Scripture memorization: not just for Sunday school students!

Do you have any Bible passages memorized? If you were brought up in a church community like mine, Scripture memorization was a staple of the Sunday school experience. Every Sunday morning, on the car ride to church, I’d find myself hastily memorizing that week’s Bible (or catechism) passage, knowing that my Sunday school teacher would show no mercy if I mangled Romans 8:28 or stammered my way through Heidelberg Catechism question and answer #1.

Over at the Addenda and Errata blog, Dan Reid admits to living through a similarly demanding Scripture-memorization routine as a child. But as an adult, he’s developed a new perspective toward memorization. Memorizing Scripture needn’t be just an onerous Sunday school routine: it can be a wonderful way to internalize and reflect on passages of the Bible.

His memorization strategy is more ambitious than most Christians’ (he does some of his memorization in the original Greek!), but there’s no reason anyone couldn’t get a lot out of memorizing Bible verses in good old English. Here’s some encouragement from Dan for anyone considering embarking on Scripture memorization:

First, I learned that memorizing doesn’t come as easily at age 59 as it did at age 9 or 20. Though I’m sure there are many other folks my age who can memorize with much less effort than I! But it’s possible. Just don’t set your expectations too high. Don’t beat yourself up when it doesn’t seem to be “taking” fast enough. If you keep at it, the text will work its way into the cranium, laying down its patterns and crystallizing in words, sentences and paragraphs. Keep inching forward and keep reviewing. Nothing is lost and much is gained by taking more time. Think of it as meditation. […]

And here is another benefit: walk the dog, go on a drive or a run, and lines and paragraphs of the Greek text come to mind unbidden. Not bad.

If you’re looking to dive into the teachings of the Bible in a new way this year, I can think of few better ways to do so. So grab a Bible, pick a passage or two (start with some short and easy ones), and see if you can’t commit some Scripture to memory!

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