Psalm 119:11 (NASB)
What about God’s Word? Are you using the hiding spot of your heart in which to store memorized verses? Maybe a more suitable question is this. Are you memorizing verses? Furthermore, what are the benefits to memorizing Bible verses?
I have a confession. I am not good at memorizing Bible verses. Believe it or not I actually memorized several when Robert and David were little guys. Riding around in the car, I’d pop a cassette (way back when) into the player and hear verse after verse set to music. Guess what! That worked for me.
Maybe I should go back to the store and get some of those same ones on cds.
What I really believe worked for me in addition to the catchy tune was the following criteria: it was understandable, short, applicable, and repetitive.
If I were to make a list of what to look for and how to accomplish memorization, my list might look something like this:
- What’s at hand?
- Keep it sweet
- Set a date
- What’s at hand? – ask yourself that question. Locate a verse that is timely to your life and circumstances. Not sure where to find a verse? Think of a word that describes your situation today. In the back of your Bible is a concordance or words. See if you can locate that word back there. If so, look at the address where that word appears in some verses and locate them in your Bible until you find one that suits you and your situation. Find a verse that is perfect for you, not your neighbor, not what you wish from your spouse or friend, but what could minister to you. If you can’t find a verse with that very word in it, then what’s another word that means the same thing? Look for it.
- Understand – choose a translation that you are most familiar with. For me, that’s the NASB, but for some of you the NIV might suit you or the NKJV. By choosing one in a translation that is understandable, you will find it resonates with you and thus, makes memorizing a bit easier.
- Keep it sweet – or short might be another way to phrase that. Don’t attempt to memorize 5 verses. Start simple. Find a short verse in the translation of your choice that fits your particular situation.
- Repeat – write this verse down on an index card. Make another index card for you to carry with you. As you have time throughout the day, say out loud the verse over and over (at the red light in the car, walking through the grocery store – kind of looks like you’re saying your list, waiting in the carpool line or at the sport/ballet practice pick up, in your cubicle at work-say it into the phone if you’re worried what others will wonder what you’re doing). Keep one of those cards at home where you’ll see it there (I have used placecard holders on the bathroom counter, bedside table, kitchen counter, etc. Keep a card in your car and make a third for work if necessary. Go all out and put one in your purse, too!)
- Set a date – consider two weeks away from your beginning date as a good goal date to have it memorized. Have a friend or your dog/cat sit and hear you say it out loud at the end of that time. Keep the “address” with it when you memorize it.
- Meditate – another way to assist you in being repetitive with it is to take it word by word and meditate on what each key word means and how it ministers to you. So, you won’t meditate on words such as, “and, it, he, she, the, and a.” Key words would be those words that would reduce the meaning of the passage to nothing without them. A key word could be used more than once in that verse.
For example, when I choose a new verse, I put it on my Facebook page in the small box under my picture. Sometimes there is not room to put the address, but I still have it on my index card that is bound in a spiral with other index cards. I keep that spiral contraption tented on my desk to look at every time I sit down at the computer to email, work on lessons, type the blog, and check Facebook.
A couple weeks ago, the verse I chose was Psalm 18:1, “I love You, O LORD, my strength.”
That was it. Short and sweet, applicable, easy to ponder, understandable; all in all it was the perfect verse for me those two weeks. It has now turned into a “mantra” of sorts. Can Christians have mantras? Oops, sidetracked for a second. Now, when I begin to feel a bit of a pit creeping up in my mind, I think of that. When I have beaten myself up for my inadequacies, I repeat it to myself.
If I hadn’t memorized it, I could have tripped fully into a pit of despair, but something as short and simple as that verse brought me life and instant hope along with help from my divine Helper in that moment.
Hiding the Word is a good habit to form. Stay tuned for more!