This is a good question, and if asked in humility it can open a door for a great discussion. However, this can only happen if we’re willing to give ears to a fuller explanation of God’s ways. A lot of times, we ask that question in pride and to end the discussion right there on the spot, simply because we’re not willing to listen to a fuller explanation; ones that take in the whole counsel of God and requires the use of our sanctified reasoning.
There are many ways to memorize the Scriptures. Here are five ways that I can think of.
- The Entire Book (James, Ephesians, Romans etc…):
This is a lot of work, and it’s translation-dependent. If you decided to change your mind later and switch to another translation then it will be a problem. And if you have already memorized a book, then it will certainly discourage you to switch to another translation. Choose wisely.
My targeted audiences for this blog are seekers of truth in general, and laypeople (who are believers) without any special background or training. I have been in the faith for about 10 years now as of this writing. There are a lot of translations and versions out there that can really confuse those that are just starting out. Since the Bible is God speaking to us, we want a translation that is as close to the original language as possible, and as literal as possible if possible, because we want to hear His voice, and not the voice of the translators. You might ask, “In that case, why not learn the original language?”
Nehemiah 8:1-3 NKJV
Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
Romans 10:17 NKJV
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Another way to fill the mind with the Bible is to listen. Sometimes reading is not possible, such as while driving, old age and eyes problem for example, and that’s where audio bible comes in. It also comes in handy when you’re down and discouraged, and don’t feel like opening the Bible. Or, you can use it to just read along! Sometimes I’m just tired to even open my mouth or read it mentally. Got seven chapters to read through? Easy: Open the audio bible to your chosen translation and just follow along on your Bible. Can’t sleep? Worried about something at night? Open the audio bible and let it comfort and encourage you as you drift into sleep.
There was no chapter and verse divisions in the Old Testament when the New Testament was written. See Who divided the Bible into chapters and verses? @GQM. Without these divisions, if we want to refer to John 3:16, we would have to say something along this line, “Remember what Jesus said to Nicodemus?” or “Jesus said to Nicodemus, ‘For God so loved the world…’”
And that’s how Jesus did it,
“even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (KJV)
“But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’” (NKJV)
Jesus couldn’t say Exodus 3:6 because chapter and verse divisions didn’t exist. Thanks to Stephen Langton, we can now easily point people back to the burning bush passage, or to that famous saying Jesus told Nicodemus! With these divisions it makes Bible studying, searching, and referencing a lot easier, even helps with Scripture memorization. However, there are a few problems…
The OliveTree Bible is a free app you can download on your mobile device. You can purchase addons but for Bible reading plans (there are a whole lot to choose from), you don’t have to pay anything. Some will prefer to read on their device (while on the go), but I personally use it as a checklist and reminder!
10 years ago, it was hard to find a single column / paragraph Bible (not sure if it even existed back then). Now, there are plenty! But finding the one that matches your criteria can be a challenge and pricey.
When you’re first starting out, don’t be too dogmatic on things, but also don’t be quick to believe everything you read or hear. Keep an open mind, but guard it by praying and keeping your eyes fixated on the Gospel of His grace. Those starting out tend to have a lot of zeal and passion, and they see things in black and white, easy to be tossed to and fro.
There are people who will try to persuade you that the KJV is the best translation. Whether it is or it’s not, I’ll say this: It’s not the best translation for those just starting out and are coming to know Christ. I am speaking from experience here. An obsession with the KJV earlier on will stunt your spiritual growth and maturity, and make a legalist out of you.
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, NKJV)