We have been in the book of Romans for a few months now and have reached a section where Paul has quoted a fair bit of Scripture to ram a point home (Rom 3:10-18). Paul wouldn’t have had a Bible on his lap as he dictated them – they were verses he had learnt and could recall as needed. I’ve been thoroughly challenged to renew the spiritual discipline of memorising Scriptures.
Learning Scripture is about as popular as sausages in a synagogue, but is probably one of the most helpful things to grow in the Christian life.
- Helping us not to sin – Psalm 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” Paul exhorts us to “by the Spirit…put to to death the deeds of the body” Roms 8:13. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God Eph 6:17.
- Daily triumph over Satan – Jesus quoted Scripture when tempted by Satan in Matt 4.
- Helping friends and family – Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” We won’t always have a Bible to hand, but recalled Scripture has power to cut to the heart for encouragement, building up and challenge.
- Witnessing to friends. The Gospel may be summed up in 4 things
- God is holy
- People are not
- Jesus died for us
- Respond by turning to Jesus with faith
Learning some verses for each of those headings will help. The power in Billy Graham’s preaching was in “The Bible says…”
- Most of all enjoying the presence of God – I love at those sometime all too short quiet moments in a day to be able to enjoy the presence of God. Pondering over some precious memorised Scripture is a rich way to do that.
Dallas Willard “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization”
Chuck Swindoll “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture… 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”
How to memorise Scripture…
We have short-term memory and long-term memory. In simple terms the more we review something, the more long-term the memory becomes.
Some of us are visual people, some are oral and some can remember writing best. I hate being put in a box – I’m a bit of all three, so to learn a verse I write it out while reading it out aloud and that covers the bases!
– a recommended pattern for getting a verse in the long term memory
For seven days write and read out loud the verse seven times
For the next seven weeks, review it once a week (while starting on the next verse daily!)
For the next seven months , review it once a month
Scripture Memory Cards
Having the verses you are learning and reviewing on small cards in your wallet/purse will be helpful for stealing odd moments to press on. Some of you may have used Navigators Topical Memory System – I found a very helpful website that will create the cards for free if you give it the verses you want.
Here’s a pdf with some verses appropriate to our current sermon series in Romans – may they enrich your life, praying and witnessing…