A couple months ago, I told my wife I was going to single-handedly bring back memory verses. You know, kind of how Brian Setzer single-handedly brought back swing music? Remember when we were kids and had to memorize a verse from the Bible each week for Sunday School? Yeah, I barely remember it, too, but I'm wondering why it's not done any more. It was before I was supposed to teach our Sunday morning class that I had this wonderful revelation. Well, I have failed to single-handedly bring back memorization of parts of the Bible for two reasons. One, I'm not the only one pondering this line of thought. And two, I failed to mention it during any of the four weeks that I taught class in the month of September.
I think there's a lot of value to memorization, and I'm sad to see it's decline over the last 20 years (at least from what I have seen in my experience). I think, spiritually, anyway, it's more a means to an end than an end in itself. I remember scripture memorization in college (Freed-Hardeman University). I didn't see the point then (and, in a way, still don't - is it such a great idea to cram 20 verses of I Kings in your head on a Thursday morning just so you can write it down 10 minutes later on a piece of paper, get an “A” and forget it by Thursday afternoon?).
Obviously, there's a higher purpose. I think the real power of memorization is when we can hide the Word in our hearts permanently. If we can hold on to that scripture, not just memorize it for a day, week or month, but truly hide it away in our hearts, it’s there; we can access it any time for prayer, for meditation, for evangelism. Knowing Psalm 23 can give you comfort. Bringing to mind Phillipians 4:13 can give us strength when we need it most. I've already "re-memorized" the 23rd Psalm, and I've decided that I also need to memorize Psalm 51. These are daily habits that can have great power in our lives. And apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so. In an odd string of degrees of separation, tonight I was reading Edward Fudge's graceEmail Family Notes (dated September 23) in which he quoted Greg Newton. Following the link to Greg Newton's blog (Travelers), I connected to another blog from Greg's - Frank Bellizi's. In Frank's last blog, on October 12 (and on the 10th), Frank had written a little bit about memorization, and linked to a rather interesting article titled In Defense of Memorization. Which brought me back to some thoughts I had written down sometime toward the end of August.
It always fascinates me how God works. Take a look at that article...it's spectrum is a bit broader than mine, but it's interesting reading nonetheless.
Quote of the Day
Then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it.
-The Preacher (from Ecclesiastes)