Memorizing scripture is like a preparing a good, juicy steak.
Yep, that was my thought a few days ago. I had purposed in my heart to memorize scripture this year. AGAIN. I’ve tried and given up a hundred times. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why it was so hard hard for me! Other than the fact that I’m, well, not getting any younger. And you know, at this season in my life, if I can remember anything it’s miracle.
As I was pondering memorizing God’s word, I realized I had been approaching it all wrong. I had arbitrarily chosen a verse, and tried to remember it. I wrote it down several times over the course of a few days, then moved on to another one. That just wasn’t working for me. One day, a friend on Facebook posted about her life changing scripture memory experience. She was using the Beth Moore Siesta Scripture Memory plan, which is one verse every two weeks. Hallelujah! I think I can do that!
Choose a method
I bought a set of spiral index cards (recommended by Beth Moore). It’s small enough to fit easily in my purse. I prop it on my desk at work. It literally keeps me going during the day. I glance at the cards often, close my eyes and recite the verse. Sometimes I will write it down several times. Making progress! Another suggestion was to begin with a verse that is meaningful to you. By starting with a scripture near and dear to your heart in this season – but one you haven’t memorized – you’ll feel like a rock star at the end of the first two weeks, because you know it up down and sideways!
Begin with a verse that is meaningful to you
Next, I chose an arbitrary verse that I didn’t really know. Hmmm, getting a little harder! I realized if it isn’t a scripture that has personal meaning for me, I had to get to know it. I needed to marinate in it like a good steak, soaking in the seasoning. (Did you think I had forgotten about the steak analogy?) I needed to spend time with this verse.
How can you get to know a scripture? Read it in several different translations. Chose key words and look at their meaning in the original Hebrew or Greek. Check out the cross references. Do a little scripture mapping.
Ask questions. Psalm 61:2 says “From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Where do I have to be when I call to Him? Anywhere, from the end of the earth. When do I call? When my heart is faint, and I’m feeling alone, afraid or abandoned. Who do I cry out to? God, my Rock and my Refuge.
Marinate in the verse
Just like that wonderful juicy steak I devour, I also need to ingest the scripture.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. Ezekiel 3:3 (NIV)
What happens when we eat good food? It provides nutrients and keeps us healthy. Food fuels our energy and keeps us going all day. When we add God’s word to our daily diet, it provides nutrients for spiritual growth. It keeps me going all day long.
But you know what? Don’t get comfortable there. Dig into scriptures that challenge you (and possibly give you indigestion).
Perhaps you’ve eaten food that didn’t agree with you. Same with God’s word. Sometimes we find His revealed will in scripture hard to digest. How about that scripture that tells us to love and pray for our enemy (Luke 6:27). Oooh, heartburn. What about the one that says pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Anybody need some Tums?
One of the verses I memorized was 1 Corinthians 13:5:
Love…”does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered”
As I memorized, chewed on, scripture mapped and got to know the verse, it began to make me uncomfortable. Because you see, I was failing at all things “love” each day at work. What an eye opener. By marinating in the verse, I realized I was blatantly ignoring what it said to do. I was rude, selfish and irritable.
Choose a scripture that challenges you
If you are having trouble persevering in your quest to memorize God’s word, please don’t give up! You can do it, and there are so many online resources to help you. My friend Kristi Woods has a Scripture Memory System that you can check out here. Jana, over at Sweet to the Soul has a beautiful Scripture Memory Journal and Verse Mapping Pages.
Don’t give up!
The Holy Spirit will bring to mind the scriptures for you. But we have to do our part: we have to put the words in our minds!
Grace be with you,
This post originally appeared on More Than Yourself, the blog of Kristine Brown. Hop over for a visit – you’ll be glad you did!