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The Joyful Return to Scipture Memorization
19 Jan Posted by Neil Olcott
Over the years of my Christian journey I have had seasons of scripture memorization. While I was in seminary and commuted back and forth between Haverhill, Massachusetts and South Hamilton, where Gordon-Conwell Seminary is located, I had memorized and had perfect recall of over 120 verses. It was a great time as I would drive along and learn and review Scriptures.
All these years later, a failure to review those verses regularly and a few less brain cells have taken their toll on my recall. Fortunately, I recently have been blessed to be a part of two different discipleship groups that are both memorizing Scripture. It is such a blessing to have brothers in the faith join me in this wonderful Spiritual discipline and hold me accountable.
The Bible, of course, speaks enthusiastically and commandingly about the importance of God’s people being those who are able to quote Scripture from memory. Even children were commanded to be taught to memorize Scripture, and the common understanding was that everyone would know God’s Word by heart.
"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." - Deuteronomy 11:18-19 (NIV)
A recent quote I read in "The Great Omission” by Dallas Willard says, “This practice of memorizing the Scriptures is more important than a daily quiet time, for as we fill our minds with these great passages and have them available for our meditation, quiet time takes over the entirety of our lives."
That certainly places the value of Scripture memory at a high premium and speaks clearly to the importance of us, who call ourselves disciples, memorizing God’s Word.
God told us clearly that we are to immerse ourselves in Scriptures:
"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful." - Joshua 1:8 (NIV)
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 (NIV)
Jesus told us that we are to be a people who have His words “in us” so that we can live a life of faith in a unfaithful world:
"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." - John 15:7 (NIV)
So, I’m not sure how this will end up, but for this season I am really enjoying this discipline once again. Here are some helpful links to get you started with scripture memorization:
Also, I have been using an iPhone app called “Bible Memory Verses” by Woody Hays that I have really liked and will continue to use. You can find it in the App Store on your smart phone.