The London Baptist Confession of 1689, in describing Scripture says:
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture, to which nothing is to be added at any time, either by new revelation of the Spirit, or by the traditions of men.
Did you catch that? No other or additional revelation from God. Everything we need to live lives of faith and growth is expressly set down or can be worked out (necessarily contained) in Scripture.
“So what, Melvin?” I can practically hear you asking.
So what is the best way to make Scripture a part of you?
You can study it. That is certainly called for within the Bible itself. So certainly, study the Scriptures and show yourself approved, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
So after you study it, then what? Yes, you should definitely study some more. But I have a suggestion, which, if you have been doing it just a little bit, you probably already know what’s coming.
Romans says we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Psalm 1 says we should meditate on God’s word. Deuteronomy says we are to talk about and think about His word in our coming in, and in our going out. And though the Pharisees kind of misunderstood what God was saying, it should be on the front of our minds.
Memorize God’s word. Don’t just read it, or carry your Bible around with you (or worse, leave your Bible in your car’s rear window). Memorize it.
“But why Melvin? I have other things to do. Besides, it’s hard” you say with a slight, but understandable whine.
If you want God to speak to you (heaven knows the pimps are always saying He is), hide His words in your heart. I guarantee you He will speak to you. You’re a husband or a father? Memorize Ephesians chapter five and I guarantee you God will speak to you, explaining to you how you are to love your wife even as Christ loved the church. You’ll get to hear that even when, as far as you are concerned, the woman has gone crazy.
Memorize and meditate on verses related to worker/boss relationships and stealing and see if God talks to you when you’re late for work every day but expect to be paid for a full day’s labor. Try some sections that deal with gossip and see if you can tear that sister down that you don’t like. You have a hard time doing it as God speaks to you with His word.
For the last couple of years I’ve been memorizing chapters. Right now, I’m working on Philemon. You know, Philemon, the book right after Titus and Just before Hebrews. But don’t be overly impressed. It’s only 25 verses long. I’m struggling, but I just finished working on vss. 15 through 18. That leaves seven more verses that I should be able to knock out in the next three days or so. Then it will just be a matter of perfecting the entire text.
What I am suggesting is that you not just memorize a random verse here and there. Yes, I guess you should be proud of the fact you can recite Genesis 1:1. Of course you have to admit you are a total slacker if the only verse you know is John 11:35. If you watch enough football, you should be able to recite John 3:16, and maybe a couple of other “famous “verses.
But those are all safe. You can treat your husband like a dog and recite those verses all day long. But memorize those “wives submit” sections of Scripture (you know the ones in Ephesians and 1 Peter 3), especially after actually studying them and working to understand what they are saying. Once you memorize them, they live in your mind. They don’t go away. Even if you don’t refresh them, God can call them to your remembrance. And the more you add (chapters on faith, sections on perseverance, persecution, or holiness), the more difficulty you will have dismissing your husband, even if you are fully convinced he is the meanest, most moronic human being ever hatched.
But how do you do it? How do you memorize? One good way of memorizing entire sections of Scripture was put together by a fellow by the name of Andrew Davis. The eventual objective of his process is to have you tackle entire books of the Bible. That’s right, entire books.
I’ve been using it. The bad news is that it takes commitment and some measure of discipline. The good news is with a modicum of discipline and with some wisdom in establishing your goals, you can memorize a lot more Scripture than you think you can. I’m a lazy pig. I know it. You know it. But if I can do it, then I have all the confidence you can too.
I’ve memorized Ephesians 6:13 through 18. I have (again) Romans 6 and Romans 12. I quit on Romans 8. But once I finish a couple of other shorter books (Jude, 2 and 3 John) I would like to work my way back around to Romans. Can you imagine having the entire Letter to the Romans knocking around in your head – and accessible? As I said, I have almost completed Philemon and if all goes well, I will work on Jude. Once I gain a little more confidence, I will likely tackle something like Ephesians (the whole thing). Then on to Romans. I’m able, right now, to average about a verse a day (memorizing three at a time). And I’m pretty much on schedule for finishing Philemon this week. Then I have to spend time just reciting it.
I’m not going to lay out the process here. You can download the pamphlet here. You don’t need much to use the process. I would suggest the following (once you read the process you’ll understand):
- Index cards for flipping through the verses
- Some kind of a container to keep the cards together
- A counter to keep track of what you’ve done
That’s it. My stuff looks like this:
It’s similar to what I presented several years ago for memorizing individual verses (a good thing, and you can do that in conjunction with the extensive memorization). You can’t spend too much time memorizing. The worst that might happen is you won’t have time for one of those STOOOOOOPID reality shows.
Memorize. Even if you don’t do the extensive memorization, memorize individual verses. God commands it and you know it’s good for you.