Friday, December 12, 2008

Where to begin when you're a new Christian? pt.2

Laying the Foundation (pt. 2)

After you have chosen several verses that you want to memorize and have copied them, begin in earnest to memorize them. You just need to review them 2-3 times per day. Here are some ideas where you can squeeze just 10 minutes out of each day for scripture memory. Read them at breakfast or while you brush your teeth. Put some on the back of your closet door if you have a walk in closet and read while you're dressing. Read them while waiting at the doctor's office or in the car line to pick up your kids from school. You can read them at restaurants if you're by yourself or if you're with a friend, have them help quiz you. Read them while on vacation. If you can remember to pack sunscreen you can remember to pack your verses. Read them while waiting for the bus or an airplane. If you're a college student, review them on the way to class. If you're babysitting, instead of flipping through what's on late night TV, review your scriptures. This isn't obsessive or weird, it's Biblical.

Psalm 1:2 "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."
You'll find that the more time you devote to memorizing scripture, the less time you will have for foolish, mind-numbing activities such as TV watching. TV isn't evil, but if you were to answer honestly, most of the stuff on TV these days isn't God honoring and really is trash. The shows today are so voyeuristic in nature and appear to portray an abnormal situation (people having their every move filmed and every word captured for broadcast around the world) as normal. Who do you know that really walks around with a film crew filming their every move? I'll take it a step further, can you go a week without watching your TV shows? When you don't watch them, where do your thoughts wander? Do you long for the television show or do you long for time with the Lord? If it causes you pain to miss your show and you get anxious and agitated and are obsessed with knowing what you've missed, you may have unknowingly broken the 1st and 2nd commandments and allowed TV to become your God. I can say this from experience, so don't think that I am pointing some sanctimonious finger. When I grew up the TV was on constantly. I used to plan my activities around what show was on. I don't do that anymore.

In fact, I can't tell you the last time I sat down to watch a television broadcast. We don't have satellite or cable. But, that doesn't mean you have to be ill-informed. Don't go the other direction and become a hermit who can't communicate about daily events in the world. We get our news from the Internet.

Think of all the hours that you watch TV per week and ask yourself what you could do if you spent that much time memorizing scripture, instead? You're life would change dramatically! There is no reason why an adult of average intelligence can't memorize 52 new scriptures per year- that's one per week.

After you have begun memorizing, not forgetting to state the reference before and after the verse, you will learn them quickly. After you have memorized them word perfectly, you will need to remove some and add more on to your ring. No one wants to carry 52 cards or more around with them.

This video will supplement the information to help you set up your own scripture memory system.

Daily Review

Here's what I've done. I mark a blank card “Daily” as a cover card for the stack of cards I'm beginning to memorize. I stick these cards in my 3 x 5 file box behind the correct card. You can keep them on the binder ring or you can put a rubber band around them. But, stick them here every night so you can find them in the morning. I'd suggest putting this by your night stand. It's the first place you are when you wake up and it's also the last place you are when you go to bed each night so it's pretty convenient. Or, if you have a special place that you study the Bible, place them there. The goal is to keep them in a place that is accessible day and night.

Remember, you must review these DAILY, if only to read over each one carefully. Some days you may be able to spend more time on them, but at a minimum, you can read them in the morning and at night. You'll get better at recognizing little pockets of time throughout the day that you were unaware of and these times will become more and more precious to you. You will find the verses getting more and more familiar until you have some verses memorized after just a few weeks!

Determine a schedule for adding new verses to your Daily Review to be learned. You may want to add one every third day for a while, or once a week. Just make sure it is regular! (You may add more verses at first, then later change your schedule to add less often as you accumulate more verses and need a little more time for reviewing them.) Track your progress and write the date you start to review each verse in the upper right hand corner of the side of the card with the reference on for that verse.

You may also want to color code your cards. I want to memorize quotes by people like Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitefield, but I primarily memorize scripture. Right now, white cards are quotations or facts about apologetics, yellow are books of the Bible or large chunks of the Bible that need to be memorized together, and green are just random verses that I am learning. They have so many colors out there that it should not be too difficult to come up with a system.

Weekly Review

Mark another blank card “Weekly.” As soon as you have any verse in your Daily Review stack learned so well that you can quote it and the reference word perfectly several days in a row without looking, transfer that card to this new stack. Review the cards in this stack just once a week. Write the date each time you review these on the Weekly Review cover card, so you don’t forget when it’s time to review them again. At first, pick just one day per week to review like on Sunday. Then, you will get to the point that you will have so many that you want to review that you can add another review date onto your schedule. No one has 7 hours to review scripture each day- that's impractical. We're not monks who don't have family responsibilities or jobs to do, but if you fail to plan you plan to fail. You just need to come up with a schedule and stick with it.

Monthly Review

After you've reviewed the verses in your Weekly Review stack once a week for a couple months or so, you will find that some of them just roll off your tongue with ease. So now transfer those into this new stack to be reviewed just once a month. Make a card that says, "Monthly." Again, write the date on the cover card when you go over these, so you can see when it will be time to review them again.

As you move more verses from Daily Review to Weekly Review, you may want to eventually divide your Weekly Review stack into smaller stacks for several different days of the week, so you won’t have to spend so much time on any one day reviewing those weekly review verses. I have a card that has all seven days of the week written on a card and I stick it behind the Weekly Review tab. Eventually, you will probably divide your Monthly Review verses into several smaller stacks and review on different days of the month. You will probably need to make or buy tabbed cards for the numbers 1-31 when your monthy review gets large. Eventually, you can have a Weekly Review stack for each day of the week, and a Monthly Review stack for each day of the month.

Don't let this overwhelm you. It's not as difficult as it sounds. So each day you will be reviewing your Daily Review verses, some Weekly Review verses, and some Monthly Review verses. Remember it's not going to take as much time as you think once you get going on this because your Monthly and Weekly verses will still be fresh in your mind and your Daily Review verses will only take a few minutes per day.

Whether you write only one verse per card and put the reference on the other side or whether you write both the verse and the reference does not matter. Just experiment and see which works best for you. Find a friend to be your "verse buddy" so you can quote to another person whenever possible. It really helps with the memorization and motivation.

Keep up this practice until you die or you get the entire Bible memorized!

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