Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Memorizing Scripture

I am always impressed when I am speaking with someone who is able to recall a scripture almost instantly. No matter the topic of conversation, they can jump in and recite a verse that is relevant and helpful to the discussion.

Even in day to day life at home, there are so many times that I want to respond to my children or my husband or even (or especially) to my own thoughts with a verse of scripture.
When I find my 2 year old daughter is having trouble listening to me, wouldn't it be great to have "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord." Col 3:20 in your pocket?
When my husband and I are discussing something from opposing viewpoints, how about "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1?
When my day at home with two toddlers is getting the best of me and I feel myself slipping into old habits of anger and irritability... I would love to have this scripture written on my heart and ready to recall to admonish myself: "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
As Christians, it is so important to have scriptures ready to recall when in conversation with others, too. Either with our brothers and sisters in Christ or to unbelievers who could use an encouraging word. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
Some might be critical of memorizing scripture because of the concern that the context and/or meaning could be lost in strict memorization. We certainly would not want to be guilty of "vain repetition" as Matthew 6:7 warns about. I believe that depends on your intentions and execution of memorization. If you want to boast to your friends that you can recite the entire New Testament, that might be a problem. However, in the examples I set forth above, the memorization is playing more the role of "Therefore shall you lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul,..." Deuteronomy 11:18.
Our family has started using this method to memorize scripture. I'd love to say we've faithfully recited our verses every day, but in reality it has been more like 5 days out of 7 each week for the last two weeks. But even so, we've successfully memorized 3 or 4 verses and keep working on new ones.

The best part is, Katherine (my 2 year old) pointed to the box the other day and said "Bible tell me so?" (She likes to sing "Jesus loves me" and she has adapted the verse "for the Bible tells me so" to refer to the Bible) I picked up the box and asked her if we should read our verses. I read a couple out loud to her and then she said "A soft answer......" I was absolutely floored that she was recalling one of our memory verses! I encouraged her and asked her to keep going "A soft answer turn away...." I gave her a big hug and read the whole verse again to her. After only a couple weeks of working on these, my 2 year old was already starting to recall a verse! This just makes me feel even more strongly about involving the Bible in as much as possible at home.
According to Timothy 3:16 it is "inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness."

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