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Devotion 3

Mulling It Over

"Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee."

— Psalm 119: 11

Been there. Done that — trying to memorize Scripture, that is.

In my high school girls' program at church, we were challenged to

memorize a book of the Bible every year. I always said I was going to do it —

especially when it was the book of Philippians.

But I didn't. And I've never had too much success except with verses that

are so familiar to me.

Recently in a Bible study I learned that the Apostle Paul learned Psalm

113-118 when he was six years old! "If he can do that at six years, surely I

can do it at 63," I chided myself.

Now, I'm having success for the first time. What has made the difference?

o First of all, I have stopped being so hard on myself. It isn't the

Olympics, after all.

o Next, I reviewed all I learned in my freshman speech class. Mrs.

Clemmons taught us to read whatever we were memorizing over and over again.

We should never, never memorize something a paragraph at a time because it

breaks up the flow of the passage and provides a place to forget! So that's

what I've been doing. I read each chapter over and over again. As I become

more familiar with the verses, I see a pattern emerging, and the verses begin

hanging together better.

Then I say as many verses as I can; and as soon as I draw a blank, I read

the rest of the chapter before I start over at the beginning.

o I have learned that it takes a quiet mind to memorize. That's why I

often read and quote the chapters just before I drift off to sleep at night

and wake up in the morning. When I reach a place where I forget, I just wait

a minute. Often the next verse drifts into my mind, or I see the place on the

page, and I get through the rough spot.

o Chapter 116 gave me fits. It just wouldn't come together, so I wrote

down key words and tried saying the passage that way. Then I reduced it to

the first letters of key words, and both helped.

o Sometimes I even violate my prof's rule and divide the longest

chapters into sections, not arbitrarily by verses but by meaning. That helps,


o And I have decided I don't care if I'm letter perfect. I think the

gist of the passage is more important than faltering over individual words —

although I correct important mistakes.

So now I'm through five chapters and working on the sixth.

Who knows, maybe I'll memorize the book of Philippians yet!

So what? you may ask. Let me tell you what I have learned. First of all,

I have discovered the location of verses I have heard quoted for years.

In addition, the Holy Spirit has brought various verses to my mind as I

walk the walk. He couldn't do that if I hadn't learned them.

I know the pressure of life makes hiding His word in our hearts seem an

impossible challenge. But I'd like to encourage you to choose a favorite

verse with the pertinent verses before and after it. Then mull them over and

over in your rising up and you sitting down. (Psalm 139)

You'll be surprised at how comforting those words from God can be!

For further consideration:

Proverbs 6:23

Psalm 19:7-11, 14

Oh, that's where it is!

Psalm 116: 1, 7-8, and 15

Psalm 118: 1, 6, 8-9, 14, and 24

©Ann Wharton,

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