Memorizing Scripture is a fantastic feat.
We have all done it at some point in our lives.
Whether at Sunday School, Bible classes, study sessions or our own personal devotions, we have all made attempts at memorizing Scripture.
There are memory verse songs, games, activities and techniques to help someone memorize Scripture.
And they are all great resources.
No two people learn the same way, so the more resources out there, the better.
However, there is one flaw with the way we have all learned to memorize Scripture:
What do I mean by that?
Let’s take a look at something that myriads of Christian schools take part in:
Memory Verse Competitions.
The rules of these competitions are very simple:
When reciting a list of verses, the contestant must recite them in order, including the reference, and recite them with limited mistakes. The more perfect the recitation, the better the chance of the contestant moving forward.
There is this push for knowing the Bible perfectly and reciting it without flaw.
Now, while there are myriad of certain problems that come with this push (legalism, Phariseeism), I want to touch on a certain problem, and that is the problem of missing the essence of the verse if you simply focus on the form and structure.
I had this issue myself recently.
When reciting a memory verse I had been working on, I stressed over whether or not I was putting the words in the right order and that I used the correct words.
Suddenly, in the midst of this inner turmoil, a thought hit me:
When we memorize Scripture, it should not be about the structure or getting the words perfect or the phrasing correct. What matters is the essence.
What matters is what the verse is saying about God.
Martin Luther had a similar dilemma when translating the Bible into German.
In the film, “Luther”, starring Joseph Fiennes, Luther is attempting to translate the word “will” and realizes that there are so many possible definitions to the word that it is impossible to say whether or not it is the proper word.
Luther then states, “Maybe it is not the word that is important, but what the word says about God”.
How true this statement is.
I want to present my own particular memory verse challenge:
Learn the verse or verses. Learn it word by word. Memorize it. Get the structure down. Strive to learn the verse perfectly.
But don’t sweat it.
When you recite the verse, worry about the essence, not the wording. Don’t worry if the words are perfect or you have them all there.
Remember, it’s not the wording that is important. It is what the verse says about God.
Keep the faith.