FacebookTwitterRSS FeedPinterest

By Rev Charles Seet

Preached at / Published Life BPC Weekly, 2004-09-12

Text: Deuteronomy 6:6

Last Sunday saw the launch of a new Scripture memorisation programme which will be a regular feature now before both worship services. The first selection of verses is based on the theme, "God's Promises." A new verse will be introduced every two weeks. It is hoped that we Lifers will make good use of this opportunity to hide God's Word in our hearts.

Memorising Scripture is actually a very ancient practice. The Jews were extremely good at this, and some Jewish rabbis were known to have learned the whole Old Testament by heart and were able to recite it completely from memory! Why did they bother to do this? One reason is that it is commanded in the Bible itself. Deuteronomy 6:6 "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." Deuteronomy 11:18 -"Therefore shall ye lay up these My words in your heart and in your soul�."

The Bible tells us what wonderful benefits we can gain by memorising Scripture verses. Psalm 119:11 "Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." Psalm 37:31 "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide." When we face temptations to sin, memorised verses can help us to overcome them. Christ Himself demonstrated this when he was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days. He used memorized Scripture to withstand each attack of Satan (Matthew 4:1-10). 

Another benefit of memorising Scripture is given in Psalm 40:8 "I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart." Throughout our life on earth we have to make many choices. Some decisions are very hard to make, but if we have stored God's Word in our hearts it will guide and instruct us to make the right choices and decisions which are in accordance with the will of God. 

One more benefit is found in Colossians 3:16 "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." Memorising Scripture equips us to admonish or help fellow brethren when they face problems. Perhaps you happen to meet a brother in Christ who is depressed and you want to encourage him to pray for help. But all the advice you give cannot convince him to do this. What assurance does he have that God will really hear and answer his prayer for help? At that moment a verse you had memorised comes to your mind "Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3) Quoting this verse gives the strongest possible encouragement to your friend to call unto the Lord for help!

Memorised verses of Scripture become immediate remedies that are always available to help us counsel, comfort, advise, and even correct the lives of friends, colleagues and loved ones. If we store them up in our minds the Holy Spirit will direct us to use verses that are appropriate for each situation.

Now that we have seen the benefits of memorising Scripture, let us consider how to do it. Do you know that God has given you a very powerful mind? If properly trained and used, your mind can store up and recall a tremendous amount of information. According to scientific estimates the human mind has a memory capacity of up to 100 billion gigabytes. It is able to process a total of 1 million billion operations a second! It is claimed that most of the time we are only using about 10 percent of brains. So our minds can actually do much more than we think. But we need to develop and discipline our minds to work, especially with regard to memorising scripture. The following are some guidelines that will help you to memorise verses of scripture. 

1. Have the right attitude toward memorising verses. Regard it as a challenge that is pleasant and enjoyable, rather than something which is hard and difficult.

2. Read the verse once through and make sure that you understand it. If there are any difficult words, find the meaning. If there are unfamiliar words, learn how to pronounce them. 

3. Divide the verse into phrases which are meaningful but easy to master. 

4. Read each phrase aloud, and then recite it without looking, about three or four times. Repetition is the key to good memorisation. After you are confident of a phrase, go to the next and repeat the process. After that, attempt to recite all the phrases you have memorised without stopping.

5. Take a break and do not think at all about the verse. Then after a few minutes, recite the verse again from memory. If you get stuck at certain points, look at the verse again, and take note of the problem points.

6. Memorise the Scripture reference as well (e.g. "John chapter three, verse sixteen"). This may be difficult for some, because it is just a name and a string of numbers. To help you do this, think of your memorised verses as your friends, and their Scripture references as their addresses. For example the verse, "The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want" is your good friend who lives in the city of the Bible. The street where he lives is called "Psalm." And his unit number is #23-01!

Memorising Scripture can be done individually or corporately. There is added motivation when we do it together. We can review memory verses quite effectively by reciting them to one another. As a family or church activity, this can help to promote togetherness.

There is one more thing you can do with the verses you memorise. If you really desire to hide God�s Word in your heart, meditate on them. Joshua 1:8 tells us, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." Psalm 119:15,97 "I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways. O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day." 1 Timothy 4:15 "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all."

According to Psalm 1:1-3 a person who meditates regularly on the Word of God will be like a healthy, thriving and fruitful tree which is planted by the rivers of water. So, if you want to be spiritually healthy, strong and fruitful, make it a habit to meditate on verses of Scripture!

To meditate on a verse is to personally reflect on, ponder, or think deeply about it. It is sometimes likened to the way a cow eats grass. First it will bite away as much grass as it can from the ground, mouthful after mouthful. When its stomach is full, the cow will stop ingesting any more grass. Instead, it will just spend hour after hour chewing the cud. When a cow does this, it is said to be ruminating. It brings up some of the grass from its stomach into a part of its mouth called the cud. Then it will chew the cud until the grass breaks down. The finely chewed grass is then swallowed into another chamber of the stomach for further digestion and assimilation.

Similarly, when we read or memorise Scripture verses, we are like cows biting mouthfuls of grass and swallowing them down. But the full beneficial value of the verse will not be extracted and enjoyed until we spend some time meditating on them, little by little, digesting it, and assimilating it into our souls.

Meditation is both a mental and a spiritual process. It involves the mind as well as the heart. You need to find a time when you can free your mind from all distracting thoughts that will cause it to wander away from your meditation. Some of us may be able to meditate while traveling on the bus or MRT. Some can even meditate while taking a shower or a walk. Others may need to get away from the crowds and be alone, perhaps in a park or quiet place. In Genesis 26:43 we are told that Isaac "went out to meditate in the field at the eventide." There are three useful steps to meditating on Scripture. 

1. Focus your thoughts upon one particular idea, theme or truth from the verse.

2. Relate it to what you already know from God's Word. 

3. Do not to let your meditation go astray into your own invented ideas and speculations. 

One useful thing to do when you meditate is to write down your thoughts on paper. Perhaps you may even want to keep a journal of your meditations, or compose a little poem or song through them. Some of the best poems, hymns and spiritual songs we love to sing are actually the products of meditating on God's Word. You can be sure that great hymn writers like Fanny Crosby, Isaac Watts, and Charles Wesley spent much time meditating on the Scriptures.

Dear Reader, as you take time to memorise verses of Scripture and to meditate on them, you will begin to see how rich and wonderful God's Word is! Memorising and meditating both take time, but they are spiritually enriching exercises. The Holy Spirit takes the words, directs your thoughts, reflections and ponderings deeper and deeper into the fullness of God's truth, and seals them deep within your heart. And the blessings that they produce in your life will flow to others as well. Will you begin today?

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

October 15 & 22 - The Cost of Discipleship

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25