In all of the Bible, there is not a more encouraging chapter to me personally than the eighth chapter of Romans. This past week, as I wrapped up the seventh chapter in our study of Romans—I issued a challenge to the church to memorize the entire eighth chapter. We will likely spend 8-10 weeks in this one chapter, so we will have plenty of time to memorize thirty-nine verses. Why memorize the chapter? What’s the point?
Some of the preachers who have had the most influence upon my life through the years have committed large sections of Scripture to memory. It’s a worthy investment of time and a commitment that will pay off great dividends in Christian maturity and discipleship.
Scripture Memory Leads to Understanding
The meaning of the text is the meaning of the text. When it comes to studying the Bible, it’s essential that we get to the meaning of the text. That process will involved reading the text, defining the terms, examining the surrounding context, and seeing how the perceived meaning fits in with the overall canon of the Bible (which will never contradict itself). This process involves a literal, historical, grammatical approach.
Through the years I’ve discovered in my own Bible study that when I memorize a passage of Scripture, it makes it easier for me to understand the passage. I recall memorizing the entire chapter of Revelation twenty-one. Still to this day, I know and retain the understanding of what that entire chapter (and section of Revelation) is talking about. Scripture memory involves a certain amount of meditation on the words, sentences, verses, and as a result—the meaning of the text comes to the surface in the process. This is especially true when memorizing large sections of Scripture.
Scripture Memory Hides Truth in Your Heart
Years ago, my oldest daughter was diagnosed with T1D (Type 1 Diabetes). After a long day in the hospital as a little sick girl, I climbed into her hospital bed next to her before she drifted off to sleep and read the entire chapter of Romans eight. I wanted her to hear the words and to be encouraged from God’s Word that as a result of Jesus’ work in redemption, she has no more condemnation under God and that she has no more separation from God.
When I counsel people who are depressed or discouraged in the faith—I almost always send them to Romans chapter eight for meditation, reflection, and renewal. What a grand chapter filled with truths of redemption in Christ, salvation, assurance, and victory in Jesus. Even under the most intense persecution, this chapter is pivotal to keeping us focused and leaning on God. If I were imprisoned and could have only one page out of the Bible, I would request the eighth chapter of Romans. If a person memorizes it, no matter where a person finds himself—the treasure chest of truth will be hidden in his heart and can be employed to overcome despair and fear.
Do you recall how John Bunyan encouraged Scripture memory in his classic work, The Pilgrim’s Progress? When the two friends Christian and Hopeful were journeying together to the Celestial City—they made a great error. They followed Vainglory off the path of righteousness down another path. It was there that he fell into a pit and died. They couldn’t see him fall, but they heard it! Then, suddenly, they get lost and are captured by the Giant and placed in the dungeon of Doubting Castle. They were abused, mistreated, and discouraged. It was then that Christian remembered that he had this special key—the Key of Promise—in his chest pocket that would open any door in the castle. After pulling it out and being directly encouraged by Hopeful to try it—the two companions were set free and able to make it back to the path of righteousness. It was Bunyan’s way of illustrating Psalm 119:11.
Techniques for Memorizing the Bible
There’s an app for that! I know you may be tired of hearing that phrase, but in all seriousness, some good apps do exist to provide assistance in Scripture memory. A couple of those include:
Fighter Verses: This app uses different stages of learning to assist in memorizing a passage of Scripture. From typing, singing, and hearing the text read audibly—this app engages the different ways we learn in order to assist in the process. In addition, you can then save the text as your lock screen on your phone in order to keep the text before you as much as possible. Download it here.
Scripture Typer: This app allows you to select the passage of Scripture that you would like to memorize and then aids you in memorizing it through three steps: Typing, Memorizing, and Mastering the passage. Download it here.
You can also use the old fashioned flash card method which is always good. It may take more time to setup, but it does engage the mind differently by allowing you to manually write the text on cards which engages the mind differently than typing. In addition, the simple flash card repetition approach is a classic memory method that works really well. Through this process, engaging in reading the passage aloud and hearing yourself vocalize the words and pronounce the vocabulary will be a key component in remembering the text.
Will you join us in the Romans 8 challenge? If so, I encourage you to memorize sections of the chapter and then video yourself on social media reciting the verses. Drop a link to this challenge in the social media post and encourage others to join you along the way. Hopefully by the summer, each of us will have the entire eighth chapter of Romans hidden deep in our hearts!
The ability to recall Scripture at moments of crises is fundamental to the survival of every Christian. —John MacArthur