Why and How to Memorize Scripture

Most of us wish we had better memories. It’s not only that a better memory would probably mean better grades and therefore a better job; we also see the benefit of a better memory in our spiritual lives.

Why Memorize Scripture
If we could memorize Scripture better, we would be able to recall God’s Word to help us in our trials, we would be able to counsel and comfort others better, we would be able to pray more in line with God’s revealed will, and we would be more effective witnesses and evangelists. We’re not short of motivation, are we!

Here’s a short video of Gary George explaining Why It’s Important To Memorize Scripture.

The read Tim Challies on Why Memorize Scripture

You might also be inspired and encouraged by World Memory Champion, Nelson Dellis.

The secret to his success?

It wasn’t innate ability or his genes; he says he has very ordinary abilities. It was hard work (four years of training five hours a day) and motivation (he was shocked into improving his memory by his gran’s Alzheimers). Have a look at this amazing infographic to see what he is now able to do.

How To Memorize Scripture
That’s the “Why?” but what about the “How?” Here are some links to help you get started.

A Smorgasbord of Bible Memorization Methods

How To Memorize Entire Books of the Bible

Scripture Memory Resources

6 Science Backed Ways To Improve Your Memory

Thirty Minutes a Day

And here’s an old video with my 10 Tips on Memorizing Scripture.

  1. Start early
  2. Highlight
  3. Graphics
  4. Speak out loud
  5. Emphasize
  6. Set time limit
  7. Let the cement set
  8. Review and review
  9. Test
  10. Practice

Let’s Stop Forgiving Those Who Don’t Want Forgiveness

I’ve lost count of the number of times some tragedy has occurred – a mass shooting, a terrorist attack, a drunk driving death – and the victims or their relatives, usually Christians, start “forgiving” the offenders within hours or days of the crime.

I understand the motive, and also the desire to present an attractive witness about Christian forgiveness to the world. But it’s not a faithful witness to God. It does not reflect how God forgives, which is to be our pattern and model. Here’s why:

God does not forgive those who do not want forgiveness.

Here’s how God forgives:

1. God is willing, ready, and eager to forgive everyone: That’s His beautiful nature, His compassionate character, and His constant desire.

2. God offers forgiveness to everyone: God offers to release those who have offended Him from their deserved punishment and alienation from Him. There’s a big difference between offering it and giving it. Offering it is unconditional; giving it is conditional.

3. God does not forgive everyone regardless of their response to His offer: Although He offers forgiveness to all, not all respond. Some don’t even think they’ve done anything needing forgiveness.

4. God’s forgiveness is conditional upon repentance (Luke 13:3; 17:3; Acts 2:38): God’s forgiveness is conditional upon the offender wanting forgiveness and wanting to turn from His offending ways.

5. Forgiveness through repentance produce reconciliation on both sides: Offering forgiveness reduces the temperature of the conflict; but only the giving of forgiveness, in response to repentance, ends it.

Having seen how God forgives, let’s remind ourselves of the basic biblical principle:

Our forgiveness is to be patterned upon God’s forgiveness (Eph. 4:32; Matt. 6:12, 14-15).

Therefore…

1. We must be willing, ready, and eager to forgive everyone: This is not easy and usually requires Gospel work to be done in our own hearts as we realize how much God has forgiven us.

2. We must offer forgiveness to everyone: This step and the previous step together are a kind of lesser forgiveness, sometimes called positional forgiveness. We are in a position where we are ready to forgive and we offer it freely. If this is what people are talking about when they say, “I forgive the person who raped and murdered my daughter,” then that’s fine. It’s more than fine; it’s amazing grace and can only be given by God. However, it’s not forgiveness in the fullest biblical sense and must not be confused with it.

3. We must not forgive everyone regardless of their response to our offer: Forgiving someone before they repent is un-godlike, avoids dealing with serious issues, and while it might offer some temporary and superficial relief, does not produce long-term satisfaction to the conscience nor reconciliation.

4. We must forgive upon the condition of repentance: According to Matthew 18:15-17, if a person sins we must reprove them. If they do not respond with repentance, we must take it to another level. If they repent at any stage, we must forgive them, even if it’s the 490th time they’ve done it (Matt. 18:22)

5. Forgiveness through repentance produces reconciliation on both sides.
Full forgiveness, sometimes called transactional forgiveness, is when all five steps occur, resulting in deep and lasting reconciliation. This is the kind of forgiveness that most glorifies God, most benefits the offender, and most satisfies the offended.

