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The Importance of Scripture Memory and How to Do It

By Megan Evans

It’s 7:00am. You’re supposed to be in your car leaving for work, but so far all you have done is hit the snooze button 12 times, broken a coffee mug, and struggled to get your kids on the bus.

Meanwhile, in the same neighborhood at 7:00am, a husband is comforting a wife that just found out her mother has cancer. These are very different situations, but both represent something that we all aren’t immune to: the unpredictability of life.

In the small frustrations of a rough morning or the anger and hurt that can come with a sick family member, we can choose to respond in a way that is God-glorifying. One way we can do this is to bring to mind the living, active Word of God, what Ephesians 6:17 calls “the sword of the Spirit.” When we bring to mind Scripture, we are battling our thoughts and combating lies with the true words that the Lord has given us.

Donald S. Whitney in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life uses this analogy, “A pertinent scriptural truth, brought to your awareness by the Holy Spirit at just the right moment, can be the weapon that makes the difference in a spiritual battle.” To use these weapons, it is imperative to engage in the spiritual discipline of memorizing Scripture.

Memorizing Scripture for Godliness

Psalm 119 is a picture of how important it was for David to have Scripture at the forefront of his mind.

In verses 9-11 he says:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping your word. I have sought you with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.

It’s very easy for us to rush through our time in the Word and forget what we read right when the cover closes over our Bibles. But when we do this, we are doing ourselves a great injustice.

David says that one of the ways that he might not sin against the Lord is by treasuring his word in his heart. This doesn’t sound like language that implies that David closed his scroll and forgot what he read! Having Scripture in our hearts is a way that we pursue godliness, to purify our minds and thoughts, just as David says. It’s much harder to continue in a pattern of sin when we allow the Holy Spirit to bring to mind a verse or a passage that speaks truth into exactly what we need to hear, allowing room for confession and faith.

Just this week as I was struggling with a slew of health issues, 2 Corinthians 1:5 came to mind in such a timely manner. The Holy Spirit graciously reminded me of the purpose of affliction and the comfort that we have in Christ. When my initial thoughts were fear, frustration, and worry, the Lord “gave me life according to his Word” (Psalm 119:25), calming my spirit. While this helped me defeat my sinful thoughts, it also helped me to commune with the Lord.

Having God’s Word in my thoughts is like having a one-on-one conversation with him, allowing the Spirit to put to mind what he wants there and giving me a chance to respond in obedience and faith. 

Memorizing Scripture for Others

We are about Gospel Change. For Broken People. On Purpose.

One of the ways that we can do this “On Purpose” is by having Scripture ready and prepared for the broken. Imagine sitting across from someone listening to them talk about loneliness and all you can think to say is, “It’s okay, Jesus is with you!”

Yes, this is a beautiful truth, and yes Jesus is with us. But if you can look at someone in the eyes and say, “Can I share something that the Lord promises us in Isaiah 41? ‘Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”’

We cannot comfort our brothers and sisters on our own; our words do not have the power to do so. But, God’s words hold the power to change. His Word contains the story of a Father, a brother, and a friend. A Savior that we can cling to and that will sustain us. A fully God, fully human Savior that took on all of our guilt and shame on the cross, whose blood poured out for us, so that we can one day be with him restored. I want to share this story with people, not anything I can come up with on my own. Scripture memory helps with that.

How Do We Do It?

It’s best to develop a plan for memorizing Scripture so that it can become a daily or weekly routine. If you normally spend 30 minutes in the Word in the morning, take the last five of those minutes to memorize a verse in the passage that you read, this way you already know the verse in its context in Scripture.

Donald S. Whitney suggests writing the verse out on an index card and keeping it with you throughout the day. When you have a coffee break at work or while you’re feeding your children lunch, pull out the card and review it. It’s also helpful for those that are more creative to draw a picture describing the verse or put the verse to a tune like a popular children’s song or one of those furniture jingles you just can’t seem to get out of your head (so the verse won’t leave your head either!).

If you were to memorize just one verse a week, that is 52 verses that you have armed and ready for the Holy Spirit to change your thoughts, minister to a brother or sister, and bring you that much closer to a Father who wants to have a conversation with his children.

Want to see what our church is memorizing? Here is a link to our Fighter Verses which we memorize every month.

