Thursday, January 13, 2011

Memorize & Meditate

MEMORIZING & MEDITATING
Pastor Glenn Leatherman

There is nothing that compares with the excitement of memorizing Scripture.  Charles Swindoll summed it up nicely when he wrote:

I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture.  That's right.  No other single discipline is more useful and rewarding than this.  No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends!  Your prayer life will be strengthened.  Your Witnessing will be sharper and much more effective.  Your attitudes  and outlook will begin to change,  Your mind will become alert and observant.  Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced.  Your faith will be solidified.[i]

Despite these marvelous benefits, far too few Christians have made Scripture memorization a lifestyle.  For the most part, it is not because they don't want to, but because they have never been taught how to.  While they may think they have bad memories, the reality is that they simply have untrained memories.  I am convinced that anyone, regardless of age or acumen, can memorize Scripture.  God has called us to write His Word on the tablet of our hearts (Proverbs 7:1-3; Deuteronomy 6:6), and with the call He has also provided the ability to do so.  Your mind is like a muscle.  If you exercise it, you will increase its capacity to remember and recall information.  If you don't, like a muscle, it will atrophy. 

In memorizing anything it important to memorize in context.  So many times we know or memorize Bible verses, sayings, or a person name because it (or they) interest us.  We remember things we already think are true and forget things that may bother us.  We will memorize and remember things that are true and important to us.  Basically the things we love the most we hide in our heart.

Do we really love and fear God if we do not hide His Word in our hearts?  How can we meditate on God's Word if we don't hide His Word in our hearts?  Where do we look for truth in our lives? - in our experiences, feelings, circumstances, others opinions, books, or in God and His Word.  Each of these sources is limited except for God and His Word.  We can learn from others opinions, books , experiences, etc; but they are not infallible and inerrant sources. In fact the Bible claims to be the sole source for truth.  So we need to be discerning.  And as far as our relationship to God and how we should live; the Bible says:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His glory and goodness.
                                                                                                                                                                2 Peter 1:3.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture cane about by the prophet's own interpretation.  For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke for God as they were carries along by the Holy Spirit.
                                                                                                                                                                2 Peter 1:19-21.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thought's of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgments:  For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?  But we have the mind of Christ.
                                                                                                                                                                2 Corinthians 2:11-16

All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
                                                                                                                                                                2 Timothy 3:16


                We need to develop a view of God's Word that is far above any philosophies of men that we may come across or experience that we may have..  Then and only then will we begin to memorize and meditate on God's Word. and realize that it is completely true and sufficient to that which it speaks.  Our Cry should be "Sola Scripturia," which means "only the Scriptures" are sufficient to discern the truth and the lies about how we should live and change.




MEMORIZATION OUTLINE
The following is a suggested way to memorize passages and books of the Bible.

MEMORIZE 2 or more VERSES A DAY

MORNING - 5 MINUTES


1. READ the verse allowed 3 times.

2. SAY the verse out loud once with out looking at the scriptures. Do not worry if you do not have it perfect.  You perfect your verses in your reviewing process.

3. WRITE the verse on paper or card once. Make sure you write it exactly.

4. READ the verse you wrote 3 times.

5. SAY it from memory.  Remember do not worry if it is perfect.  Just say it the best you can and go on and memorize the next verse.  The perfection of your memorization will come in your review.

6. REPEAT steps 1-5 for the next verse. If done memorizing for the day go to step 7.

7. SAY all of the verses you have learned that day from memory the best you can 3 times.  Again do not get hung up on perfection here.



NIGHT - 5 MINUTES


8. Review and Say the past 5 days verses from memory; which I call my "Current Window" of verses.  If just starting out just review all the verses you have memorized so far.

9. The net effect of this memorizing system is to have (once you have gone past 5 days) 10 current verses in this case (your "Current Window" of verses) that you are reviewing each day.

10. Memorize Monday - Friday and take the weekends off.

11. During the weekends you can review all of the book or passage you are memorizing. Not just the 10 current verses.

12. You can increase the number of verses you are memorizing as it becomes easier. You can become better and better at memorizing where 2 verses will be too easy. 

13. Remember that a verse is not memorized until you can't forget it!!  (ie. Just try to forget your name!)

14. Here are a few practical tips to remember:

  • Set Goals.  He who aims at nothing invariably hits it.
  • Make goals attainable.  If your goals are unrealistic, you will undoubtedly become discouraged - regardless if they are too low or to high.
  • Memorize with a family member or friend.
  • Use normally unproductive time to review what you have memorized, such as while waiting in lines, or falling asleep.


[i] Charles R. Swindoll, Seasons of Life, (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1983), 53.

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