On Sunday afternoon, I had fun reviewing some of the Bible passages that I've been able to commit to memory. I often find it hard to shift myself into a mood to practice memorization, because it seems like I can't really devote myself to it unless I clear out all the other clutter in my head and focus. That sounds easy, but it's as hard to motivate myself to do that as it is to clean my room!
At any rate, the idea of Bible memorization has been exciting, and that continues to urge at my will and encourage me to make the effort to clean up the rest of my life and schedule so I can devote more mental resources to feasting on God's word. Since last spring, God has blessed me to be able to memorize Psalm 22, Jonah, Habakkuk 1, and some other passages. I can't recite them perfectly without halting, but they're coming along. I hope to be able to remember even more Scripture this year.
I've found that Scripture memorization has a few different benefits. First, passages come to mind as I'm living through the course of the day. That can help teach me or give me interesting questions to meditate on. Second, passages come to mind as I'm trying to think of words to share in email. This doesn't happen all that often, but it's exciting when I can offer a word of encouragement without casting a line blindly into the waters of the Bible (in other words, trying to search for some vague concept with a keyword search). I pray that God will conform my words to His word! :) Third, there've been a few nights where my mind is turning and grinding and keeping me awake with regrets, fears, or just aimless thoughts. When it does, I switch to the "Jonah" channel of my mental radio and recite the story to myself. Last time, I fell asleep just as the king of Nineveh was announcing his decree! I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a purpose of Scripture memorization, but it does help me to rest when my mind is contrary and operating out of control.
So, where to from here? That's the exciting question!
First of all, I need to keep up regular practice of Psalms 1, 22, 23, 27, 131, 150, Jonah, Habakkuk 1, and Zechariah's Bene-dictus in Luke 1. I don't want to lose what I worked for! Also, I want to become smoother in my recollection so it doesn't sound choppy and I don't lose track of where I am. Does anybody want to help me practice? :) All I need are folks to follow along in the text as I speak and to stop me when I mess up. I guess that's a bit difficult to do online, but I have a feeling that some local friends might be reading this!
Second - and this is the best part - I need to decide what to memorize next! Obviously, I want to finish Habakkuk (only 2 chapters to go and the good stuff is coming up!) Also, though, I want to tackle more New Testament. I'm looking at the letters of Peter. I love those letters. They're packed with all kinds of rich truth and grace. I also think that down the line I want to memorize Acts 10. That would be more along the lines of Jonah. And as I think about it, it might be a very beautiful companion to Jonah. I mean, where was Peter when God called him in that chapter? In Joppa. Where did Jonah go in the beginning of his journey? Joppa. Who was Jonah called to speak to? Gentiles. Who was Peter called to speak to in Acts 10? :)
So, this is the list as it stands:
Psalm 1 (review)
Psalm 22 (review)
Psalm 23 (review)
Psalm 27 (reinforce)
Psalm 131 (reinforce)
Psalm 150 (reinforce in English and Spanish)
Luke 1:67-79 (reinforce)
Mark 1:1-13 (reinforce)
Habakkuk (review chapter 1, learn chapters 2-3)
Daniel 7:9-14 (learn)
1 Peter (learn)
2 Peter (learn)
Acts 10 (learn)
Psalm 133 (learn)
Psalm 118 (learn)
Now, I have to add a note here that yesterday morning I was tempted with the goal of memorizing ALL of the minor prophets. At the pace I'm working at now (SLOWWW!) that would take me about 6 years (a year each for Hosea and Zechariah, a year for Joel and Amos, and two years for Obadiah, Zephaniah, Haggai, Malachi, Micah, Nahum, and the completion of Habakkuk. Jonah is done already. I'm adding one extra year to cover "break time" for rest in between books.) Hmm...the idea is still pretty enticing :) Perhaps the Lord will make me a prophet and an Apollos yet!
Ok, ok, I need to stop talking on my lunch break and get to work learning the Scriptures! :D