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Ten Reasons to Memorize Big Chunks of the Bible

in Christianity/Salvation
Memory Verse
Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

by Jon Bloom –

You can memorize big chunks, even books, of the Bible. Unless you’re part of the very small percentage of us who suffer from a traumatic brain injury or stroke or disability, you really can. And you should. But why should you?

1. Because you have a bad memory.

Don’t say you can’t memorize because you have a bad memory. That’s why you need to memorize. I have a bad memory too. I think it’s worse than average — seriously. I forget names of people I know and see regularly! I have to force my faulty, inefficient brain to drive things that matter most into my long-term memory. This only happens by the process of repeating (memorizing) every day over a period of time. You’d be surprised what you can commit to memory if you have a simple system and put forth some effort. I’ve memorized five New Testament books and am working on my sixth. And that’s because I have a bad memory.

2. Because you need to feed your mind.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. But how can we do this if we can’t remember such things? General positive Bible concepts are not very helpful. We need specific “precious and very great promises” in our memory to draw on when we are alone and battling discouragement or anger or lust or fear (2 Peter 1:4).

3. Because the Bible is too accessible to you.

It’s strange how having an abundance of something can result in our neglecting it. If the Bible’s always there on our tables, tablets, phones, and computers, we can dip in, read sections, and search for key words when needed, but feel no urgency to really internalize it. Memorizing is one way to fight that delusion.

4. Because you have the Internet.

Unfortunately, the Internet is teaching us how not to read. We are becoming information scanners, quickly browsing but not digesting very much. We are losing patience for deeper, more reflective reading. Memorizing longer passages of Scripture forces us to reflect deeply on meaning and application.

5. Because you don’t know the Bible as well as you think you do.

Have you ever had a conversation with a friend you’ve known for a while that made you realize there were dimensions to them you never knew, and suddenly you understood them better and felt closer to them? That’s what memorizing longer passages and even books of the Bible will do for you. You will find nice Bible friends become earnest confidants and counselors.

6. Because God’s word will become more precious to you.

The things we invest most in become most precious to us. If you spend minimal time in the Bible, don’t expect it to be precious to you. But if you spend hundreds of cumulative hours storing large portions of God’s word in your heart so that the word of Christ dwells in you richly, it will become a precious part of your essential life (Psalm 119:11; Colossians 3:16; Deuteronomy 32:47).

7. Because you will see more of God’s glory.

We can only know a few things about a person by what they make. We can really know them well by what they say. Mountains and microbes, galaxies and goats, they each say some wonderful things about God. But to really know God, to really see and be in awe of the things that are most glorious about him, we must listen carefully to what he says about himself, because God reveals himself primarily by his word (1 Samuel 3:21). Memorizing his word helps us listen carefully and perceive more glory.

8. Because it will fine-tune your hooey gauge.

The world lies to you all the time. The devil is the father of lies (John 8:44), and the world lies in his power (1 John 5:19). And your sin nature lies to you. And false brothers lie to you. The better you know God’s word, the more skillful you become in handling it (2 Timothy 2:15). The clearer you have his word in your mind, the more accurately you will discern demonic hooey. Having a lot of God’s word in your head will fine-tune your hooey gauge.

9. Because you’re going to suffer.

Suffering is coming your way (or is here) and it’s confusing and disorienting. Having memorized big chunks of Scripture is so helpful at such times. Not only will you have specific texts come to mind, but even when, due to pain or fear, you struggle recalling them, you will know right where to go. Memorizing books imprints those books in your mind. You will know which chapters and sections will speak to your suffering.

10. Because your brothers and sisters are going to suffer.

The same is true for bringing gospel comfort and counsel to your brother or sister who is suffering. Memorizing large portions not only serves you, but also is a way of loving others by being able to provide them with faith-sustaining truth when it’s most needed.

How to Memorize Long Portions of Scripture

Review, Read, Recite, Repeat

You do it one or two verses at a time. John Piper and I, along with several others, use a very simple technique that Andrew Davis developed. Let’s use John 1:1–3 as an example.

[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

[2] He was in the beginning with God.

[3] All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Day 1:

  • Read John 1:1 ten times (read it each time to imprint the words in your mind).
  • Then close your Bible and recite it ten times (I suggest reciting it aloud).

Day 2:

  • Refresh John 1:1 and then recite it ten times by memory.
  • Read John 1:2 ten times.
  • Close your Bible and recite it ten times.

Day 3:

  • Recite John 1:1 one time by memory.
  • Recite John 1:2 ten times by memory.
  • Read John 1:3 ten times.
  • Close your Bible and recite it ten times.

And on and on. Review, read, recite, repeat. If you repeat a verse by memory once a day for one hundred days, it will be in your permanent long-term memory.

If you want to know how to sustain a habit of reviewing, Andrew Davis has a 30-page book on how to do this (only $0.99 on Kindle!).

You can do this! You really can! And you should. Memorizing big chunks of Scripture is not as hard as you think and will be one of the best investments of your life for the ten reasons listed above and more. You will not regret it.

This article was originally written here.

Everyone Is a Prayer Novice

in Articles/Christianity
Praying Hands
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

by Scott Boren –

Everyone is a prayer novice.

With that in mind, take a deep breath and relax. Let any pressure you feel about prayer or being spiritual roll off of you.

It does not matter if you are a brand new Jesus follower or if you have seen God work great miracles over decades. The difference between the two is microscopic when compared to the vastness of God. It’s like a grasshopper comparing itself with an ant. However, when you set both next to an elephant, the differences in size fall away.

Sometimes, we compare our prayers to those who seem so comfortable praying, using the right words, while referring to Scriptures and expressing themselves with passion and confidence. I remember praying with a few people years ago and voiced a short, somewhat tentative request. After we said our “amens” a guy in the group corrected my theology regarding my prayers. He told me that my prayers did not quite reflect what God was all about. I guess he was the grasshopper and I the ant.

Even if I am ant-sized prayer-er, what difference does it make? Why compare myself to others when we are trying to connect with the maker of the universe? Why take pride in my prayers when we are talking to the One who cannot be fully comprehended? When it comes to prayer, there are no experts. We are all novices trying to express the true voice of prayer in the midst of so many distracting false voices.

Henri Nouwen stated in one of his last books,

Prayer, then, is listening to that voice—to the One who calls you the Beloved. It is to constantly go back to the truth of who we are and claim it for ourselves. I’m not what I do. I’m not what people say about me. I’m not what I have. Although there is nothing wrong with success, there is nothing wrong with popularity, there is nothing wrong with being powerful, finally my spiritual identity is not rooted in the world, the things the world gives me. My life is rooted in my spiritual identity. Whatever we do, we have to go back regularly to that place of core identity.

The true voice of prayer brings us back to the place of hearing God’s true voice about our core identity. This is the message that we will not hear from the daily grind of the world, where we learn about how we must perform for our self-worth. We try to find life by seeking the false voices of power, prestige and possessions, the three great obsessions of our culture.

The false voice of power tells us that we can get life as we gain control over our situations and others. We look for ways to advance in authority and power to hold sway. Those with the most authority have greater value. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” not “Blessed are the strong and powerful.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

The true voice of prayer leads us on a path of giving up the pursuit of power, one that gives us permission to be weak instead of trying to cover up our limitations. On that path we hear the true voice saying, “My beloved, you are accepted just as you are.”

The false voice of prestige whispers that we need to be someone worthy of other’s attention. The people that matter have the public eye, or at least that seems to be the case. But prestige is only a limp replacement for what we long for in the core of our being. I love how The Message translates this passage by Paul:

Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

The true voice of prayer leads us on a path of love that frees us to seek and see God. There we hear the true voice saying, “My beloved, you are loved with a love that cannot be greater.”

The false voice of possessions also challenges this path of connecting with God. Our culture tells us in more ways than one that those who die with the most toys do actually win somehow. We buy, we collect, and when we cannot buy and collect we wish we could. More is never enough because we are told that those who have the most matter the most.

Go back and read Paul’s words again about weakness, being nobodies, and being chosen by God to receive his love. The true voice of prayer frees us to let go and find treasures in another place than in possessions. We hear the true voice saying, “My beloved, you don’t need more. You don’t need to attain more. You don’t need to press more. I will take care of you.”

We are all novices, learning to express our true voice to God and hear God’s true voice to us. It’s a journey that we can never complete because God’s infinite love for us is, after all, infinite.

This article was originally written here.

Examine Yourself

in Christianity/Quote/Salvation
Photo by Aldric RIVAT on Unsplash

If sin and unrighteousness characterize your life, there is a possibility you are a disobedient Christian—but there is a greater possibility you are not a Christian at all.

John MacArthur
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