Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thankfully Memorizing God's Word

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:12-14

For the past year, I have committed myself to the discipline of memorizing the Word of God. In the past I usually would put to memory a few verses, usually something that has become meaningful to me in some way. This time I decided to tackle chapters and books of the Bible rather than just a few verses – and also to memorize not by rote (by memory alone, without thought) but rather by context (the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning).

While in the short run context does take much longer than rote, in the long run the words are much easier to remember – because they are strung together by meaning rather than memory. And I have also found that in memorizing by context the Word of God becomes a much bigger part of who I am in the process – through reflection and understanding and meditation . Rather than memorizing it feels more like chewing, swallowing, and digesting.

That being said, while working my way through the book of Colossians, I was recently struck by how the apostle Paul finishes the admonition he lays before the church in Colossians 3:12-14 with an overwhelming flood of thankfulness to God in the verses that follow. Paul was deeply grateful for not only his salvation, but also deeply grateful for his call to live for God. I pray the same would be true for us all . . .

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17

1 comment:

  1. I love memorizing God's word because you start to get deeper revelations on the meaning. sometimes even a scripture that doesn't seem to have anything real significant turns into being full of wisdom and revelation