It’s my typical practice whenever we have a trip down to Guatemala, to brush up a little on my Spanish. About a week before the trip, I open up Duolingo (a language learning app) and start cramming. Want to guess how effective that is? I’ll give you a hint – nada. I can’t expect to fluently communicate in a language that I barely learned over 30 years ago and never speak or rarely even think about. It takes focus, intention and lots and lots of repetitive practice.
Similarly, the Bible is our language for life. It is our resource for understanding God’s character and involvement with His creation. It’s how we understand that we are lost without Him, and provides the roadmap to redemption through Him. We find our value, place and purpose through the scriptures as well. Knowing God’s word helps shape our perspective and guard our hearts. When Jesus faced temptation from Satan in the wilderness, he responded with scripture that he had memorized.
It’s so important to read God’s word on a regular basis. It provides a foundation and a filter for our decisions. Reading is important, but it’s also important to let scripture permeate into our core through meditation and memorization.
Consider the following verses:
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Through church and school growing up, I was expected to memorize large amounts of scripture. I wasn’t a huge fan at the time, but looking back I see how scripture memory helped shape my faith, my morality and my perspective in life.
As you read the verses through the week, think about taking one or two that really speak to you and set about memorizing them for the week. Make a list of the verses that you are committing to memory and go over them frequently. Choose verses that encourage you, remind you of who you are in Christ, or what we’re called to do. If you have a problem with fear, memorize verses that speak to that. If you have a problem with anger, or laziness, or lust – there are passages that can help you and will be at your beck and call when you need them. You might have a friend or two join you in memorizing some agreed upon verses. I used to memorize verses with my son and we would go over them on Friday mornings at Waffle House.
I’ve included a list of suggested verses for memory – you can change them to whatever translation you prefer. These are in ESV, I memorized the bulk of them in the NIV (1984). I’ve also provided the link to a great app that I use with my phone. The app allows you to create lists of verses by topic and share them with a group of friends. It also has a fun way of helping you memorize. There’s even a kid version of the app!