to Memorize Scripture
Prerequisites to a Successful Scripture Memory Program
The definition of a successful scripture memory program
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10)There are a few things which we can use to measure success when it comes to memorizing the word of God:
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:21-25)This is a good time to say that you do not need to memorize scripture to be a Christian. You need Jesus. You do not need to memorize scripture to be a godly person. So, if you choose not to memorize scripture, this does not make you a better or worse Christian than someone who does. On the other hand, you do need a knowledge of God's word, and because of its power, you owe it to yourself to learn as much of it as you can.
What are the basic requirements of someone who would memorize scripture?Before we even start talking about the methods and techniques of memorizing scripture, we must realise that we should have certain things in order first. A successful scripture memory program has several prerequisites.
The gospel is simple:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no-one can boast. (Eph 2:8-9)The bible says that each one of us has sinned and will someday stand before God to account for what we have done. There is nothing that we can do to clear our own names or win favour with God. But, because of his love for us, God sent Jesus to Earth to live a sinless life among us and then to suffer and die. After three days God raised him from the dead. Since he was perfect, he was made a sacrifice which covered all of our sins. This great Salvation can by yours, by faith, if you repent (turn away) from your sins and commit yourself to following and serving God. If you are reading this and you want to be a Christian, or are uncertain about your relationship with God, then send me an Email and we can discuss it.
In my experience, in many of the Churches that I have been in, I can sadly say that few people have the hunger and thirst for God that they should.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Pe 2:2)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Mt 5:6)
It is written: 'Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God' (Mt 4:4)
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63: 1-8)The Church in many nations seems to have become satisfied with the comforts that their country has to offer. We should long after God and his word like a baby craves milk. But we don't. If you have ever had children then you probably been introduced to the idea of demand feeding. In the first few weeks of the newborn's life, a nursing mother will feed her new baby as often as the baby asks for it. You understand why they use the word 'demand' only after you hear him crying at the top of his lungs saying, "I want to be fed and I want to be fed NOW!". We are satisfied with the quick feedings we get at Church and occasionally through the week. Could it be that we are so starved spiritually that we don't feel any hunger pains?
What did Jesus mean when he said 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven'? (Mt 5:3).
To be poor in spirit means that we see our total spiritual poverty before God and our utter dependence upon Him. Poverty of spirit must be our attitude toward ourselves. We must see that we can do nothing to commend ourselves to God. It must become clear to us that apart from Christ we are spiritually destitute. We may be well educated, but we are spiritually ignorant. We may be financially secure, but we are spiritually bankrupt. We may be the president of a corporation, but without Christ we are on the spiritual unemployment line.A person who is starving to death has only one thing on his mind. That is to obtain food and water. Nothing else matters. The hunger he feels is a driving force. This awareness of our own spiritual needs is one of the most valuable blessings a Christian can have while he is alive. It drives us forward to seek God on a continual basis. If you are to have a successful scripture memory program, you must hunger for it or else your zeal will fade and your attention may go elsewhere.
To be poor in spirit is to recognize that without Christ we can not do nothing. It is to recognize that without Christ we are nothing. It is to come before God with empty hands, humble in heart, seeking only to receive from Him. This kind of person is described in Isaiah 66:2: "To this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word." (1)
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Mt 6:5-6)
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor 9:24-27)Determination is making the decision that nothing is going to get in the way of what is important to me. A mature Christian realizes that life is a balancing act between all sorts of priorities. Different things contend for our time - family, job, friends, Church and community service, personal health and relaxation, etc. All these are important and have to be taken care of. Determination, though, is saying that I am going to work on my verses even if I have to force myself to stay awake. Determination is saying "I will not fail".
Webster's dictionary defines the word discipline as follows:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is short-sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-11)
Here we are given the assurance that all the tools we need to achieve 'life and godliness' are contained in our knowledge of God. And this knowledge is contained exclusively in the word of God. In the previous chapter we have shown that Paul put a strong emphasis on self-control and training as the way to godliness. Our responsibility is to put forth the effort to make knowledge of and obedience to the word of God the top priority in our lives. With the word in our hearts, God's Spirit can change us into the people we ought to be.
David knew this. Notice that he also prays for strength to resist sin. He has also done his part by hiding God's word in his heart.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11)
Only God can change our character, we cannot. But, it is our responsibility to spend our time and energy filling our minds and hearts with his word so that this process will be accomplished. This is the thing we must do if we are to receive the power to resist sin we were praying for.
Our task is to desire godliness, determine to be godly and to make it happen by
ordering our lives in such a way that the word can do its work. Such 'ordering' is not
easy. Discipline is not quite the same as determination and has even less to do with desire. Discipline is
formal, organized training with the goal of self-control. It is keeping our eyes focused
on the goal and not letting things get in the way. It is not easy, but it can be accomplished if you want to.
These are all part of a balanced and productive Christian life. You cannot be 'successful'
at memorizing scripture unless it is done in conjunction with the other disciplines of
the Christian life. A memorized verse is of little value
to you unless it becomes more than stored information, no matter how well
you can recite it. You must meditate on it for understanding
and you must apply it to your life.
Working with someone with the same goals as yourself can be an encouraging and productive experience. Testing one another commits what you have memorized into long-term memory. You can help each other through slow periods and with the memorization of difficult passages. Make it your goal to find someone who has the same desire to memorize scripture as you do and meet with them regularly to help each other out. You cannot live the Christian life alone.
1) J. David Hoke, Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2303 Evesham Rd. Voorhees, NJ. 08043. From a sermon found on the InterNet at http://www.ebc-nj.org:80/sermons/sm2.html on January 20, 1997