Memorizing scripture – Book review “His Word in My Heart”
For me, memorizing Scripture has become an act of worship. It ushers me into God’s presence and keeps me spiritually renewed each day.
– Janet Pope, His Word in My Heart
Whether you’re a newbie at memorizing scripture or have been doing it for years, this book, His Word in My Heart, can help you.
Author Janet Pope provides practical tips and godly motivation on memorizing scripture to walk closer with God—the how and the why.
She clarifies the goal early in the book:
The Bible does not command us to memorize Scripture….The goal of memorizing should not be confused with the ultimate goal of knowing God and loving Him.
. . . Honestly, I have no aspirations of becoming the Bible trivia queen or even the Bible answer woman. I want God’s Word written on my heart so that my life reflects a close walk with God.
With that clarified, she goes on to provide examples of daily instructions on how to memorize Psalm 1 (she recommends you start with this one) and the book of Titus. She equates it with the ease of taking a walk, and says memorizing long passages is just eating an elephant one bite at a time.
She’s been memorizing for over 20 years, and has memorized 14 books of the Bible and 140 chapters (the book of Revelation alone took 2 1/2 years).
She says she has an ordinary memory and a busy schedule like everyone else, yet by intentionally using pockets of time, she continues to learn new verses as well as review old ones on a regular basis.
The basic key is repetition. (Disappointing, I know—I wanted a painless magic potion, too.) But like anything else worth doing, sometimes you’ve got to sweat it out. She suggests repeating a verse over and over, phrase by phrase, until it starts to stick, while also reviewing previous verses. (She can learn a new verse every day. I prefer a verse or two per week—I’m not as disciplined as she is to review, so I have to go slower.)
People often ask me if I have a great method for memorizing Scripture. I tell them, “You don’t need a great method as much as you need great motivation. If you’re highly motivated, any method will do.”
Here’s an excerpt from Day 4, memorizing Titus 2:4 (after learning verses 1-3),
“Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children.”
- Get out of bed thinking about God and His invaluable word. Review your three verses.
- Tackle today’s verse, another short one. What is God saying here?
- Notice the connection to yesterday’s verse. Today we get the reason behind verse 3.
- We hear a lot of talk these days about mentoring. This is where it comes from—Titus.
- Say all four verses over and over as you reflect on their meaning.
- Pray this verse for the young women that you know.
- These four verses will take less than thirty seconds to review. Time can be found.
- Use waiting time to review: at the bank, at the fast-food drive-thru, at the dentist.
- Come back to these words before bed. Then drift off to sleep, thinking and praying.
I like this approach and will be adapting it as a guide to memorize Isaiah 55 this week through Easter at Do Not Depart.
Other tips include:
- Memorize in a version you like and stick with it
- Start with verse 1 on Day 1 of the month, then continue matching verses with dates (v 2, Feb 2; vs 3, Feb 3…)
- Alternate longer projects with shorter ones
- Leave days (weeks?) open for reviewing long books
- Recite in front of others
- Find a partner
- Listen to an audio version of the text
- Study what you’re memorizing
More from His Word in My Heart:
* I trained myself to use moments throughout my day to memorize Scripture when my hands were busy but my mind was free. Household chores required busyness but not thoughtfulness, so I included Scripture memory in my daily routines.
* Distraction comes easily without something specific to focus on.
* Do not lose sight of your goal. It’s not the memorization itself that is important but the constant reflection on God, His character and His ways.
* His Word ushers me into His presence and feeds me at His table. This has been, by far, the greatest benefit of knowing God’s Word. If to know Him is to love Him, then to know Him greatly is to love Him greatly.
Janet Pope also recommends learning in community. She shares ideas in the book on how to set up a group, and her website lists a few cities with existing groups.
I’ve personally benefited greatly from the active online community through the Do Not Depart blog and the Facebook group Hide His Word.
If you’d like to give it a try, join us; we’re a no-pressure group, I promise.
* * *
What’s a favorite Bible verse you’ve learned? Have you ever tried memorizing a chapter? How did it go? Please share.
More posts on scripture memorization
More from Janet at her blog and on Facebook
- Is beauty evolutionary?
- Memorizing Isaiah 55:2
It is going on my wish list! Thanks for sharing, Lisa!
Maybe it’ll go on sale again soon. I caught it cheap last month and I’m so glad I finally read it. I know you’ll enjoy it too, Dianna.
I love her practical tips. wow. put this on my wish list too. Thanks for sharing, Lisa
I had been hearing about this book for awhile so I’m glad I finally read it for myself to see that it was indeed helpful! If you’re interested at all in memorization, I know you’ll like it too, Jean.
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