However, I don’t want to minimize the releasing power of steps 1 and 2. Some people say, “I can never forgive until Jim repents.” If so, you are going to carry around a huge and growing load of resentment as you pile up unresolved conflicts in your life.

But, if by God’s grace you are enabled to take these first two steps, to work through positional forgiveness, you will experience wonderful load-lightening relief. Here’s a sample prayer if you’re in this situation:

Sample Prayer
“Lord, Jim has done me great wrong, but won’t confess it or ask for forgiveness.

I can’t therefore forgive him without misrepresenting you or damaging his spiritual welfare.

However, I’m not going to carry this pain around to burden and burn my mind and heart for years. I’m handing this over to you, because you said, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.’

Lord, you know I don’t want your vengeance executed on Jim, but with this prayer I’m promising no more vengeance on my part. I hand that entirely over to you.

I promise to not dwell upon this incident, but rather I transfer it all over to you, and trust you to put right in your own time and way. You know I am ready to forgive Jim fully, freely, and forever, should it ever be asked for.

Please help Jim to understand your view of sin and to seek your forgiveness and mine. Amen”

Best book on forgiveness that I’ve come across is Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Brauns.


Check out

Creative Routines
Fascinating infographic showing the power of routine in famous creatives and thinkers.

A Healing Counselee is a Meditating Counselee
Todd Hardin explains the benefits of biblical mediation in counseling.

What a Newborn Can Teach You About Time Management
Can you have a baby and be a Time Management Ninja at the same time?

5 Ways Facebook May Be Harming Your Church
Dr. Michael Kruger: “The technology does not necessarily create sin patterns, but exacerbates the sin patterns that are already present within our hearts, and the hearts of our congregations. In response, we need to do something that we needed to do anyway: give our people a robust and vibrant picture of what the church is and their place in it.  In other words, we need to give them a full-orbed, biblical ecclesiology.”

Preaching Holy War
Excellent brief explanation of holy war in the Old Testament and tips on how to preach it.

Reformation 101
Justin Taylor highlights the opening talk from Steve Nichols’s series of Reformation Profiles, and points to a number of resources on the Reformation.

Gloria Furman on Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full
You can buy Gloria’s book of Gospel meditations here.


Children’s Bible Reading Plan

Here’s this week’s morning and evening reading plan in Word and pdf.

This week’s single reading plan for morning or evening in Word and pdf.

If you want to start at the beginning, this is the first year of the children’s Morning and Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf. And this is the second year in Word and pdf.

The first 12 months of the Morning or Evening Bible reading plan in Word and pdf.

Here’s an explanation of the plan.

And here are the daily Bible Studies gathered into individual Bible books with Genesis and Matthew now complete (explanatory note).

Old Testament

New Testament


Did Old Testament Believers Expect A Divine Messiah?

Did Old Testament believers have any expectation of a Divine Messiah?

When I was recently asked that question, my instinctive reaction was to say “No.”

The Old Testament believers knew that the Messiah would be a man, that he would suffer, and that he would be glorified after his sufferings (Gen. 3:15; Luke 24:25-27; 1 Peter 1:11-13). But they did not know that he would be God.

Or did they?

As I thought more about this, I began to realize that there were some clear Old Testament indications that the Messiah would indeed be God.

1. The many Angel of the Lord appearances in which the Son of God comes to earth in human form (not human flesh yet), stunning some of His people into the realization that they had just seen God (Genesis 16:13; Judges 13:22).

2. Isaiah’s prophecies of the Messiah being called “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14) and “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6).

3. God’s constantly expressed desire to dwell near to and among His people in the Tabernacle and in the Temple. Whatever else these two structures taught, it was that God loved to live with and like His people.

4. The conversation between the LORD and the Lord in Messianic Psalm 110.

5. Hebrews chapter one quotes the Old Testament seven times to prove the deity of the Messiah. Surely that wan’t just with hindsight.

6. In Zechariah 12:10, the Lord says “They will look on me whom they pierced.”

Perhaps all this explains the readiness of the wise men, Simeon, and Anna, to worship the infant Jesus.

Of course, just as in the New Testament, “no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3). Spiritual enlightenment was still needed to believe these verses and put them all together with the rest of the Old Testament revelation.