Today’s blog post was written by my younger sister, Myrissa Webb. Myrissa is a senior at Auburn University studying hospitality management. She has a heart to proclaim the Gospel to Muslims and is preparing to go overseas on mission after graduation.
I grew up learning a lot of various Bible verses at church. I still remember a lot of those verses because I spent so much time reading them and practicing them. They are hidden in my heart. However, I rarely put them to use in my life and allowed these verses to dwell in me. It was not until I came to college that I was challenged by my college pastor to memorize chapters and books of the Bible, not just single verses from all over the Bible. This seemed daunting to me, but I took his tips and started memorizing Ephesians 1. Here are three ways that this kind of memorization has resulted in the Word of God dwelling in my life.
Understand the context of verses
As I have meditated and memorized long sections of Scripture, I have made more connections between verses and sought to know the whole story, not just what a single verse says. For example, many probably know and have memorized Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” This is a great encouragement for the Christian life. We know that God is sovereignly working all things for our good. This is true, but it was not until I read the next verse with it that I saw what “his purpose” is. The next verse says “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” Reading those two verses together shows us that God works out everything for our good, but specifically this “good” is God conforming us into the image of his Son. This is his purpose and our good.
It was not until I meditated and memorized larger passages, that I could make these connections. Not only do I understand Paul’s message better, but this has made a change in my daily walk with Christ. My purpose is to be sanctified and conformed into his image. In this, I will be growing in my walk with Christ and glorifying God.
Fight against the temptation to sin
In Matthew 3, Jesus was led to the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil.” He was alone and fasted for forty days when the tempter came to him. The one thing Jesus used to rebuke Satan is Scripture. Seeing Jesus do this, I have sought to do this in my life, but I have always wondered how I would be able to learn all the verses that connect to the different sins Satan can tempt me. I think selecting verses that rebuke your sin or the lies Satan is filling you with is good, but you will not always be ready for everything he throws at you. This is where memorizing long passages is extremely beneficial.
Once my mind started to wander or I would believe the lies from Satan, I immediately started practicing my memorization. This would take my mind off whatever Satan was pointing my eyes to and place it on Christ. This would remind my heart what is of most importance, no matter what the verse was. This has been an effective way to fight against temptation. Ephesians 6:11 says “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” When Paul lists out the different pieces of armor, the last piece he mentions is the only offensive piece of armor. It is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Memorizing large chunks of scripture is a way to offensively fight against the temptations and schemes the Devil is planning against you.
Abide in Christ
Even though the whole Bible points us to abide in Christ, John 15 is the great abiding chapter of the Bible. John 15:2 says “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” We can do nothing in this world unless we abide in Christ. Practicing this can look different in different seasons of life. However, for the past two years, scripture memory (specifically long passages) has been a huge part of my increased abiding in Christ.
I don’t know which came first. Is scripture memory a fruit of me abiding in Christ? Or does scripture memory cause me to abide in Christ? A few verses later John 15 says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Memorizing long sections of Scripture allows God’s word to abide in us as we abide in Christ.
Since memorizing Ephesians 1, I have been able to memorize other chapters of the Bible and this has impacted my life. I challenge you to pick a chapter and work on memorizing it. Look at it as only one verse a day, or three verses a week, or whatever you decide. There are a lot of great resources that are helpful in practically memorizing. The best advice I received and will give to you is to meditate on the chapter. If you memorize the whole chapter and never meditate on it, you will not be able to retain it or recall it to your mind when the Evil One is prowling at the door. If you meditate on the chapter as you are memorizing, it will be hidden in your heart ready to teach you, fight for you, and abide in you.