If you’ve ever heard me teach the Bible, you know that I don’t use a Bible when I do!
Odd, I know.
The reason is that I can’t see the Bible. (If you’re a new reader, this might be a good time to tell you I’m blind.) Instead, I try to memorize the passages I am teaching.
For that reason, I am often asked how I memorize Scripture. So, I thought I would share with you one way I do it.
But, before I do, can I please say that the reason I began to memorize Scripture was out of necessity? I want to dispel any myth that I am some kind of unattainable super spiritual saint!
Sister, no way!
I do love the Word, and I do love the Lord. Yet, I have a feeling if I could see a Bible with my own eyes, I may be less motivated to memorize It.
Because of this, one of the best gifts that came with blindness was the need to memorize Scripture. Memorizing it is the only way I can access it. However, it has also taught me that even if we can see to read the Bible, we still need to hide it in our hearts.
And, no matter how great or awful your memory is, you can do this. You can memorize Scripture. All it takes is a little Scripture memory muscle building.
Because, the truth is, memory does matter.
That’s why what God told His people in Deuteronomy 17 is so interesting, and it’s a great example of how we can develop a Scripture memory muscle too.
God told His people that when they finally got to their land, they would want a king. He warned them to choose wisely and even laid out some parameters for this king. These included things like: don’t have too many wives or too much wealth (Deuteronomy 17:14-17). Good advice!
But, the most astounding standard God set for the king was this: “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law” (Deuteronomy 17:18). God made it clear that copying His Word—word for word—was to be the first act of the king.
Now, this was thousands of years ago. There weren’t ballpoint pens or computers with voice-to-text software. This was a huge job.
Some scholars think “the law” refers to the first five books of our Old Testament—Genesis through Deuteronomy. Other scholars believe God is referring to what we now know as the book of Deuteronomy. But, even if it were only Deuteronomy, girl, that’s a whole lot of writing!!
Our English translation of Deuteronomy has 34 chapters, over 900 verses, and over 28,000 words! Talk about writer’s cramp!!
Why would God have the king do such a thing? Why couldn’t a scribe write it for him? Why did he need to write it himself?
Research shows as we write something down, as far as the brain is concerned, it is as if we are actually doing that thing. Writing seems to act as a mini-rehearsal for doing the thing we are writing about.
Writing further convinces the brain of what is important. What we write down, we are more likely to remember, even if we don’t refer back to our notes.
The process of actually writing something down requires some thought, evaluating, and ordering the info that we’re transcribing. It’s the process—not the notes themselves—that helps fix ideas more firmly in our minds.
So, that is one way I memorize Scripture. I listen to it over and over.
And, each time I listen, I type it out. (I have a talking computer.) If I could use my hand, pen to paper, I would, but trust me, that would be a scribbly mess, and my brain would be utterly confused!
But, the process of listening so acutely and typing it word for word, helps me hear it differently, meditate on it, think through it, and eventually, memorize it.
My friend Kathy began copying Scripture, word for word, several years ago.
“It makes me absorb the Word in a more detailed way. It also feels like every word goes into my heart,” she said. And, as her friend, I can testify that what she has written, she lives.
That’s why God told the king to copy His Word. Because what we write with our hand gets written on our hearts.
“It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees” (Deuteronomy 17:19).
We may feel forgetful and fuzzy-brained sometimes, but we can apply pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard to write down God’s Word. As we do, it will be written in our hearts, remembered in our minds, and applied to our lives.
So, ready, set … write!
What’s a favorite Scripture verse that you’ve memorized? Share in the comments!