3 Ways God Has Equipped You to Counsel Others

By Whitney Nadeau

In what areas are you most apt to provide counsel?

In a society where much is professionalized, we often are drawn toward providing only the services we feel equipped to offer.

Spiritual formation is left to the leadership of a church. Educational development is conceded to teachers. Counseling is entrusted to certified counselors. Parents, especially, seek biblically sound professionals to preach, teach, and counsel their children to grow in godliness and gospel centrality.

Paul Tripp, however, challenges our understanding of the roles we play, namely as counselors, with or without a professional title and degree:

We should be concerned about the thousands of hours of formal counseling that are not based on God’s Word. But we should also be concerned about the far greater amount of counseling that goes on every day between people who do not know what they are doing and people who do not know how much they are being influenced. If you are alive on this planet, you are a counselor! You are interpreting life, and sharing those interpretations with others. You are a person of influence, and you are also being influenced…The issue is not who is counseling. All of us are. The core issue is whether that counseling is rooted in the revelation of the Creator.

You will be called upon in your family and your community to counsel, if you are not already doing so. The term "counsel," though, does not need to evoke feelings of anxiousness and fear. Counsel is weighty, but you have not been left without a source of wisdom, strength, and direction. 

Counsel With the Word

Often we hear the word "counsel" and think of certifications and schooling, and as such, remove our own responsibility to counsel. While there are professional biblical counselors providing a necessary service, you as a follower of Christ have not been given a pass to speak truth from God’s Word.

Paul exhorts, “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” (Rom. 15:14)

God has provided His Word and His Spirit to give you the essential instruction to counsel. You need to look no further than the Psalms to see that the Word, which you have access to, is provided for counsel:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. (Ps. 1:1-2)

That law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. (Ps. 19:7-9)

Supplemental texts are always helpful to grow in understanding of people and their experiences, but Scripture alone is sufficient to give you the wisdom necessary to counsel.

Ed Welch remarks that even with the Spirit and the Word, “We remain fully capable of saying stupid and harmful things. But it does mean that our ability to help will bear the marks of the Spirit, such as patience and kindness.”

Counsel Toward a Relationship

Often we hear the word "counsel" and think of providing steps or a plan.

Steps to respond patiently and not angrily. Steps to reconcile a broken relationship or marriage. Steps to stop the cycle of addiction, doubt, or fear.

Counsel, however, is more about moving toward the Wonderful Counselor (Is. 9:6) than it is moving toward right living.

Ed Welch teaches, “Though many of us assume that change involves a plan with a series of steps, change on the heart level centers on knowing a person.” 

Counsel is more than what our society has labeled it. Counsel is about taking the source God has provided for truth, His Word, and using it to grow in an understanding of Who we are and Whose we are.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. (2 Cor. 5:17-20)

As one who counsels others toward a relationship with Christ, we will be called to persevere.

Paul Tripp simply states:

We would prefer to lob grenades of truth into people’s lives rather than lay down our lives for them.” We counsel toward a relationship as we die so that others may live through sacrificing finances and time. We counsel toward a relationship as we, with the help of the Spirt, choose patience and compassion.

Counsel for Restoration

Often we hear the word "counsel" and think of healing.

Healing from past trauma. Healing from present suffering. Healing from destructive thoughts, physical ailments, and harmful habits. Counsel is about healing, but it is about much more than a temporary fix or a momentary freedom.

Christ died so that we could be restored to the Father, reconciled to one another, and not just healed, but made new. Counsel is not advice to fix brokenness, but a reminder through God’s Word and God’s people of the death and resurrection of Christ that is restoring and renewing all that was broken, including our past, present, and future (2 Cor. 4:16).

Paul exhorts the churches in Galatia,

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:1-2) 

You need not be a certified counselor to help people grow in Christ. Who are the people in your life that God is calling you to lay down your life for? To whom is God calling you to sacrifice your time and finances?

It won’t be easy to do. Counseling others toward a relationship with Christ never is. Remember, your Heavenly Father is with you and your help comes from Him (Ps. 121:2).

For Further Reading

Instrument in the Redeemer’s Hands, Paul David Tripp

How People Change, Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp

Side by Side, Ed Welch

The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience, Jeremy Pierre

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