Filling Your Mind With…?

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):

  1. Index cards for flipping through the verses
  2. Some kind of a container to keep the cards together
  3. A counter to keep track of what you’ve done

That’s it.  My stuff looks like this:

memory pack

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.

11 Responses to “Filling Your Mind With…?”

  1. David Gough Says:

    A different kind of post from the master of “pimp busters.” A great inoculation for the spreading deadly virus that ironically promises health, wealth and happiness but in the end provides none of those. Appreciate this reminder!

  2. TaylorThought Says:

    Just discovered your blog today doing some research on black churches and forgotten books of the Bible. You have some very enlightening commentary and insight! I’m curious to know if you’ve seen the video called Black Church, Inc.

    (MN: I have not. I tried to take a look today but I had some trouble getting to the full documentary. )

  3. stannj51 Says:

    Funny you should bring this up. A friend of mine is a doctor, and as busy as he is, he has been memorizing Scripture for the last several years. He has 3 lists: Ones he has already memorized, one that he is working on now and one that he wants to get to, each verse with the version he’s chosen for that verse. They’re not necessarily just one isolated verse, but rather also entire thoughts spanning however many verses it takes in.

    We are working on getting an email group to share a verse(s) of the week for memorization for mutual edification.


    • mhjones2001 Says:

      Download the process and see what you think. It’s been quite effective (with minor mods to fit me) for me.

      • stannj51 Says:

        I read through that. It seems like you’d get good results if you stuck with that method, but it’s Saul’s armor for me. He advises making a covenant about it, but I am not about to make any new covenants with God. It was really a poor choice of words on his part. The NT speaks of purposing in your heart, which I think is fine for something like bible memorization since it is not an express command. If it was, we’d all have to repent of not doing it. He also uses Deut 8:3 about every word from the mouth of the Lord in the context of memorizing books. That goes too far.

        When memorizing a passage, I often substitute a word or phrase from another translation I think suits the thought better. I am not beholden to any translator’s philosophy. I am partial to NKJV and NASB and sometimes KJV and NIV, so my method of memorizing is eclectic. I pick the one I believe through my studies is easiest to understand, makes the best sense while maintaining accuracy. Take the Golden Rule, I’d never try it out of the KJV, it’s a tongue-twister.

        But, he is right that books often have one main point. Galatians is a good example. Yet, we have the Corinthian letters addressing many points. But even in Galatians. chapter 6’s admonitions and commands are universal rather than book-dependent.

        However, I can see myself memorizing entire chapters. Now that we are starting a little group to encourage the practice, we’ll see where it goes.

        Melvin, more power to you if you can follow his process. Memorizing an entire book like Matthew or Zechariah is something I’d admire. Maybe someday I’ll purpose to do just that.


      • stannj51 Says:

        Melvin, here is another thing I was interested in, the actual word count of the books. They’re not ranked the same as by verse count. Jeremiah is actually the longest, then Genesis then Psalms which is kind of surprising.

        (count taken from KJV)


  4. Preach Preacher Preach Says:

    This is off subject. I went to a funeral and 30 Preacher were there. But The monthly Minister meeting only 2 or 3 show up. What the problem. PPP

  5. stannj51 Says:

    Melvin, how are you doing on Scripture memorization?


    (MN: Smoothing out Philemon and working on Jude. Thanks for checking. )

    • stannj51 Says:

      Good, As you know, my method is different. I’ve managed to get Galatians ch 6 done; John 3:14-21; Romans 13:8-10; Jeremiah 17:9-10; 1 Peter 4:1-2; and a few others. I’ve not quite gotten Isaiah 53 yet, but within striking distance.

      One thing is interesting is the connections you can make between passages you’re memorizing. For example, John 3:19-20 about men hating light and not coming into it because their deeds are evil shows exactly why men hide their faces from Messiah. He always convicts of sin like the light does when it shines upon the soul.

      I’m sure you’ll be seeing new connections between your passages even if they’re seemingly disparate topics.


  6. Mrs. S. Ratliff, Charlotte, NC Says:

    I almost never respond to others who criticize and tear others down instead of praying for them, this certainly can’t be Christian but it can reverse back on you and your seed. Amen. God Bless.

    (MN: Not “tearing him down.” I am pointing out things the people of God should be aware of, even at both Peter and Paul said we should. Pray for him? Sure! But pray too that the church have the wisdom to stay away from him. )

  7. Bernice Trammell Says:

    Have you not read in the word not to judge? (MN: I haven’t read a Knee Jerk Reaction in quite a while. Have you not read in the word that you are to judge righteous judgment? Why is it that supposedly righteous people, people who perhaps feel they are really spiritual, seem to read so little of scripture, and then not read it very carefully. If JESUS tells us to judge righteously, how in the world do you come to the conclusion we are not to judge. Was Paul wrong when, in Chapter 5 of 1 Corinthians, he TOLD the church to put the fellow who was sinning openly and defiantly out of the church. If that’s not judging, I sure would like to know what is. Do you even read your Bible?<strong>) Christians surely had better stay in the word for them selves. (MN: Yes they should. And I suggest you at least START reading the word since you question clearly indicates that you don’t ) Why don’t you pray for these people instead saying things may or may not true. (MN: So tell me why you think I can’t do both?<strong>) We can look at the fruit of people’s life, but the Lord will be our judge not any man on this earth. (MN: What is the point of looking at someone’s fruit if you aren’t going to act on it? ) I believe that you know this.

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