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Memorizing Bible Verses: Make It a Priority

This weekend we visited my husband’s family and our new church-home-away-from-home. Their discussion of memorizing the Bible as a way to engage more deeply with our holy God was incredibly convicting.

At the end of the discussion, they played a segment of a message by John Piper entitled “If My Words Abide In You.” You should listen to it – John preaches passionately about the incredible power of the Word of God in our minds and hearts, not just on paper in front of us.

His message includes the following story depicting one way Scripture memory can spur us on to more godly conversations with one another.

December 21 was our 40th wedding anniversary. We went away for a couple days. During that time, we read and prayed over Psalm 40 and Isaiah 40. We talked about the difficulties of the year gone by. We pondered how easy it is to get discouraged with painful circumstances. We recalled lunch times when we rehearsed a dozen things that were discouraging in our lives.

And it came clear to us that what we need to do is stop letting the voice of negative circumstances dominate our conversations. Yes, you have to be realistic. The painful things are really there. But we realized that the word of God, the promises of God, the works of God, the thoughts of God, the person of God—that voice was not being spoken into those moments. There may have been devotions in the morning, and there may have been devotions in the evening. But at that moment, God’s word was silent. That was mainly my fault. It’s a husbands’ role to lead with the word of God.

So we lingered over Psalm 40:5 and decided to make it our year-long marriage verse in 2009:

You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

We are memorizing it, and we aim to make it the banner that flies over our Monday lunch dates and all our conversations: “[God’s] wondrous deeds and [his] countless thoughts toward us . . . [We] will proclaim and tell of them.”

The entire discussion lit a fire in my soul to renew my efforts to memorize Scripture. Some of you know that earlier this year I set out to memorize the book of Philippians. For a variety of reasons, I abandoned that project for a number of months. But I’ve decided to go back to it — at least, to commit to Scripture memory.

I challenge those of you who started it with me to renew your efforts too. I challenge each of you to commit to memorizing something: a chapter, a few verses, even just one verse. Our goal will not be to memorize fast but to memorize permanently.

Pray with me over the next week about how much to take on. In my next post, I will list some excellent passages to consider making a priority. Then next week I’ll begin a series that includes a verse of the week to memorize (nice and easy for those of us who need to ease into it), tips and strategies for memorizing, and occasional updates on how I’m doing.

Are you up for the challenge?

Ready to get started? Great! Click here to read “Choosing What To Memorize.”

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