Sunday, November 9, 2008

Scripture memorization

There are a lot of verses in the Bible about the importance of reading God's Word and storing it away in our brains.

"Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee." Psalm 119:105

"Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life." John 5:39

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." I Peter 3:15

Honestly, I can't think of any better manual to help us in our lives than one written by God Himself. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness -- that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

I heard it explained like this last week.
DOCTRINE = what is right
REPROOF = what is NOT right
CORRECTION = how to make it right
INSTRUCTION = how to keep it right

I really believe that we can find answers to all our questions and problems in the Bible. Sure, it doesn't address every specific issue that we might face today. Does the Bible say we should not smoke? No, but it says we should take care of our bodies. Does the Bible say women should wear skirts and dresses only? No, but it says we are to dress modestly. Some issues, the Bible has VERY CLEAR statements for or against them. For instance, obedience to parents is a command and not optional. The Bible says murder is wrong. EVERY TIME. Even if it's an unborn baby. Certain things may not be as clearly laid out, but we can look to the Bible every time for principles that will guide us in the right direction.

I am really thankful that I went to two schools growing up, and later college, that put a special emphasis on memorizing Scripture. I grew up memorizing at least one verse a week for Sunday school. Also, we were required for school to memorize passages of Scripture every few weeks. One year, we memorized quite a few verses from the book of Proverbs. In third grade, I memorized the entire chapter of Hebrews 11 (40 verses!). In high school, we had a new passage every week, and we had to write them out from memory and be graded on it. In college, every Bible class/elective required a few verses a week for memorization.

I tell you all this not to boast about the number of verses I have memorized in my life. Frankly, memorizing Scripture really does nothing for you if you do not believe the words you are memorizing. It means nothing if you are not gleaning from the verses you have learned and applying them to your life. I could memorize long passages from great classic novels, and what good would it do me?? Knowing every verse of Jingle Bells might be entertaining for some, but not exactly worth anything. However, taking God's Word -- written directly to us and for us -- and tucking it away in our memory helps us to live as we should.

In all honesty, I really haven't memorized any verses in a while. At least not any new ones. The other day, I decided to see how many Psalms I could remember that I have memorized in the past. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how many I could write out. While my brain is still young, I want to continue to fill it with good things -- Scripture that is profitable! Every week, there is a memory verse in our church bulletin. I never really paid attention to it before, but I think I am going to start taking those verses, writing them out on cards, and trying my best to memorize them throughout the week.

After all, knowing the entire dialogue from Napoleon Dynamite probably isn't going to make a big difference in how I live my life. It's not something I can quote to someone and help them learn how they can go to Heaven. It's not going to help me know what is right and wrong. It's not going to help me encourage or help someone. It's not going to help me stand up to the devil. It's not going to help me study the Scriptures more effectively.

The Bible can do all these things and more. I am so glad God wrote down His Word for us, and we have it so readily available to us. I'll let you know how the memorizing goes.


Kay said...

i like this post. its like, I can quote half of "mean girls" but can't remember a verse from when I was 11. My mom was just telling me today to remember to keep reading my Bible. Thanks for the encouragment! Oh, and I hope you post pictures if you paint your cat ;)

Dyanna said...

this was a super post! thanks for writing it all out.

and i like the new background :)

Katina said...

I couldn't agree more. It is a discipline that I don't do as much as I should. I often need a deadline or an accountability partner to get the job done! :)

Thanks for sharing.

I have an idea...have you ever posted about how Canada is different from the U.S.? I would be interested to learn more about how it is up there.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. :) And I will work on getting a US vs. Canada post written. I think I did a silly one a while ago, but I can definitely write more.