The Scripture Memory Challenge
What - Why - How - Quick Summary!
Determine that you will assign yourself the task of committing a small portion of God's word to memory each and every day.
|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.|
|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.|
The verses given below illustrate the important place the word of God is to have in the lives of his children. His word is a source of nourishment and refreshment. It is a light guiding us in a dark place. His word satisfies us more than the choicest of foods and the best things you can own. It keeps us from sin, rebukes us when we do, but shows us the way back to his table after we have wondered away. It provides us an example of how we must live and prepares us for the only thing which is truly certain in our lives: that one day each of us will stand before our judge and redeemer to give account.
|Psalms 1:1-2||Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.|
|Psalms 119:32||I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.|
|Psalms 119:9-11||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|
|Ecclesiastes 12:13||Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.|
|Psalms 119:105||Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.|
|John 17:17||Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.|
The Bible is all this and more. This is why the wise person sets himself to knowing and obeying God's word. Jesus said:
If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15
Obedience to God essentially means to act and think appropriately during the course of our everyday lives. It means to act the same as Jesus would in every ordinary situation we find ourselves in. (Hence the popular expression WWJD, 'What Would Jesus Do?'). Our obedience to the word of God plays itself out in how we relate to all other people, whether they be family, friends, colleagues, or strangers, and in how we conduct ourselves in the privacy of our own thoughts and homes. It is really more a matter of being rather than doing.
God cares for us, and his primary concern for us is that we obey him. Period. But unless we are familiar with God's word, we will will have trouble putting it to use. We cannot be familiar with it unless we spend a little time with God and his word each and every day. We spend time with God when we pray and when we meditate on his word.
Unlike some forms of meditation, Christian meditation has a real object. We meditate on the things God has taught us from life and from his word so we can understand it better and can put it into practice.
When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters,when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. And he said to man, 'The fear of the Lord-- that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.'" Job 28:25-28
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
Like obedience, meditation is not possible unless we are familiar with his Word. Meditation is something you do in your mind and in your heart. Any time you are alone with your thoughts, you are meditating on something. This happens at all points in the day, sometimes only for a few moments and sometimes for longer periods of time. We can legitimately think about all sorts of things, and of course, it does not always have to be 'spiritual', nor can it be. However, the things we meditate on, that is the things you think about, are not always constructive, but are often unconstructive. What I mean is that often the things we think about show our anger, bitterness, greed, impatience, vengeance, or the lust of or hearts.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
We are to be careful of what we meditate
it forms our character and our character determines our actions.
We need to fill our minds with things which produces good fruit instead of bad. Exposing yourself to gossip, pornography, crude talk, etc. fills your mind with things which nourishes meditation on things which do not lead to the kind of growth God desires.
Yes, we need to fill our minds with things which fuel a clean and healthy thought life, because a healthy thought life can lead to the kind of growth God desires.
We can feed our minds with many things that are good, but my primary concern in this article is the Word of God. We need to feed our minds with the Word of God.
Reading Hearing Studying Memorizing
The above illustration shows how meditation is held up by four major forms of intake of the word of God. Firstly, we need to read it ourselves. It is important to set aside a few minutes each day to read the word of God yourself. Secondly, we need to hear it. This allows us to be encouraged by the learning and experiences of others. Thirdly, we need to study it ourselves. Reading books and studying passages we do not understand by using commentaries and other resources promotes understanding. Finally, we need to spend time memorizing the word of God. This ensures that the word of God is always at our fingertips whenever we need it wherever we are.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalms 16:7,8
Filling your mind with the word of God can bring healing to your soul as medicated cream to a burn.
Memorizing the word of God is not easy to do because of the discipline that it requires. It is hard work and our minds resist that kind of thing. But it is worth the effort.
The first thing to do is just start. Go get your Bible, copy down the passage which has most recently stood out to you on a 3x5 card and put it in your shirt pocket. When ever you have a moment review it in your mind. When you know it well, add another. When you know that well, add another still and keep this up on a regular basis. As you add more and more, make sure that you review the older verses to keep them fresh. Figure out how you learn best and do it.
The second thing to do is to keep at it. The only real mistake you can make is to quit. The important thing is to be consistent. Do a little each day, and determine not to miss a day.
The third thing to do is to work with someone else. If you work with someone else you can encourage, support and check up on one another to make sure you are always moving ahead.
This brings me to the point of the article, to highlight what I call the Scripture Memory Challenge. Make it a point to make scripture memorization a regular and constant part of your daily life. But don't stop there. The challenge is not only to do it yourself, but to teach others to memorize scripture too, so they also can benefit from it.
My challenge to you is to make scripture
a part of your life and to be determined to
teach one person each year to do the same thing too.
But when you are teaching others, keep in mind that the goal is that they, like you, can make memorizing scripture a regular part of their lives, and that they, like you, can teach others to memorize scripture too!
If you learn to make memorizing scripture a lifestyle, and introduce this to others, who in turn teach others, the result will be a ever expanding network of those whose wish is to put God's word into practice.
Interested in the Scripture Memory Challenge? Send me an email
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
Copyright (c) 2001 Stephen Simpson.
All rights reserved. You may use the material on these pages freely, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever.
Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by
permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL