"Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11
Let’s chat today about Bible memorization. Memorization puts the Word of God directly into our minds. It hammers it in, allowing us to call it forth at need.
Many times, we leave memorization to the children. We claim that as adults we can’t memorize anymore … that our minds aren’t limber enough.
Sometimes that may be true, but not all the time. The point really is that children are required to memorize things – whether at church or at school – and therefore they put time and effort into it. As adults, we don’t tend to put forth that consistent time and effort.
Now, it is important to take something into consideration: some people have better memories than others. Not everyone can memorize the same amount, or with equal facility. People tend to fall into the following categories:
1. You have the capacity for serious memorization and can put numerous long passages into your mind for easy retrieval.
2. You have the capacity for reasonable memorization – usually single verses and short passages rather than long ones – and you can paraphrase a lot more than you can actually quote.
3. You have a hard time memorizing Scripture, but you can paraphrase it well.
4. You don’t have a great facility with memorization or paraphrase, but you know the principles of God’s Word and can explain them to others.
The crucial thing to understand about these four categories is that none is “better” than the other. God designed you just as you are and is not going to expect from you more than he created you to do. Therefore, if you have a hard time memorizing Scripture, don’t compare yourself to someone who finds it easy and think you are somehow “less” of a Christian than they are. We are all equal in Christ, and God has given you precisely the abilities you need to accomplish the work he has for you to do.
Here are a few tips that will help you learn the Scriptures to your highest capacity:
* Pick a translation you understand. NIV, RSV, NAS: whatever works for you.
* Select a passage you can handle. Single verses, short groups of verses, long sections: whatever you are able to readily memorize.
* Find your real capacity by pushing yourself occasionally to see if you can memorize longer passages. If you find yourself getting frustrated or disappointed, you are probably pushing yourself beyond your limits – let it go, and don’t worry about it.
* Find a way to keep the verse or verses constantly in front of you. Index cards tucked into your mirror, on your bulletin board at work, or as bookmarks in your daily calendar can all be helpful aids. And don’t forget your cell phone! Use it to keep verses handy so you can review them when you are waiting in line at the store or checking your daily to-do list.
* Repeat, repeat, repeat. Don’t worry about memorizing things in a day or in a week. The longer you keep at it, the longer you will keep it in your memory.
Whatever your abilities are, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).