Who Do You Quote?


Last week Jeff and I listened to Richard Rohr interviewed by Krista Tippett on the On Being podcast.

We noticed how he often quoted lofty authors like Thomas Merton or Latin poets or foreign phrases like “Sub specie aeternitatis” (“in the light of eternity”).

How do people do that?

Well, we all can quote things. It depends on what we put in.

What goes in is what we quote out.

Jeff and I can quote all the words to . . .

Maybe Richard Rohr can also quote Sheldon Cooper’s “Bazinga!” and fill in this blank from Forrest Gump, “My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of _____; you never know what you’re gonna get.’”

Likely he can. I don’t know.

This is what I do know: years ago when I heard an “ordinary” lady at church spill God-truths out of her mouth like I could sing song lyrics, it moved me.

Granted, I knew my memory verses growing up. Bible Bowls and sword drills? Bring on the competition.

But I wanted something different. I wanted line after line of God’s beauty and love. Words I could say in my mind, over and over.

Words I could quote when I needed to think better thoughts and believe bigger truths.

So with a group of friends in 2004, we committed to memorizing Colossians 3 together.


And now, 13 years later, I’m going to renew those words in my mind with the memorizing community of Hide His Word with Do Not Depart.

And those 13 years in between? I learned that memorizing chapters of the Bible wasn’t as impossible as I had once thought. [See “10 Tips to Memorizing a Bible Chapter” ]

And the benefits have been life-changing.

How many times have I been awake at night and recited a chapter over and over to help me return to peaceful sleep? Or said the words in my mind while undergoing a medical procedure? Or prayed the words to myself or for a friend when other words seemed to fail?

  • Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.
    Isaiah 12:2
  • I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”
    Psalm 27:13
  • Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
    Matthew 6:34
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
    James 1:5

I’m thankful that I don’t remember all the words I’ve learned in my past. There are many that I didn’t need to hear to begin with.

But the words from Jesus’s mouth or words about God’s everlasting love are words that I want to remember.

Time spent memorizing isn’t time wasted, but time invested..


I may never be able to quote things as well as Richard Rohr. But when I do quote, I want it to be good.

14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Colossians 3

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Do you have favorite authors or movie lines or song lyrics that you remember well? Any favorite memory verses? Please share in the comments.

29 thoughts on “Who Do You Quote?

  1. Rachel Q

    I agree with you on this. I remember years ago I told someone I just couldn’t memorize scripture. They looked at me and said, “You can if you put your mind to it.” Those words kept rattling around in my head for a few years and then I put it into action. I began memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) It’s a big chunk of scripture. I began taking it 2 verses at a time and was actually amazed how far I got in working through those verses. That section is now one of my favorite scriptures and I’m sure a huge part of it was how much I meditate over those words, speaking them again and again into my mind and holding them in my heart. Memory work is good … treasuring them in our hearts. Thank you (Your neighbor at #InspireMeMonday)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I admire you for memorizing the Sermon on the Mount. I attempted it a few years ago but it didn’t totally stick. I’ve since concentrated on just Matthew 6, and so far it’s hanging around in my head and heart, thankfully. 🙂 Yes, it is amazing that it really is possible to do this. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Rachel! I’m really encouraged by this.

  2. Trudy

    “But the words from Jesus’s mouth or words about God’s everlasting love are words that I want to remember.” Amen! I’m with you on this, Lisa. Love and hugs to you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Trudy. It’s amazing some of the crazy things I can remember from years ago, so I might as well put some awesomely good things in the mix too! 🙂

  3. Betty Draper

    Since I did not get saved till I was 35 I had to catch up to those who learned bible verses while a young child and built on those when a teen at camps and youth meetings. Now that I am older the memory is important. I have to trust God to bring back what is there captured in my memory when age plays tricks on my mind , like hiding a scripture or a name or a song. He can only bring back what I put in my mind so I must keep working on learning more about Him through the Word. Good reminders Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Betty, you remind me that I should not take for granted that I did have those early years to implant scripture into my brain. I am grateful for that foundation. But I’m also glad that God can pick us up at any point in our lives and make himself known to us. What a blessing that at 35, you and he found each other and you’ve had many years together! Praying you are continuing to recover.

  4. June

    I’ve used the Navigator Topical Memory System in the past. (I need a refresher!) One of the things I like about it is that it takes you through the basic truths of scripture, so it’s great for witnessing as well. I like to do scripture memory at bedtime, so it’s the last thing in my mind before I fall asleep. There are so many great methods out there – I’ve used the scripture typer you recommended as well. The main thing is . . . to do it! Have a blessed week, my friend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve heard good things about the Navigator method for years but never tried it. Maybe one day! I like to do scripture memory at bedtime too. It relaxes me to set my mind on good things instead of all the things I think I *need* to do tomorrow, etc. Thanks for sharing, June.

  5. Jean Wise

    Richard Rohr inspires me. I always follow the motto : Garbage in, garbage out. So filling our hearts and minds with Scripture is perfect antidote. You inspired me too.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I could have guessed that Richard Rohr also inspires you, Jean. I haven’t read all of his books, but the ones I have read, I’ve really had to ponder over and read slowly. He’s deep!

  6. bethany mcilrath

    LISA I’m so excited. I kept asking the Lord yesterday what He’d have me memorize next and thought of this passage but hadn’t committed. You bet I have now. Thanks for sharing this and offering the weekly reminders and all!

  7. floyd

    I love quotes. I usually remember the basic ones too. But the times the Word of God comes to mind and heart I’m blessed by Him and by others that quote Him as well. It’s good to remember.

    You never cease to amaze me with all that your mind can accomplish and juggle all at one time!

    And now Hotel California is gonna be stuck in my head all day…

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I had a hunch you’d relate to some of those oldies but goodies, Floyd. 🙂 Jeff and I saw a Black Jacket Symphony concert a few months ago that did a cover of the complete Hotel California songs. It’s amazing how those lyrics have stuck around in my head for years and years. I do want God’s words to do the same…

  8. Lesley

    This is great, Lisa. I agree that memorising Scripture is so important. I’ve learned lots of individual verse but Psalm 91 is the only longer chunk I’ve learned. It’s a great one to have in my mind for times when I feel worried or anxious. I’d like to learn more and I love Colossians 3 so I’m going to join you and do the challenge. Thanks for this encouragement.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yay! I’m so glad that you’re going to do the Colossians 3 challenge with us, Lesley! It’s a good passage to have in our hearts. Psalm 91 is a beautiful chapter; I can see how it would bring you lots of comfort.

  9. Liz

    Most of my life I’ve been resistant to memorizing scripture (probably too much other information going in to my brain) but I’ve come to realize the times when I need to offer an encouraging verse are most often times I don’t have my Bible handy or when it would be awkward to open my Bible app. It needs to just spill from my mouth genuinely and with ease. Blessings on this important encouragment!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree with you, Liz: I often want those verses in the middle of the night when I don’t want to even open my eyes to read my bible app. It’s really been a blessing to me to have some good nuggets to choose from, even though those middle-of-the-night recitations may not always be crystal clear. 🙂

  10. Beth

    Memorizing Scripture is something I’m working on, Lisa. I love your tireless efforts to provide a challenge and “handles” for gripping these God-given truths in the day to day.

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