Archive for the 'The Bible' Category

Memorize Scripture?

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006


In the early days of my relationship with Jesus, I was introduced to the spiritual discipline of memorizing scripture. While I have to admit it has waned in recent years, that investment was life-changing.

I think I’ve heard most of the negative reactions to this discipline such as:

How legalistic!
The Trinity is not the Father, Son and Holy Bible!
This is so “modern.” To focus on propositional truth in such a way is too passe.’
Memorizing is just a pretext for proof texts.
You gotta be kidding …this is too fanatical for me.

Early each Monday morning when I am in town, I meet with a small group of businessmen who are committed to seeking God and growing together in what it means to be followers of Jesus. Several months ago, I introduced the concept of memorizing scripture to the group.

It has been a surprisingly difficult undertaking for these men. These are people with MBAs who read stock quotes in their dreams. They have remarkable skills in finance and demonstrate business acumen that leaves me in the dust. Yet some have an aversion—even an emotional/mental block—to committing one verse a week to memory.

On the other hand, the ones who persevere in the discipline experience a remarkable transformation. God invariably uses what they have tucked away to influence their behavior, realign their thinking and transform their character. While not the only way God speaks, having scripture resident in the subconscious provides the Spirit of God a powerful tool through which he can communicate throughout the rhythms of everyday life. Memorizing scripture is a small investment with an enormous return.

I believe one of the big reasons most people shy away from this discipline is that they don’t know where to start. They need a structure. That’s why I usually encourage a person to start with the Topical Memory System published by NavPress. For those that want something more visual, Memloc has proven to be an effective tool.

However we cut it across the theological spectrum, there is no way around the benefits described in the longest chapter in the bible—Psalm 119—about a mind and heart that are enamored with the Word of the living God. And there is no better way for that to happen then to have portions of it committed to memory.

The Topical Memory System – (Navpress)

Mastery of the Bible

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

This excerpt is from an email that J. Robert Clinton, professor of leadership at Fuller Seminary, puts out weekly. Bobby’s admonition is worth repeating.


“In my opinion we have only one guarantee for an effective lifetime experience as a leader. We must be people of the Word.

In one of my opening classes I use an illustration, which shows that most leaders who have studied at Bible Colleges and Seminaries in the U.S. actually stop really studying the Bible for their own personal growth and lifetime basis for decision-making between the ages of 30-40. The conclusion that I draw in Having a Ministry That Lasts is:

Effective leaders should have an appropriate, unique, lifelong plan for mastering the Word in order to use it with impact in their ministries.

Few leaders master the Bible without a proactive, deliberate approach, which plans to do so. It does not just accidentally happen. For what I mean by “master,” see my book, Having A Ministry That Lasts.

My studies in the volume Focused Lives (1994) revealed that all of the 8 leaders studied the Bible as a lifelong pursuit:

Simeon (1759-1836)—Strategic Mentor
Gordon (1836-1895)—Missionary Minded Pastor
Brengle (1860-1936)—Public Saint
Morgan (1863-1945)—World Class Bible Teacher
Jaffray (1873-1945)—Missionary Pioneer
McQuilkin (1886-1952)—Bible College Founder
Mears (1890-1963)—Recruiter of Leaders
Maxwell (1895-1984)—Missionary Trainer

All were people of the Word all their lives. While they had their own unique approaches to study of the Bible, they were disciplined in doing so. And they finished well!

Daniel was still studying the Word in his-mid 80s. I [Bobby] have about 15 more years to go to catch-up with him. Do you have some plan for mastering the scriptures over your lifetime? Are you still studying, learning, and growing in the Word of God—whether or not you are preaching or teaching something?”