Jesus prayed in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” The Word of God is vital to our sanctification or growth in Godliness. Therefore, we are considering ways to practice the Spiritual Discipline of Bible intake. Having given in our last post some of the advantages of memorizing Scripture, I now wish to turn to the practical consideration of how we can more effectively memorize Scripture. Remember, Scripture memory, for most of us, is not first and foremost about the sharpness of our memory-that is, our ability. It is about motivation-that is, how badly we want to memorize Scripture. And yet, even though we say it is more about motivation than ability, this does not preclude the need for effort to accomplish the actual memorization of Scripture into our lives. With that said, I will now give a few helpful ways to maximize our Scripture memory efforts.
The first thing to consider in memorizing Scripture is your plan-what are you going to memorize. There is much wisdom in taking particular verses that pertain to specific issues or subjects and begin working from that point. There is however, a greater benefit to taking a section of Scripture and begin setting that to memory. Taking sections of Scripture to memorize: (1) underscores the fact that Scripture was written in complete thoughts and units, not in isolated or unrelated segments; (2) reduces the likelihood that we would misconstrue the meaning of a passage by using it out of its context; and (3) aids in increasing the success of actual memorization in that there is a built-in review system and each new verse added hangs on the previous, continuing the flow of thought. Therefore, consider, as a dimension of Christian fellowship with another believer, a passage of Scripture to memorize together. Making it a group project offers built in accountability. One passage of Scripture that offers much to consider in the Christian life is Romans 8. The whole chapter is a wonderful section on the Christian life in the context of life together in community.
As far as a process, keep these steps in mind: (1) always link the verse(s) that you are working on with their address or reference; (2) work on one phrase or small section at a time, saying it out loud as well as writing it out; (3) review, review, review before you add another phrase or section, all the while linking the reference to the verses; (4) set word perfect as the standard knowing that accuracy reflects our submission to the text; and (5) say your verse(s) to others.
Dr. Don Whitney, in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, appropriately reminds us:
As we finish this section on the Discipline of Scripture memory, remember that memorizing verses is not an end in itself. The goal is not to see how many verses we can memorize, the goal is Godliness. The goal is to memorize the Word of God so that it can transform our minds and our lives.