One of the disciplines that has been a personal priority of mine since I was a college student is the memorization of, and the meditation on, scripture. This is also a discipline that I want to instill into my young children. I want my family to be one that has a firm foundation that is built on God’s Word so that we will know how to act, what to think and respond to the various situations and circumstances of life in a way that honors our God and encourages others. My friend and mentor Steve Gaines refers to this as “thinking Bible.” I think that is a great way of describing what I want to be true in my life and the life of my family.
I’ve written on the subject of hiding God’s Word in young hearts before, but this week I want to give some very practical, personal pieces of advice about how memorize and meditate on scripture. Now, I’m sure that most readers will understand that what I mean by memorization is just that. It is learning every word in a verse or passage of the Bible. I believe that it is even important to learn all of the punctuation marks as well because the stops and starts, emphases and quotes can many times change the way a verse is read or understood.
Having three young children means that there are plenty of opportunities to practice scripture memory around the Whitt house. Our children are involved in our church’s AWANA ministry, and AWANA definitely places a great deal of emphasis on scripture memory. It’s not unusual for us to be working on multiple verses every week. In fact, many times as we are getting ready to leave for church on Wednesday night one parent will be going over verses with one child, while the other parents helps another child with theirs.
But not only do I want my family to memorize scripture, I want them to know how to and develop the discipline of meditating on it. I want them to not just know what a verse says, to be able to quote it, I want them to make it part of who they are. I want them to wrestle and then nestle with the Word of God.
Far too often we as believers run too fast, trying to accomplish too much, checking off every box, that we fail to stop and just spend time With God and His Word. I believe that God’s Word should be hidden in our heart and meditated on in our mind every single day. The Lord told Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Those are things that I want to be true in my life and the life of my family.
So, let me share some very simple, and I pray helpful, advice on how to hide God’s Word in your heart.
1. It has to be the desire of your heart.
2. Choose a translation that you can both memorize and use in your study.
3. Begin with a short, familiar book like the Gospel of Mark.
4. Make the investment of time and energy.
5. Use “memory cards” to help in your regular review of what you’ve memorized.
6. Stick with it, and don’t give up.
7. Don’t forget the great benefits of scripture memory.
I love the words of the Psalmist when he said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!”