April 4, 2018

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Bible Memory: The Difference Between “Hard” and “Impossible”

Do you think you can’t memorize Scripture? It’s okay. You’re not alone. Lots of people think that.

But… let me ask you one question. What’s your phone number and address? You have those committed to memory, right? “But,” I can almost hear you say, “those are easy things that are split into easy-to-memorize sections.” Okay, yes. But there are several small, easy-to-memorize verses in Scripture, too. Even those that aren’t short can be split into smaller phrases. Take a passage I memorized a few weeks ago, Psalms 119:57-58 (CJB): “Adonai, I say my task is to observe Your words. I beg Your favor with all my heart. Show pity to me in keeping with Your promise.” Here’s how I would split it: Adonai, I say my task/ is to observe Your word/ I beg Your favor/ with my whole heart/ show pity to me/ in keeping with Your promise.”

So what about jingles? If I asked what the Nationwide Insurance jingle was, would you be able to sing it? “Sure,” you may be thinking, “but those commercials are everywhere. Plus, they’re put to music, which makes it easier to remember.” Well, you can do the same thing with Bible verses. In fact, keep checking back–in a few weeks, I’ll explain a few ways to make Bible memory more accessible to you on a day-to-day basis. Also, many artists like Steve Green, Nathan Clark George, and Sandra McCracken (among others) have put Scripture to music. Seriously, this is one of the best ways I have found to memorize Bible verses.

Let’s turn to something more complicated, like your favorite movie or TV show. If we were sitting together in a coffee shop right now, could you give me a synopsis of it? I’m sure you could. And, if you’re like my brother, you could give me a nearly-perfect line-by-line recitation of your favorite scene. “Well, yeah…” You may say, “but that’s because I’ve watched it so many times!” That’s a good point! Repetition is a key aspect of memorizing. So here’s the deal: if you take a Bible verse and go over it as many times as you’ve watched that movie, you’ll have it down just as well.

How about your best friend’s face? Could you describe it for me? “Sure, but what’s that got to do with anything? There aren’t any facial descriptions in the verses I’d memorize!” On the contrary, the Bible is overflowing with passages that show the character of God (Psalms 119, Matthew 5-7, and John 14-17 to name a few). If you commit yourself you memorizing Scripture, you’ll understand God better. More than that, you’ll be able to recognize His handiwork easier next time you see it.

The point is, if you can remember your phone number, address, the Nationwide jingle, the storyline from your favorite movie, and your best friend’s face, then your memory is by no means disabled. It might be a little rusty, but it is still workable. All it needs is some exercise. How do you do that? By using it. Start with a short, simple verse like 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” then move on to harder verses. I promise that as you keep working on it, the easier and more rewarding memorizing will become.

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