Showing Off

39You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.   John 5:39-40

We don’t memorize the Scripture in order to show off. Rather we memorize the Scripture because it bears witness to Jesus. It leads us to Him. Its voice, which is His voice, speaks to us calling us to come to Jesus. “Come to Jesus” that’s the call of the Scripture. Jesus said so Himself. Knowledge does not give us the Kingdom life; Jesus does.

When it comes to memorizing the Word that bears witness to Jesus here’s some suggestions:

1. Write it; say it; sing it.

2. Review it, review it, review it.

3. Meditate on it. Take time to meet Jesus in the words and see the many varied ways the Word of God merges with our lives.

4. Oh yeah and the secret of Scripture memory: review, review, review.

6 Just in Time Reasons to Memorize Scripture

6 Reasons

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

A Moment in Time

The phone rang; a brief conversation ensued and then I was at my wits end. In fact internally I felt shattered. A deep sense of dread occupied  most of my core. I didn’t even trust myself to drive over familiar territory so I set the GPS. When my mind tried to comprehend what had happened and the outrageous pain and grief that lay on the horizon I could think of nothing. 

So I prayed “Oh God, this is too much.”

Then to the surface of my thoughts the Spirit of God brought this word, “The God of all comfort will come alongside you all.” And then I felt calm.

That “thought” is a fragment of a larger segment of the Bible that I had memorized years ago:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The picture these words brought to my mind was shaped by the image of the “comforter,” the one who comes alongside and carries us when we cannot carry ourselves.

There was no time for me to go look it up. Because it was already there in my mind, “memorized,” The Spirit of God was able to access the word for me in the moment. It was just in time. Grace.

 The Illusion of No Need

Today memorizing the Bible might seem like the last thing you need to do. For those of us who have gone mobile we have it all with us. We don’t memorize phone numbers, directions, or math facts. The Bible has been wonderfully provided for us through The Bible App. so we have it with us all the time. Plus Google is fast! It is able to search for us when we don’t have the verse “address” and just know a phrase. Type it in and in moments we have a list of possibilities. So why memorize scripture?

Choose to Memorize God’s Word

Through the ages followers of Jesus have discovered the benefits of memorizing scripture. Dallas Willard said that of all the disciplines that support our life with Jesus if he was forced to choose one, he would choose Bible memorization. The Word of God, Scripture, informs and the Spirit of God transforms us through it that we might become like Jesus.

6 “Just in Time” Reasons to Memorize the Bible

1. Jesus on my mind. The Scripture keeps pointing us to Jesus and shaping us to be like him.

from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 2:15-17

2. Truth in my meditation. The Scripture activates the formation of godly affections that can prevail when we are tempted.

14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.  Psalm 19:7-14

3And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:3-4

3. Grace. The Scripture reveals The Gospel of Jesus.

4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:4-9

4. Wisdom from my mouth. In the battle for hearts and minds God’s Word is truth and grace shaping the words proceeding from my heart.

11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. 12Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.      Proverbs 25:11-12

15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…  1 Peter 3:15

5. Correction for my way. The Scripture judges our beliefs, attitudes, and actions.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.   Hebrews 4:12

6. An eternal perspective. The Scripture keeps heaven and the larger story of God’s Kingdom large in our minds and therefore causes us to be of earthly good by reminding us what is going to last forever.

22Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:22-25

Need some suggestions for verses to memorize? Here are two sets of verses available for viewing and reviewing on your mobile device.

Doc reads the Bible with new appreciation

In the venture of bringing water to all people in Darfur region, Doc Hendley had come to the edge of a violent death at the hands of bloodthirsty men. In the midst of incredible beauty he had also encountered the foreboding power accompanying the wildness of nature. His spiritual journey evident throughout his book, Wine to Water, A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World, takes another turn. He writes:

I started reading the Bible–it’s pretty much unavoidable when your dad is a preacher man–but when I was a kid, reading the Bible was always something we were required to do.  This time, reading the book again smack in the middle of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges I’d ever seen, I began taking something different away from the Bible.

I loved reading about how Jesus hung out with drunks and hookers, and that his first miracle, as I could best calculate, was making approximately a hundred and twenty gallons of wine so that a wedding party could continue rocking out instead of ending early because there was no more booze.  And I was fired up when I began to learn the uncensored versions of those Bible stories that I heard as a child, like when David, after knocking Goliath out, took the giant’s sword, cut off his head, and proceeded to carry it around for the rest of the day, wielding it as a trophy.

Instead of making me feel like I as being preached at or judged, the stories spoke to me. And what I read made me feel hopeful. It encouraged me that I didn’t have to be a perfect do-gooder to actually do something good in this world.

It also made me yearn for the opportunity to one day become a husband and a father.  I can’t explain why exactly.  Maybe it was Ismael hounding me about why I wasn’t married yet, or seeing Amir playing lovingly with his children.  Or maybe all that desert living just finally gave me some clarity, telling me it was time to grow up.  Whatever it was that last night in Jebel Marra, I prayed out to God, asking him to spare my life and to get me out of that crazy place so I could one day experience firsthand the love of being a husband and a father.  What I didn’t bargain for was the fact that from that day one, I was for the first time legitimately scared whenever I went back into the field. Before, I was younger and reckless. Suddenly, I guess, I had a real reason to stay alive.  p.212-213

Learn more about Doc Hendley and the work of Wine to Water.

 

 

Hope in the Dark

Scripture:  2 Peter 1:19-21

19And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Observations:

Peter commends the prophetic word of the Old Testament to His readers.

It is a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts.

The Holy Spirit catalyzed the prophetic word by the will of God.

Application:

I love the picture here.  Waiting for morning.  The Word of God is like a lamp brightening the dark places of my heart, until “the morning star rises” and a new day dawns casting out all the darkness.  Jesus is the morning star, He is the new day.

The Word of God encourages me to wait on the Lord.  To look expectantly for His deliverance.  To pray with the Spirit, “Come Lord Jesus.”  The Word of God shows me how waiting can be active.  And it is divinely inspired to reveal Jesus Christ in a broken world and even a broken heart.

Prayer:  

Heavenly Father, some of my friends need hope today.  May they see the promise of a new day in the company of your Son.  AMEN.