A longtime gospel preacher that I knew, Johnny Ramsey, was a walking, talking Bible. He could deliver a sermon without any notes and could quote scripture after scripture from memory. He didn’t have a photographic memory or some special gift. He simply worked hard to memorize something that was important to him. Every night his wife would flip through index cards with scriptures and quiz Johnny on the passages he was striving to memorize. He was effective in his memorization because he used these verses often. Remember, use it or lose it.
Memorization is one of those things that many of us have convinced ourselves that we cannot do. It is true that some might be better than others with this skill, but all of us can do it. In her book “The Secrets of Top Students,” Stefanie Weisman writes the following:
Memorization has gotten a bad rap recently. Lots of students, and even some educators, say that being able to reason is more important than knowing facts; and besides, why bother committing things to memory when you’ve got Google? My response to this – after I’ve finished inwardly groaning – is that of course reasoning is important, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know facts as well. It’s not like you have to choose between one or the other. Besides, facts give you a foundation on which to reason about things.
Ms. Weisman is correct. The facts that we memorize give us a credible foundation from which to build a reasonable argument.
This year my family and I have committed to memorizing various passages from the Bible and other important information from this text. My wife and I set this goal for ourselves and our family after my wife recently filled in for our daughter’s Bible class. We grew up memorizing various information and verses from the Bible and that foundation of knowledge has served us well as we reason from God’s word with the issues we face in life. When my wife asked even the most basic of questions to this young class they looked at her with big blank stares.
Our first text that we decided to memorize as a family (which is on the downloadable worksheet at the end of this post) was Deuteronomy 6:5-9. Please note the kids are only memorizing verse 5. Here is the entire passage:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Even though this passage is from the Old Testament, it gives a clear reasoning for why we are to commit God’s word to memory. We (the parents) are supposed to diligently teach our children about God. We are to talk about God when we are at home, when we are out and about, at the end of the day, and at the beginning of the day. God is supposed to be a part of our lives and conversation at all times. The Old Testament provides a clear picture of what happens to God’s people when His word is not a part of their lives.
On Sunday I challenged our church family to join us in working to memorize more of God’s word in 2015. The worksheet in this post was included in our Sunday handout. I have already heard from several who are excited to work on this with their family or as individuals. The worksheet provides challenges for young children all the way through adults. Even our 3 year-old is working with us to memorize the most basic concepts of the verses we are working on as a family. Don’t believe me? Here is a quick video of our youngest saying the books of the New Testament last night at dinner while we were working on this challenge…
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So without any more delay, let me challenge you to join our family as we work to write more of God’s word on our hearts. In the coming weeks we will have more worksheets with a verse, a fact, and some tips and tricks to keep your family motivated and having fun with this challenge. Download Written On My Heart – Week 1. I will be posting a new worksheet every Tuesday throughout 2015.