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Why Teach Others to Memorize Scripture?

The Scripture Memory Challenge - Step 2

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.

 

The Word of God is a wonderful mixture of encouragement and warning.  It contains words of comfort for those who seek God and words of rebuke to those who deny him by their actions and attitudes.  The Gospel teaches us how we may find peace and forgiveness with God.   As Christians, we are petitioned to submit to the Lordship of Christ.  Jesus sets the example of how we should live.  We are to show our love and thanks to him by being obedient to his word.  His command is simply that we must love one another as he has loved us.  He said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35).  But love is much more than an emotional feeling, it is a way of life and decision of the will to work for the benefit of others without much consideration of the cost to yourself. 

We love one another by building one another up using whatever gifts and resources that God has given us:

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.  Colossians 1:28-29

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,  to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  Ephesians 4:12-16

For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me."  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  Romans 15:1-4

          (Click here for other verses related to this topic)  

When I  say that we must build on another up, I am referring to a great number of possibilities.  We must help with others' basic physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.  Often these two areas overlap and affect one another.  We help each other in many ways:

The purpose of this is to fulfill the great commission.  We are to love one another and the end of this is to make disciples.  Jesus said:

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in  the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."  Matthew 28:18-20

The end of your labor is to see people brought to Christ then become mature Christians, bearing fruit, able to serve God himself.

My basic premise here is that each and every person has a roll to play in this process.

Colossians 3:16 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

Romans 15:14  I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

The biggest problem that the established Church has created for itself came about when it removed the job of ministry from the members and assigned it to the Church staff.  Thus we have those who are called Clergy and then there are the rest. Only a small percentage of the rest are involved in any ministry at all.  The reality is that we all are to be ministers for Christ.  We all have something to offer, something which we can give others. 

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,  and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.  1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Yes we can all be involved in the process of building one another up using whatever gifts and resources that God has given us.

Not everyone is a Pastor, but everyone can learn to care for others.  Not everyone is a teacher and understands and can communicate all the details of Theology which are needed to guide and protect a large congregation.  Not everybody is an evangelist an can share the gospel everybody he meets.  God has set aside certain people and called them to dedicate their full time to ministry. 

But everybody who has been following Christ for a number of years, and has been paying attention to their own teachers, can be of great help to those who are newer Christians or who are struggling in their own lives.  Everybody has something they can teach and give.  At this point I will connect the word 'teacher' simply to 'brother' or 'sister'.  The word 'teacher' implies authority and that is not what I am trying to communicate. The idea of mentor has some significance here.  If you are walking close to Christ then you without doubt have something to share with others who may have less certainty in deciding what is best and more trouble in handling their circumstances. 

I would like to interject two points here:

Firstly, there are more struggles in the lives of the members of your Church than you realize.  You may primarily see them at Church on Sunday and at some other times of the week. You may even meet with some of them for Bible study at someone's home.  But when you see others, you see them out of the context of their home and work life.   For a great many people, you do not see evidence of their struggles and challenges.  You do not see their pain or problems.  Just because everybody seems well does not mean that they are.  The truth is that a great many people do have problems that could be solved if the proper time and resources were spent. There are marital problems, problems with children, problems at work, problems with health, problems with addition, problems with lust and other sins.     People are good at hiding their struggles, and they do this for various reasons.  People are shy to share their problems, they may not see it as useful to share, and often they are afraid of being judged by others.  This is because people do judge one another.  I mention this so you do not think that there is no work to do.  There is lots to do.  I say this also so you will not feel alone if you are struggling with something.  You are not.  This is why I promote small groups within the Church.  A group of six to ten people who share openly and pray for one another can see tremendous freedom and healing come their way.  This must be properly controlled though.  The group's members must realize that the only thing harder than sharing your problem is hearing about the problems of others. If you hear about the problems of others you must use this information properly and not stand in judgment.  An attitude of judgment halts and kills the healing process in its tracks instantly.   If everyone realizes that they are in truth no more righteous than the others, then judgment will not be a problem

Secondly, before you teach others anything, you must be on the right path yourself.  The amount of time you spend in the word and in prayer each day is a good indicator of your own spiritual condition.  Are you seeing changes in your own life?  Having said that,  the point is that you do not have to have reached the point where you have 'arrived' to be helpful to others.  You just have to be making progress and going through the process.

The importance of Teaching others:

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.  Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs-- he wants to please his commanding officer.  Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.  The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.  Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.  Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,  for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;  if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.    Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.   Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.   Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.

  1 Timothy 2:1-16

Why Teach others and help them grow towards maturity in Christ? 

