It happens to most of us church leaders. Gradually, and without notice, we slip into the habit of viewing the Scriptures more as an object to be dissected than a spiritual feast to nourish our souls. As an antidote to this temptation, I recently wrote about a four-fold pattern of Scripture intake that helps us to receive the Scriptures as the nourishing word of for our souls. The four-fold pattern—read, reflect, pray, obey—is an adaptation and modification of an early church practice.
But this four-fold pattern can be enhanced—significantly, in my opinion—by modifying the first step in the pattern. As part of reading Scripture slowly, we need to memorize Scripture. When we memorize a passage of Scripture, we can nourish ourselves with that passage any time we wish, even if there is not a Bible close.
Most believers probably agree with me that Scripture memory is profitable, but many of us lack a plan for making it a reality. For most of my Christian life, I struggled to memorize Scripture. I knew that I should commit Scripture to memory, and I even wanted to do so, but I needed a structured plan and approach.
So, I took nine of the Bible’s major topics and selected a number of passages I wanted to memorize for each topic. The logic of the plan is this: if I memorize several core passages for each of the major categories, I will benefit personally from their nourishment. Then, I will be prepared to pass along that nourishment to others, even when I do not have a Bible in hand.
Those nine topics are: God, God’s revelation, Humanity, Christ, Salvation, Spirit, Church, Covenant/Kingdom, and End times.
Below are significant passages for each topic. These are not the only passages that could be memorized under the given topics. But they are significant passages, ones I selected because of the spiritual nourishment they provide. I offer them to help you experience the words of the Lord as “sweeter than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:10).
Doctrine of Revelation
2 Timothy 3.12-17
2 Peter 1.16-21
Doctrine of God
Creation and Providence
Doctrine of Humanity
Imago Dei, Social and Cultural Mandate
Moral Responsibility and Cultural Mandate
Suppression of Truth and Idolatry
Moral Law and Conscience
Adam and Jesus
Doctrine of Christ
Doctrine of Salvation
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
2 Corinthians 5.17-21
Doctrine of the Spirit
1 Corinthians 12
Doctrine of the Church
Temple of God, People of God
1 Peter 2.1-5
1 Peter 2.6-10
Body of Christ
Ephesians 4.7, 11-16
Household of God
Doctrine of Covenant/Kingdom
2 Samuel 7.12-16
Kingdom: Jesus the King
Kingdom: Prayer and Desire
Doctrine of the End Times
Second Coming: Caught Up in the Air
1 Thessalonians 4.13-18
All Nations Worship the Lamb
There is nothing magical about this Scripture memory plan. It does not offer a sure-fire technique that guarantees a close walk with the Lord. But it does offer a plan for “putting the Lord’s word into our mouths,” so that we can chew on it slowly (reflect on the Scriptures), discern and gratefully acknowledge its flavors (pray the Scriptures back to God), and digest it for nourishment (obey the Scriptures daily). I hope it helps you.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts.
[This article was originally published on September 5, 2016 at ChuckLawless.com, a very helpful website (and one of my favorites) designed for Christian leaders.]
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