Christianity 201

October 8, 2018

Verses to Memorize

As you get older it gets increasingly difficult to memorize verses of scripture. However, recently, I decided to memorize the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount, which began haphazardly trying to remember who gets what!

Sheila Wray-Gregoire is a Canadian author and blogger who writes about marriage, family life and parenting and probably counts women among the sizeable majority of her audience. Her blog is called, To Love Honor and Vacuum. She wrote and posted this in 2011.


…I wrote a post complaining that we are “dumbing down” church and school, and don’t require kids to learn mastery of anything anymore. I asked what we could do about it.

And I decided maybe it was time I did something, rather than just complain. And so I’ve put together this list of the 50 verses I think are most important to memorize. I know many families want to memorize verses together, but they don’t know where to start. Here you go. One a week for a year. Even if this is all you ever memorize, you will have God’s word in your heart for the most important verses, I think, in the Bible. I’m going to type the list with the verses first, and then at the end include a list of just the references, if you want those to just copy and paste.

Why not make little memory verse cards out of 3×5 cards, and keep them at the dinner table? Then every night you can go over this week’s verse. By the end of the year, you’ll have all of these memorized!

I chose these because they’re a cross-section of doctrine, promises, and comfort. You may want to add others, or to substitute. Feel free. Consider this a starting point, not anything definitive. I hope you you find it useful! All verses are from the NIV.

God

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 40:28
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Salvation

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Revelation 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

Ephesians 2:8,9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Assurance

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Isaiah 40:30-31
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart ,and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Christian Life

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Psalm 37:4,5
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this.

Proverbs 3:5,7
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

James 4:7
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Luke 16:13
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

1 John 4:7,8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 19:14
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Philippians 4:6,7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Scripture

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:11
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Confession/Temptation

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it.

Mission

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Matthew 25:40
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 28:19-20
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Bigger challenges:

If you want to memorize whole chapters, here are my top 5:

Isaiah 53
Psalm 23
1 Corinthians 13
John 15
Psalm 139

These chapters are all important; I have left them out of the top 50 verses because I couldn’t choose just one or two verses from any of them. The whole thing is great. So if you’re up for a family challenge, memorize all of one of them!

Look at it this way: if you spend one year memorizing the fifty verses, and the next year reviewing those fifty and memorizing a chapter, and then go back to those fifty verses again to make sure you have them down, and then the next year go back and do a different chapter, and so on, over the course of ten years you’ll have 50 verses and 5 chapters so committed to memory there is no way anyone could ever forget it.

And I think knowing fewer verses, but knowing them inside and out, is sometimes more beneficial in the long run than trying to make yourself learn a verse a day or something.

So print this out and use it with your family!

Happy memorizing!

December 2, 2017

Texts Worth Memorizing

Today we’re paying a return visit to the blog Preacher Smith written by Missouri pastor David Smith. At his church they have been working to memorize 45 scripture texts this year. (A tough assignment as you get older!) As of October they had posted 40 of these, so I’m not sure what the last five were. Take some time to look at these. Ask yourself, ‘Why are these important?’ Or, ‘Out of all the verses available, why did they choose these?’ See if there’s any passages here you’re unfamiliar with and perhaps spend more time looking at those, or look them up online to get the fuller context. Is this a type of project that you, your small group, or your church could consider for 2018?

The First 40 Texts in The C45 Project

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him … (Ephesians 1.3-4a NIV)

▪ Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Have respectful fear of God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2.17 CEB)

▪ … make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life … (Matthew 6.33a KNT)

▪ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6.8 NASB)

▪ … imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11.1 NLT)

▪ … the LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin … (Exodus 34.6-7a NRSV)

▪ … yet by no means clearing the guilty. (Exodus 34.7a NRSV)

▪ … your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6.8b NIV)

▪ … offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to this world’s pattern, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12.1-2a)

▪ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14.6 CEB)

▪ My grace is enough for you; my power comes to perfection in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12.9 KNT)

▪ Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16.13-14 NIV)

▪ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1.1,14a NIV)

▪ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3.16 TNIV)

▪ Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe. (John 20.29b NRSV)

▪ … even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. (1 Peter 3.14-15a TNIV)

▪ Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience … (1 Peter 3.15b-16a TNIV)

▪ Return the joy of your salvation to me and sustain me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51.12 CEB)

▪ The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145.18-19 NIV)

▪ Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119.105 NRSV)

▪ God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble. That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart … (Psalm 46.1-2a CEB)

▪ … God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. … Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. (Acts 2.36b,38a NIV)

▪ Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5.21 NIV)

▪ … I may have all the faith needed to move mountains — but if I have no love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13.2b GNT)

▪ … the only thing that counts is faith working through love. (Galatians 5.6b NRSV)

▪ “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Mark 1.17 NIV)

▪ I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14.13-14 CEB)

▪ I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. (Luke 6.47 NRSV)

▪ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart … (Matthew 11.28-29a NIV)

▪ The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6.24-26 NRSV)

▪ Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6.4-5 NRSV)

▪ You must not take revenge nor hold a grudge against any of your people; instead, you must love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19.18 CEB)

▪ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1.27 NRSV)

▪ Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. (Revelation 21.5 CEB)

▪ My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect … (James 1.2-4a NRSV)

▪ Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 13.1 NIV)

▪ … if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. (1 John 1.9 CEB)

▪ … let us draw near to God with a true heart in the full assurance of faith … hold fast to the unwavering confession of hope … consider how to provoke one another to love and good works … (Hebrews 10.22,23,24 TCV)

▪ I have sent you to harvest what you didn’t work hard for; others worked hard, and you will share in their hard work. (John 4.38 CEB)

▪ … choose this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24.15 NRSV)

June 11, 2015

The Word in Song

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Col 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

While I also love the hymns, I am grateful for the new songs that God has birthed in the present generation of worship leaders. It was through the “choruses” that most of our churches started using in the 1980s that I committed a lot of scripture to memory, as well as through the music of the early Jesus Music pioneers such as Andrae Crouch.

But lately I haven’t been finding as many songs that have resonated with me as strongly (see the sidebar at right for some we’ve used here) and haven’t been posting as many with the devotions.

I once asked my kids, after a particularly long devotional time, if they could tell when it was the author speaking, and when it was a scripture quotation. They claimed they could. I think it’s a reasonable response, the scriptures speak with a greater authority. (Maybe there was something in my voice that would read them differently, too; I don’t know.)

This is probably true of worship songs as well. There is a greater authority when the lyrics draw directly from scripture (or parallel a scripture narrative as in this example). Plus, we gain a vehicle which makes memorization easier. The Scripture In Song movement, which originated in New Zealand, was a great example of this, and back in the day hundreds of songs copied that format.

(I think that modern worship music is suffering from a bit of lethargy right now, which is why we’re seeing so much lyrical borrowing from classic hymns, but we’ll save that for another time. They’re also being forced to survive commercially producing material that gets airplay on Christian radio.)

Today we crave teaching, sermons, books, podcasts, etc., but earlier generations of Christians didn’t have all these things; they simply craved the word. The imagery in Ezekiel 3 is a little hard to swallow (bad pun, as you’ll see) but we’re told,

2So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. 3He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth. 4Then He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them.…”

One of Eugene Peterson’s titles is Eat This Book, and the picture of letting the Word fill us and nourish us and sustain us is something that should challenge us.

I wrote a few months ago how I struggle with this, how I need those sermons and podcasts to shove me off the dock into the water of God’s Word (see the indented section next to the picture). Those things are good, but only if they land somewhere connected to the Biblical texts.

If they only propel you into further consideration of some man’s ideas or agenda, they aren’t accomplishing anything; you would do best to immerse yourself in the text itself; to go to the source.


 

Read more: In a very short C201 post, I explored the four benefits that scripture promises us.

 

 

October 17, 2012

50 Verses To Memorize

Sheila Wray-Gregoire is a Canadian author and blogger who writes about marriage, family life and parenting and probably counts women among the sizeable majority of her audience. Her blog is called, To Love Honor and Vacuum. Really. Her name came up in conversation yesterday and that led me to look beyond her recent blog posts for something that would fit here, and I found this one from nearly two years ago.


Last week I wrote a post complaining that we are “dumbing down” church and school, and don’t require kids to learn mastery of anything anymore. I asked what we could do about it.

And I decided maybe it was time I did something, rather than just complain. And so I’ve put together this list of the 50 verses I think are most important to memorize. I know many families want to memorize verses together, but they don’t know where to start. Here you go. One a week for a year. Even if this is all you ever memorize, you will have God’s word in your heart for the most important verses, I think, in the Bible. I’m going to type the list with the verses first, and then at the end include a list of just the references, if you want those to just copy and paste.

Why not make little memory verse cards out of 3×5 cards, and keep them at the dinner table? Then every night you can go over this week’s verse. By the end of the year, you’ll have all of these memorized!

I chose these because they’re a cross-section of doctrine, promises, and comfort. You may want to add others, or to substitute. Feel free. Consider this a starting point, not anything definitive. I hope you you find it useful! All verses are from the NIV.

God

Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 40:28
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Salvation

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Revelation 3:20
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

Ephesians 2:8,9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Assurance

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Isaiah 40:30-31
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart ,and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Christian Life

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Psalm 37:4,5
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this.

Proverbs 3:5,7
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

James 4:7
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Luke 16:13
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

1 John 4:7,8
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Prayer

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 19:14
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Philippians 4:6,7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Scripture

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:11
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Confession/Temptation

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it.

Mission

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Matthew 25:40
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 28:19-20
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Bigger challenges:

If you want to memorize whole chapters, here are my top 5:

Isaiah 53
Psalm 23
1 Corinthians 13
John 15
Psalm 139

These chapters are all important; I have left them out of the top 50 verses because I couldn’t choose just one or two verses from any of them. The whole thing is great. So if you’re up for a family challenge, memorize all of one of them!

Look at it this way: if you spend one year memorizing the fifty verses, and the next year reviewing those fifty and memorizing a chapter, and then go back to those fifty verses again to make sure you have them down, and then the next year go back and do a different chapter, and so on, over the course of ten years you’ll have 50 verses and 5 chapters so committed to memory there is no way anyone could ever forget it.

And I think knowing fewer verses, but knowing them inside and out, is sometimes more beneficial in the long run than trying to make yourself learn a verse a day or something.

So print this out and use it with your family!

Happy memorizing!

September 6, 2012

The “Write” Kind of Scribe

NIV Deut:1118 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

The picture above is of a scripture passage my oldest son chose to write out by hand almost a year  ago and post on his bedroom wall.  It’s remarkable for two reasons, the first being that a few years earlier his struggle with cursive writing would never have produced anything so legible, the second being the love that he has for the Word of God, evidenced by the time he spends in scripture each day.

Writing out Bible passages by hand has become somewhat archaic in a world of word processing.  But it’s just one of a number of subtle changes taking place in terms of our relationship with the printed word:

  • Many of us leave our Bibles at home on Sundays, finding it more convenient to use Bibles provided at weekend services
  • Many choose to use Bible apps on their smart phones instead of following from a print text
  • Many have their devotional and Bible study time driving to work using a devotional on CD
  • Scripture memorization has become less commonplace in our children’s and youth ministry programs
  • People like myself often ‘absorb’ scripture throughout the day through online articles and blogs but don’t directly read anything at source
  • Our worship music is ‘vertical’ which can derive from psalms and similar passages, but is therefore less reliant on the ‘Scripture in Song’ type of choruses that were based more directly on scripture
  • The giving out of tracts has died as a practice; many of these began with scripture and contained several Bible passages
  • The reading of Christian books has diminished in a screen-saturated world.
  • Scripture plaques, often seen in the living rooms and kitchens of homes have been deemed inadequate in a world of interior decorating and replaced by “inspirational” wall art with single word admonitions like “dream,” “believe,” “hope,” etc.
  • Where once people would add a scripture verse by hand to a greeting card, today we purchase Christian cards with a verse already included

