How would you fare if you were taken hostage or in prison without a Bible? The recent Christian Aid Ministries hostages in Haiti, held for two months, had no Bible. Darlene Deibler Rose, American missionary POW in New Guinea during WW2, had no Bible during the 6 weeks she was being interrogated while imprisoned on death row. To draw comfort and strength from the Word, these all had to rely on Scripture they had memorized. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).
What about when you lie awake in the night and can’t sleep? Do you have Scripture in your mind that you recite mentally and think about? “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalms 1:2).
Do you have verses you can immediately pull up when you face a tough situation, are fearful, or want to respond in anger? At those moments, it isn’t always possible to run and get a Bible. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalms 119:11).
Perhaps we relegate Scripture memory to our children, while we make excuses concerning it for ourselves. We might say, “I can’t memorize!” I remember hearing Jim Berg address the “I can’t memorize Scripture” excuse in one of his Quieting a Noisy Soul sessions. He said to his audience, “What is your phone number? What about your address? You all can memorize!” Our other excuse goes like this, “I am too busy. I just don’t have time.” We make time, however, for what is a priority in our lives and important to us.
There is a simple way to begin memorizing Scripture. Pick a verse to memorize. Write it on a notecard or two (to keep different places) so that you can reference it easily. Take just five minutes a day to work on it. It takes me seven minutes a day to blow dry my hair. That is a good time for me to memorize Scripture.
Read the verse out loud several times. Then close your eyes and try to say it without looking. When you get stuck, look at your card. The next day, try to say your verse without looking at the card first. Usually, I can not do that the second day because I can’t remember the first word. So I check the card, get the first couple of words, and see if I can say any more of the verse. If not, I do what I did the day before. Usually it takes me several days before I can start the verse myself, but it does come. Practice it anytime you can through out the day. Even better use it when applicable in your daily life.
Once you have one verse down, keep reviewing it, and start on another one. It might be the next verse in a chapter or passage or from a completely different place. If it is a continuation verse, work on it like you did the first verse, while reviewing the first verse. When you have the second verse down, say them together when you work on them.
If you need an idea of verses to start your memorizing plan, consider these:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
The first two verses are extremely short, and the combination is a joyful, peaceful, and powerful way to walk through each day.
Could I encourage you to set excuses aside and start memorizing Scripture? Think of the potential value in your life. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This is the beginning of a new year. Make it the beginning of a new habit as well. Start with just one verse – one that will be helpful to you on a daily basis. Work on it until you know it and then use, use, use it so that you don’t forget it. Move on from there.