Monday, June 7, 2010

04 You Can Memorize If You Know How!

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Witnessing is the responsibility of every Christian. It is not restricted to certain select people such as full-time Christian workers or missionaries, but every child of God is called to be a "fisher of men." We do not witness more often, chiefly because we are not prepared. Moreover, we must pay a price for this.

Some years ago, there was a sailor on the USS West Virginia who had joined the navy with the idea of saving up enough money in order to enter seminary after his period of service was finished. In the navy he lost track of his objective, and drifted away from the Lord. A Christian woman who knew him, prayed for him daily. She knew another young man, Dawson Trotman by name, whom God was using in a great way. She asked Mr. Trotman if he would speak with this young sailor about spiritual matters.

Mr. Trotman agreed to meet Les Spencer at the navy landing. From there they drove in Mr. Trotman's car to the top of one of the hills near Long Beach, California, to talk. No sooner had they begun their discussion, than a policeman walked up to the window of the car and wanted to know what they were doing. Mr. Trotman held up a Bible. The policeman first looked at the Bible and then at the sailor and began to ask questions.

For an hour, Mr. Trotman asnswered the policeman's questions by turning first to one Scripture portion and then to another. At the end of that time, the policeman knelt down and received Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour.

As the young sailor and Mr. Trotman drove down the hill, the sailor said to Mr. Trotman, "I would give my right arm to be able to do what you did tonight - just to lead a person to Christ."

Mr. Trotman told him, "You can do what I did tonight, Les. It won't you your right arm, but it will cost you something by way of preparation, studying, the memorizing of Scripture, and a strong prayer-life."

Mr. Trotman invited Les Spencer over to his home a couple of nights a week, and it was not long before Les, in turn, was used in another life. That was the beginning of the Navigators work. It cost something, and it will cost us something too. But if we have a genuine desire to be used as fishers of men, and are willing to pay the price, God will use us. We will need a working knowledge of the Bible, and one of the best ways to acquire that for effective personal witnessing is through memorizing Scripture verses.

As we pointed out in Chapter III this will give you something to say, and you will have the confidence that you are speaking not your own words but the words of God. Furthermore, it is through this means that the Spirit of God will enable you to have victory over sin and Satan. At the same time you will be ready always to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.

Too often we think of a verse of Scripture that we should have used the day before. Scripture memorizing will take the Word of God and put it right on your lips, like an arrow ready to fly into the heart of the individual with whom we are dealing.


There are several other reasons why it would be very valuable for us, regardless of the effort it costs, to commit Bible passages to memory. One of them is this: It is a fast way to come to know our way about the Bible. Well chosen Scripture verses committed to memory become like signposts that will direct your way in the Word.

For instance, we know that the story of Nicodemus is in John 3, because we have memorized John 3:16. Or we know that the story of the good Samaritan is in Luke 10, because we have committed to memory Luke 10:33,34.


What a rich source of blessing there is in meditating on the Scriptures! A great aid to this is the memorizing of verses. We read in the Psalms: "But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Ps. 1:2,3). This is the way to prosper, and the goal is made easier for us when we have the Word where we can recall it to mind at any time - walking down the street, before going to sleep at night, and when we wake up in the morning.


There is still another passage that lends strong encouragement to our memorizing of Scripture. What is the greatest commandment in the Bible? That question was asked of the Lord Jesus, and His answer was, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." He quoted directly from Deuteronomy 6:5 and the verse which follows says, "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart." What better way to get them into our hearts than to commit them to memory?

This same idea is suggested in verse seven. "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." In other words, our lives shoudl be saturated with the Word of God.


Many persons, when encouraged to memorize Scripture, say, "I have a poor memory." The fact is that most of us have poor memories. Yet, I have seen thousands of people successfully memorize Scripture though most of them had poor memories. On the other hand, our memories may be better than we think. For instance I have heard it said that two women who have not seen each other for some time can meet on a street corner, talk for fifteen or twenty minutes, then go home and recount the entire conversation to their respective husbands, almost verbatim. That takes a good memory.

Psychologically, we can memorize. All things being equal, the older we become the better our memory and not the worse. Our minds are essentially associating machines, and memory is quickened by tying a new thought to an old. For that reason, the more knowledge and background and experience we have, the more we have with which to tie in a new verse of Scripture. The problem is not so much our memories as it is our poor concentration while working on the verses. Many old people have committed these verses to memory that are in the memory packets, Among them is a lady of 72, another aged 78, a man 84, and a man 90.

We must apply the rules of memory, and one of these is review. Some of you say, "I can get a verse memorized today, but tomorrow I will forget it."

In that case you did not really memorize it. You only repeated it. A verse is not really memorized until it sticks in one's mind and that takes time and review - daily review. We should review a verse once today, once tomorrow, once the next day, and so on for a number of weeks until it becomes a part and parcel of our being.

Some may object by saying, "I don't have time to memorize."

The memorizing of Scripture does not take time. We can do it while washing dishes. Why not place a verse of Scripture on the window-sill in back of the sink? Or the men can place it on the mirror, while they shave. If the Lord wants us to commit Scripture to memory, is it not reasonable to think that He will also give us the needed ability to do it? Of course He will!


Here are two factors to remember in memorizing Scripture. First, have a definite plan. Learn so many verses per week. We have started with one each lesson as part of the homework. Now we should be able to memorize two verses - the next two in "Beginning with Christ": I John 1:9, and John 16:24. These verses are shorter than some of the others. In the second place be consistent. Work on your verses every day, and if possible, early in the day.

Tools are an aid in the memorizing of Scripture. That is why the chapters, "Beginning With Christ" and "Going On With Christ" have been added. These are reprinted from two booklets bearing the same titles, and which are published by the Navigators, Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Beginning With Christ" contains four and "Going On With Christ" contains eight scriptures to be memorized. Both booklets also include information on "The Topical Memory System" book. Should you do so you will find this to be one of the best investments you have ever made.


1. Memorize I John 1:9 and John 16:24

2. What to you are the three most important reasons for committing Scripture passages to memory?

3. Write our briefly your plan for systematically committing Scripture verses to memory.

4. List three of your greatest problems with memorizing Scripture and indicate how you feel that you can overcome them.

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