Combine all these, and the handwriting my son did might seem rather quaint. But I’ll bet that taking the time to do this means he knows this passage well.

Of course, more than writing scripture on the doorframes and gates of our houses, God desires for us to write his words on our heart. But how we do this if we don’t know the passages and precepts in the first place? God is revealed to us first and foremost in scripture; this is the primary revelation of God in our times.

So here’s the challenge.  Take a passage and write it out by hand today.  I did this a few weeks ago with Titus 3: 3-8 or you might consider Colossians 1: 9-14 or the Galatians passage above, or a passage of your choosing.  (Those are just two that I’ve done myself, so I’m not asking you to do anything I haven’t done.)

And then allow the words to be written on your heart.

December 26, 2010

Five Reasons to Read the Bible

  1. For the truth about God. The world gives us a multiplicity of meanings as to who God is and what He is all about.   The Bible gives us a proper standard for truth by which to test everything else we hear or read.  For the LORD gives wisdom;  from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.  (Proverbs 2: 6, 9 NIV 2011)
  2. To keep our thoughts focused. Living in the world, we think worldly things.   That can cut off our focus on God and our communication with him.   It’s a tug of war.   God’s word will draw us to Him even as the world tries to draw us away.   Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NLT)
  3. Because we need direction. Just as our thoughts can be drawn away from God so our will and decision making can be drawn away from His best.   Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.  (II Tim 3: 16, 17 The Message)
  4. As an act of obedience. If we love God, we will want to do the things that please Him.   He should keep it with him all the time and read from it every day of his life. Then he will learn to respect the Lord his God, and he will obey all the teachings and commands.  (Deut 17: 19 NCV)
  5. As a weapon of our spiritual warfare. The Bible is described as the “sword of the Spirit.”   It can be used against the ideas that Satan confronts us with through others, or simply puts into our minds.   Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'”  (Matt 4:10 ESV)

May 12, 2010

How Much Bible Do You Know By Memory?

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be stranded on a desert island with a few other people, some writing implements and some paper and see how much of the Bible we could reconstruct from memory.

Jim Upchurch considered something similar at his blog recently; italics added…

Scripture Passages Every Christian Should Memorize

I am so thankful that I was in Bible Drill throughout my childhood years. Although I’ve forgotten many Scripture passages that I memorized, some of them stuck, and it laid a good foundation for biblical knowledge.

It’s interesting how it seems we’ve gotten away from Scripture memorization in churches. People who love poetry memorize their favorite poems. Movie fans quote the lines from their favorite movies. Shouldn’t we who love God commit to memory some of his words to us?

So… where to start? How about with some of the most basic, most well-known passages that we should have memorized years ago.

  • The Ten Commandments – Exodus 20:3-17
  • Hear, O Israel – Deuteronomy 6:4-9
  • Blessed is the Man – Psalm 1
  • The Lord is My Shepherd – Psalm 23
  • Man of Sorrows – Isaiah 53
  • The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:1-12
  • The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:5-15
  • The Great Commandment – Matthew 22:34-40
  • The Great Commission – Matthew 28:16-20
  • Of First Importance – 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
  • Works of the Flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:19-24
  • Saved by Grace through Faith – Ephesians 2:1-10
  • Knowing Christ – Philippians 3:7-11
  • God is Love – 1 John 4:7-12

There are many, many more we could add as important passages to memorize, but I think these are a good starting point for each Christian. Which Scripture passages would you add?