  1. So that there may be healing in the body of Christ and that  we all may become mature, and experience the freedom that comes through following Christ, knowing His forgiveness and living the life of love.  God wishes to build healthy and fruitful Christians through relationships we have with others.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

  1. Because it is part of the process of making disciples and ensuring the next generations have the same opportunity to hear God's word as you did yourself.

It has been said "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime."   Teaching someone how to pray and benefit from the word of God through their own study is doing just that.  You are teaching them to feed themselves and lessen their dependence on others.   If you listen to a sermon then someone is feeding you.  We all need that.  Most of us will never be chefs, able to make the best of foods.  But we all need to learn to cook and eat to keep ourselves fit.  One of the best things you can do for a fellow Christian is to teach him how to cherish the word of God and to feast on it regularly.  The truth is that most Christians in our Churches today do not have the habits and skills built into their daily lives to spend time in the word of God each day.  There are two reasons for this:

  1. They just do not know that a regular intake of the word of God is as important to a healthy (spiritual) life as a proper diet and exercise is to physical health.  The reason for this is because they have not been taught this nor do they have anyone to model it properly for them. Most people cannot learn unless they see something in practice and see that it is desirable. 

  2. Others know that it is important but they are prevented from doing so by various things.  The primary reason is that they have never bothered to take the time to make it a priority so it never becomes a habit. Again, they do not have anyone to help them make important live changes and assist them in learning new habits.  Others fail to spend time in the word of God because they are separated from God in their minds because of sin in their lives or in the lives of others around them.

People need to be taught what is good for them. This is true both for children and adults. 

Spending time in the word of God has several components.  There is intake, understanding and application.  There must be several forms of intake of the word of God:

Hearing:   We can benefit from the experience and study of other Godly men and woman who can explain the word of God through sermons, discussions and such.

Studying:  We need to isolate passages of scripture and use whatever tools we have available to gain an understanding of what it means.  There a lot which can be learned about how to properly interpret the Bible and there are several good books available in your Christian book store. 

Devotional:   Somewhat different than studying, we need to read and re read as much scripture as time allows.  While studying is more technical, devotional is more emotional and 'spiritual' or prayerful.   While every time you open the bible, you are interfacing with God, there are different reasons for reading it. 

Memorization:   Memorizing scripture word for word will ensure that it is at your fingertips when ever you need it.  Most of the time when we are faced with a decision in life or are prompted to react to a set of circumstances or face a temptation or conflict, there is no time to go and do a Bible study. If God's word is in your heart and mind then you have God's will and expectations for you in your heart and mind too.

With all these forms of putting the word of God into your head, there needs to be something in place to put it into your heart.  This is the purpose of meditation.  You see, if you have heard the word, have understood it through the teaching of others and your own study, and have even memorized those passages most significant to you, then you can learn how to put it into practice by prayer and meditation.

Meditation is the process of mulling it over and over in your mind trying to apply it to the things you are going through in your life now.  It is praying about what it means in the lives of yourself and those near you.

All these things, hearing, study, memorizing, prayer and meditation are habits which must be learned and built into your life.  The have great reward. But even so, they are difficult to master and typically cannot be achieved alone, without the help of others.  

If you have built these disciplines into your life then you can teach them to others.  Not only that, you can solve problems for others, then you can help them solve their own problems, then you can teach them how to solve many of their problems on their own without your help. 

If you can bring stability and fruitfulness to another's life, then this is your crown and joy.

Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!          Philippians 4:1 

This brings me to the Scripture Memory Challenge. Learn to use the scriptures yourself. Learn the importance of memorization and meditation and then put it into practice.  Then after you have started down this road then ask God for someone you can teach what you have learned.  If you do, you will find that the relationship that you establish with that person can be edifying for each of you.  Even Paul said this to those who he was in charge of teaching:

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith.  Romans 1:11-12

Find someone to meet with on a regular basis with whom you may share your struggles and pray.  During your meetings set goals for private Bible study times and scripture memorization and hold each other accountable for the goals you make

Then one day, perhaps after a year, you will find that your 'student' has grown up, so to speak, and is ready to be a positive influence on the lives of others himself. 

My goal for the Scripture Memory Challenge is nothing less than this: I would like to see a desire for memorizing scripture, and an equal desire to obey it, to spread through the entire Church throughout the world.  If everyone who sees the importance of memorizing scripture teaches at least one person a year to memorize scripture also, and that person moves on to do the same thing, then this goal can actually be achieved.   

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Colossians 3:16 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.

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Copyright (c) 2000 Stephen Simpson. 
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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION,
Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by
permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers