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Memorization and Meditation view printer friendly page
Memorization - The following passages provide four good reasons for continual memorization of scripture.

Bible Reading: Psalm 1:1-3

Key Bible Verse: But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

Think of a time that memorizing something helped you to think through it.

How would memorization help a person meditate on the law?

Reflection: Scripture memorization precedes meditation and application of Scripture. This verse describes a person who can think about Godís Word even when he or she canít see it (at night). Such a person must have sections of the Bible memorized.

Bible Reading: Psalm 119:9-16

Key Bible Verse: I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)

What actions does the psalmist take towards Godís law in these verses?

How prepared are you to resist temptation by calling to mind Godís Word?

Reflection: Scripture memorization is a defense against sin. Hiding (keeping) Godís Word in our heart is a deterrent to sin. This alone should inspire us to memorize Scripture. But memorization alone will not keep us from sin; we must also put Godís Word to work in our life, making it a vital guide for everything we do.

Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 31:1-13

Key Bible Verse: Call them all togetherómen, women, children, and the foreigners living in your townsóso they may hear this Book of Instruction and learn to fear the LORD your God and carefully obey all the terms of these instructions. Do this so that your children who have not known these instructions will hear them and will learn to fear the LORD your God. Do this as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. (Deuteronomy 31:12-13)

What was the goal of reading the Book of Instruction to the Israelites?

Compared to the ancient Israelites, what advantages do we have today for learning Godís Word?

Reflection: Memorization increases the possibility of obedience to Godís Word. The laws were to be read to the whole assembly so that everyone, including the children, could hear them. Every seven years the entire nation would gather together and listen as a priest read the law to them. There were no books, Bibles, or newsstands to spread Godís Word, so the people had to rely on word of mouth and an accurate memory. Memorization was an important part of worship, because if everyone knew the law, ignorance would be no excuse for breaking it.

To fulfill Godís purpose and will in our life, we need the content and substance of his Word in our heart and mind. For the Hebrews, this process began in childhood. Teaching our children and new believers should be one of our top priorities. Our finest teachers, best resources, and most careful thought should be directed toward showing young believers how to follow God in all of lifeís situations.

Bible Reading: Matthew 4:1-11

Key Bible Verse: But Jesus told him, ďNo! The Scriptures say, ĎPeople do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.íĒ (Matthew 4:4)

How does each Scripture Jesus quotes relate to the temptation he is responding to in this episode?

What Scriptures could you memorize to guard against the temptations you face?

Reflection: Memorization allows Godís Word to become a weapon against evil. Jesus was able to resist all of the devilís temptations because he not only knew Scripture, he also obeyed it. Ephesians 6:17 says that Godís Word is a sword to use in spiritual combat. ďPut on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ē Knowing Bible verses is an important step in helping us resist the devilís attacks, but we must also obey the Bible. Note that Satan had memorized Scripture, but he failed to obey it. Knowing and obeying the Bible helps us follow Godís desires rather than the devilís.

Meditation - The following passages offer three explanations and reasons for Christian meditation.

Bible Reading: Joshua 1:1-18

Key Bible Verse: Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (Joshua 1:8)

How often was Joshua to meditate on the Book of Instruction?

What would be the result of all Joshuaís study?

Reflection: Christian meditation is obedient reflection on Godís Word. Many people think that prosperity and success come from having power, influential personal contacts, and a relentless desire to get ahead. But the strategy for gaining prosperity that God taught Joshua goes against such criteria. He said that to succeed, Joshua must (a) be strong and courageous because the task ahead would not be easy, (b) obey Godís law, and (c) constantly read and study the Book of the LawóGodís Word. To be successful, follow Godís words to Joshua. You may not succeed by the worldís standards, but you will be a success in Godís eyesóand his opinion lasts forever.

Bible Reading: Psalm 1:1-6

Key Bible Verse: But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

What motivates the godly person to meditate on Godís law?

What benefits come from meditating on the law?

Reflection: Christian meditation is persistent reflection on Godís Word. You can learn how to follow God by meditating on his Word. Meditating means spending time reading and thinking about what you have read. It means asking yourself how you should change so youíre living as God wants. Knowing and meditating on Godís Word are the first steps toward applying it to your everyday life. If you want to follow God more closely, you must know what he says.

Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-13

Key Bible Verse: Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. (2 Timothy 2:7)

According to verse 7, what was Timothyís role in preparing for his ministry? What was Godís role?

What passages of Scripture can you meditate on this week to give you insight into the challenges you face?

Reflection: Christian meditation is careful reflection on Godís Word. Paul told Timothy to reflect on his words, and God would give him insight. God speaks through the Bible, his Word, but we need to be open and receptive to him. As you read the Bible, ask God to show you his timeless truths and the application to your life. Then consider what you have read by thinking it through and meditating on it. God will give you understanding.

This study is adapted from the Handbook of Bible Application (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2000), available everywhere books are sold.

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ďIím thrilled with the NLT second edition. . . .The attention to accuracy while being understandable makes the NLT the perfect choice for all churches called to grow people in Christ and reach people far from God.Ē

Brad Mitchell
Trinity Church
Lansing, Michigan

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