Sweet Memories

Some of my sweetest memories of going to church have been related to my Sunday School classes. One class, in particular, gets the award for fondest memory: My 5th-6th grade Sunday School class at my home church in Kentucky. My teachers, Mrs. Smalling and Mrs. Lindsay were a blast! I always looked forward to the class because I knew it would be fun and that my teachers loved me.

I remember one season in which Mrs. Smalling and Mrs. Lindsay challenged us to memorize 25 Bible verses that were in an activity booklet they gave each of us. Anyone who memorized all 25 would be awarded a certificate signed and presented by the pastor. A little competition and a prize at the end were enough to incentivize me!

Each week I would come to class having memorized one of the Bible verses. After I quoted it from memory, one of my teachers would sign off in the activity booklet. I couldn’t wait to get my award! Each signature took me one step closer.

Then something unexpected began to take place.

God started using His Word that I had “hidden in my heart” to move my heart. I had been memorizing and pondering verses that spoke of my own personal sinfulness and need for a Savior. It was not enough just to recite the verses, I recognized God was calling me to respond to them—to Him—as well. So as an 11-year-old I responded by trusting Jesus to forgive my sins and give me eternal life.

Yes, I memorized all 25 Bible verses and received my certificate from the pastor, but the best prize was a new relationship with God through Jesus my Savior.

Scripture memorization is a spiritual discipline that continues to enrich my life. Whenever I learn and meditate on God’s Word, I am making sweet memories. Then I can take advantage of those sweet memories to:

  • discover more about my God and His infinite list of characteristics—like how He is my strength

  • better understand God’s purpose and will for my life—down to daily decisions that will be pleasing to Him

  • call upon God for help with whatever I may be facing

  • share God’s Word at a moment’s notice with others who may need encouragement or direction.

Although memorizing Scripture can be challenging, it turns out that it is quite easy once a routine is developed. I have recently found it even easier to memorize extended passages rather than random verses. That is because a passage or chapter will provide context and continuity of thought that is often missed with a single verse.

Here are some suggestions on how to memorize a passage of Scripture (It has worked for me!):

  1. Pray first. Ask God to help you identify the passage to memorize.

  2. Set a reasonable but challenging target date to have fully memorized the passage.

  3. Tell/invite someone. That person will encourage you, learn with you, keep you accountable, and be someone to whom you can regularly recite what you have memorized.

  4. Keep a journal. On a page of the journal write the verse for the day. Underline key words. If you are a visual person like me, draw some representative pictures/symbols on the page. Also, list any notes or observations about the verse on the page.

  5. Read aloud the verse for the day 10 times (This way you can see it and hear it!)

  6. Quote it aloud from memory 10 times.

  7. The next day quote all the verses you have memorized from the passage one time. Quote yesterday’s verse 10 times. Do steps 4-6 with your new verse for the day.

That’s all there is to it. Why don’t you join me in making sweet memories by memorizing Scripture? You can do it, and you will not be disappointed. If I can help, give me a shout. ewilkins@fbcwoodbridge.org

- Next Steps Pastor Erik Wilkins