In “Prepare To Dive” I talked about the importance of seeing the Bible as whole. In this post, while I’m still focusing on developing biblical understanding, I will come at it from a slightly different angle. However, I think it’s important to start by giving some insight as to where I am coming from.
I like to read A LOT 🙂 and as I have read works by many of the influential church fathers of old (i.e. St. Augustine, St. Patrick, John Bunyan just to name a few), I have noticed how effortlessly Scripture is woven throughout their writings. As I have dwelt on this fact, it has become apparent to me that the wisdom of Scripture is something that has penetrated into the depths of their subconscious. This is a concept that I have been pondering for the last year and with the discovery of the term “Gospel Fluency” via Jeff Vanderstelt (see my posts “Be Prepared” & “Fluency”) it really came to the forefront of my mind.
Clearly, such an understanding is not something that comes without effort. No, having this kind of a grasp on the Bible comes from handling it daily, purposefully, and seriously. It requires immersing yourself in it. As I said above, in “Prepare to Dive” I talked about the importance of seeing the Bible as a whole. Today, I will travel to the opposite pole, Scripture memorization. While they fall on opposite ends of the spectrum in Bible study, both are equally important. What Scripture memorization brings to the table in our studies are nuggets of truth to be stored away in our minds. They are phrases that we can hold on to when we need them most. You might even say we are packing for a journey, the Kingdom journey.
Scripture memorization in itself is pretty straight forward. However, I would like to offer a few tips based on my own experiences in the matter. I have never had much success in memorization when I have started with lists others have compiled. I have always found that method to be too abstract in that it seemed to detach the Scriptures from their context. Consequently, I would lose interest after a few weeks of effort. What has worked for me is picking out verses from books I am already in the process of studying. Specifically, the verses that have the most impact on me as I work through the book. Another tactic I have used successfully is to compile a list of the verses that I am repeatedly searching for. In other words, the verses that constantly come to mind but I have never memorized. For me, these two methods put the verses back into context and hold my attention.
As to my process of memorization, I have found the most success in collecting a stack of index cards that comprise the verses to be memorized. The stack is carried with me at all times and when I have a free moment I work on a verse. It should be noted that sometimes I work on a verse that I have not memorized, while sometimes I review one that I have. The review is of the utmost importance in the process. It does me no good to work on a verse for a week and then never look at it again. I must come back to the verses again and again for weeks in order to truly internalize it. As more verses are memorized more verses are added and the stack grows.
That is what has worked for me. I realize that what works best for me, might not be the same thing that works best for everybody. Nevertheless, I would encourage you to try it. The biggest strength of the process is that it marries Scripture memorization with daily Bible study. One final thought, when it comes to “The Kingdom Journey” don’t pack lightly.