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With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.  I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.   I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.   I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.                  Psalm 119:13-16

 

Memorizing scripture can be a wonderful aid to your walk with God.   King David found great delight in Gods word and took pains to know and understand it.  Memorizing scripture provides fuel for times of  meditation and reflection and ensures that His word is available to us whenever we need it. It helps us make better choices and avoid falling into temptation. It  supports us when we are discouraged and keeps us from sinful pride.  It also helps us to minister to the needs of others.  The primary everyday duty of a Christian is to build up and encourage his brothers and sisters.  What better way could you achieve this than to fill your mind and heart with the word of God and let it radiate out as you go about your day to day life. 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.          Colossians 3:16 

If  more Christians who followed this pattern then the Church would be better equipped to meet the needs of our unhappy society.  People are looking for revival in the Church and have tried to find it in various places.  Revival comes to the Church only when her people return to the word of God and obey it with sincerity of heart and with a joyful mind.  A revived Church exists to please God and the spread of the gospel will be certain.   Therefore, to assist in this I present the Scripture Memory Challenge:

 

Step 1

Determine that you will assign yourself the task of committing a small portion of God's word to memory each and every day.

Step 2

Make it a goal to teach and encourage at least one other person each year to make scripture memorization a part of their lives too.

Step 3

As you teach others to memorize scripture, prepare them for the day when they too can encourage others to memorize, and so create an ever-increasing network of those who memorize God's word.

 

Introducing the Scripture Memory Challenge to your Church or Small group

I have written this article to give some suggestions as to how to introduce Scripture Memorization to your Church, family or Small Group.

If you are interested in memorizing scripture and want to see people at your Church memorize scripture as well, then you probably are quite excited and enthusiastic about it.  The primary thing to understand is that most of the people in your Church or small group probably will not share your enthusiasm right away.  So you should not be in a hurry to change things.  Change takes time.  Do not get discouraged. 

Remember that it is God's Spirit working in the heart's of his people that brings change. 

I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them.   I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.   Jeremiah 32:9-10

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.       Ezekiel 11:19-20 

The place to start therefore, is prayer.  Prayer that your own heart would be filled with God's wonderful word and that he would place this same desire in the hearts of those around you.

Have you noticed that many of the prayers in the Bible are not asking for things or a change in circumstances, (though these are perfectly valid types of prayer), but rather are prayers that God would reveal himself to others. 

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you  to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,  in whom we have redemption,  the forgiveness of sins.                         Colossians 1:9-14

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.  2 Thessalonians 1:11

Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.  1 Thessalonians 3:10 

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.  Colossians 4:12 

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-- to the glory and praise of God.  Philippians 1:9-11

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.   Philippians 1:4-6

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.    Ephesians 3:16-21

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,  I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,  which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:15-21

We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection.  2 Corinthians 13:9

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  John 17:15 

Yes, the place to start is prayer.  Pray that God would reveal his will to his people and that his people would respond. When you pray, consider the attitude of Isaiah, who was a righteous man, and did not hesitate to start his prayer with the word 'I'.

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."               Isaiah 6:5  

Pray that God would change your heart and give you people of a like mind.  With this in mind, after you have prayed for a season, you may proceed ....

If you want to see others benefit from memorizing scripture then you should take into consideration the following points:

  1. People are slow to change even at the best of times. (Just take an honest look at yourself).  New habits take time to establish and old habits take time to replace.

  2. People typically do not change if left to themselves even if there intentions are enthusiastic towards change.  They need the encouragement and help of a group of others.

  3. Change is only made if people are willing and can make a commitment freely with no pressure. 

These things are not negative things, but describe the framework from where we must teach.  

If you want to see people memorizing scripture then you have do do more than host a night or morning meeting devoted to the topic.  A structured lesson about scripture memorization will certainly heighten the awareness of your people that scripture memorization is worth pursuing, and it may give them some ideas as to how to do it, but it will probably not make many true memorizers. This is because emotional excitement does not change lives.  Emotional excitement always wears off eventually.  The thing that forms habits is practicing those habits until fruit is seen. Unless there is some sort of follow up, it is certain that a well prepared lesson on scripture memorization will have almost no effect.  Half the people attending will be those who already memorize anyway.  The other half of the people attending will probably just go away and eventually forget about it.

The way to ensure success is to have both teaching and follow up.  Your people need to agree to a reasonable set of goals and further agree to have someone check up on them.

This is why I am proposing the Scripture Memory Challenge, because it takes into consideration how people actually learn things which are meant to effect their lifestyle.

The Scripture Memory Challenge is a simple plan to teach the disciple of memorizing scripture:

It starts with the presumption that you are memorizing scripture yourself and do so as a regular part of your life.   The goal of the Scripture Memory Challenge is to determine to spend time on a regular basis with one person who is just starting to memorize scripture himself/herself.  During the year or so that you have agreed to meet (say once a week for an hour), you offer support and encouragement to one another, set goals, check up on each others progress and experiment with memorization and review techniques and tools.  After a year the person you are meeting with should have scripture memorization firmly established as a life-long habit.  When the time is right, you would agree to stop meeting with each other.  At this time you would each be free to find someone else to work with during the next year. The no-rush procedure would ensure that solid habits are formed.  The original person in the process will multiply himself to many, many people in only a few years. 

 

I'm still working on this section. Please check back real soon...

 

I will bow down toward your holy temple
 and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, 
for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Psalm 138:2


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Copyright (c)
2002  Stephen Simpson. 
All rights reserved. You may use the material on these pages freely, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION,
Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by
permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers