Thursday, April 30, 2009

Scripture Memorization

"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." - Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

Memorizing Scripture is a powerful way to keep the Word of God in your heart and mind, and to renew that mind. Although it's a practice that many find scary or difficult, there really is a lot of benefit to taking your favorite verses (and/or those that speak to a real need) and making the effort to memorize them. (If you're thinking it's too hard, jump down to the bottom of this point and learn about another way to do this!)

There is no shortage of tips and advice on how to memorize, and what, but I'll give a few basic ideas and point you to the Navigators Topical Memory System for more info - it was one of the first widely available tools for memorizing Scripture and is still popular today. I'll also point out the Memory Verses website with good info, and a blog post on how to use your iPod for Scripture memorization along with the online ESV bible with audio capability.
  • Start slowly, with a few short verses that you like, and work up from there
  • Know what verse means and pray before you begin
  • Re-read the verse several times in a row, along with the reference
  • Stick to your favorite bible translation to read and use the same version
    for all verses you memorize. (Trust me, you'll thank me later)
  • Write them out on cards, or print them out and carry them with you,
    looking at them when you're stuck waiting in line somewhere
  • Practice your verses while exercising or some other rote task
  • Memorize the exact words, don't stop when you "kind of" have it
  • Review is as critical as learning brand new verses, for long term memory
    (Having one verse on one index/note card will help greatly with review)
  • Doing it with a friend or small group is even better, as you can
    encourage and quiz one another
  • What you take in multiple ways you remember better, so say the
    verses out loud, or use an audio bible in the same version
  • Don't give up! You can do it!  :)
As a music lover one of the ways I love to memorize Scripture is with music. There is a great series from Integrity Music called Scripture Memory Songs, with over two dozen albums. What I love about this series is that it's not some song that throws in a verse, it's just the Bible verses, put to music in creative ways. Some songs I first listened to about fifteen years ago still run through my mind - in fact I still sing "Do Not Be Anxious" to my young children when they wake up at 1am with a nightmare (Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (NIV, and yes, that was purely from memory!)  Below is another one I remember well, Romans 8:1-2, from the 'Grace' CD in this series.

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