MEDITATE ON THE WORD DAY & NIGHT1

 

God's instructions to Joshua preparatory to entering the promised land to fight the good fight of faith in order to possess his promised possessions remains a proven "formula for spiritual success" for saints today who like Joshua have been set apart that we might become experiential possessors of our positional possession of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and nightso that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you willhave success. (Joshua 1:8-ntoe)

The law of his God is in his heart. His steps do not slip Psalm 37:31

Spurgeon comments: "The best thing in the best place, producing the best results. Well might the man's talk be so admirable when his heart was so well stored. To love holiness, to have the motives and desires sanctified, to be in one's inmost nature obedient to the Lord -- this is the surest method of making the whole run of our life efficient for its great ends, and even for securing the details of it, our steps from any serious mistake. To keep the even tenor of one's way, in such times as these, is given only to those whose hearts are sound towards God, who can, as in the text, call God their God. Policy slips and trips, it twists and tacks, and after all is worsted in the long run, but sincerity plods on its plain pathway and reaches the goal."

The best thing. 
In the best place. 
With the best of results.

John Trapp commenting on the phrase "The law of his God is in his heart" in Ps 37:31 adds:  "He hath a Bible in his head, and another in his heart; he hath a good treasure within, and there hence bringeth good things."

Psalms 119:103 How sweet are Thy words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth (cp Ps 19:10)!

Spurgeon comments: He had not only heard the words of God, but fed upon them: they affected his palate as well as his ear. God's words are many and varied, and the whole of them make up what we call "the word": David (Ed: The author of Ps 119 is not known for certain although many think it was David) loved them each one, individually, and the whole of them as a whole; he tasted an indescribable sweetness in them. He expresses the fact of their sweetness, but as he cannot express the degree of their sweetness he cries, "How sweet!" Being God's words they were divinely sweet to God's servant; he who put the sweetness into them had prepared the taste of his servant to discern and enjoy it. David makes no distinction between promises and precepts, doctrines and threatenings; they are all included in God's words, and all are precious in his esteem. Oh for a deep love to all that the Lord has revealed, whatever form it may take. (Amen!)

Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth. When he did not only eat but also speak the Word (Ed: Which is one of the advantages of memorizing it!), by instructing others, he felt an increased delight in it. The sweetest of all temporal things fall short of the infinite deliciousness of the eternal word. When the psalmist fed on it he found it sweet; but when he bore witness of it, it became sweeter still. How wise it will be on our part to keep the word on our palate (Ed: How better than by treasuring it in our heart! cp Mt 12:34Lk 6:45) by meditation and on our tongue by confession. It must be sweet to our taste when we think of it, or it will not be Sweet to our mouth when we talk of it.

Psalm 19:10 They (God's Words  = Ps 19:789-note) are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.

Spurgeon Comments: More to be desired are they than fine gold, yea, than much fine gold. Bible truth is enriching to the soul in the highest degree; the metaphor is one which gathers force as it is brought out; -- gold -- fine gold -- much fine gold; it is good, better, best, and therefore it is not only to be desired with a miser's avidity, but with more than that. As spiritual treasure is more noble than mere material wealth, so should it be desired and sought after with greater eagerness. Men speak of solid gold, but what is so solid as solid truth? For love of gold pleasure is forsworn, ease renounced, and life endangered; shall we not be ready to do as much for love of truth? 

Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Trapp says, "Old people are all for profit, the young for pleasure; here's gold for the one, yea, the finest gold in great quantity; here's honey for the other, yea, live honey dropping from the comb." The pleasures arising from a right understanding of the divine testimonies are of the most delightful order; earthly enjoyments are utterly contemptible, if compared with them. The sweetest joys, yea, the sweetest of the sweetest falls to his portion who has God's truth to be his heritage....The inexpressible delights of meditation on Scripture.

Thomas Watson comments: Love the word written. Ps 119:97 (read Spurgeon's note, especially his comments on "Meditation"). "Oh, how love I thy law!" "Lord," said Augustine, "let the holy Scriptures be my chaste delight." Chrysostom compares the Scripture to a garden, every truth is a fragrant flower, which we should wear, not on our bosom, but in our heart. David counted the word "sweeter than honey and the honeycomb." There is that in Scripture which may breed delight. It shows us the way to riches: Dt 28:5 Pr 3:10; to long life: Ps 34:12-note; to a kingdom: He 12:28. Well, then, may we count those the sweetest hours which are spent in reading the holy Scriptures; well may we say with the prophet (Je 15:16), "Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I have been called by Thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

Aldous Huxley (who was interested in the supernatural but was not a believer) made a statement that relates to Scripture memorization when he declared that...

Each man's memory is his private literature. (Interesting thought!)

Isaac Watts...

Without memory the soul of man would be a poor, destitute, naked being, with an everlasting blank spread over it, except the fleeting ideas of the present moment.

William Evans writes...

It has been said that "all other abilities of the mind borrow from memory their beauty and perfection." In a very real sense it is true that all other faculties of the soul are useless without memory. Of what profit is all our wisdom, our reading, our study if we are unable to preserve the knowledge we have acquired? Of what benefit to us are all the intellectual attainments of our lives if they are lost as soon as they are obtained? Memory makes rich the mind by preserving all the results of our study and learning...Memory is the treasurer of the mind.

C H Spurgeon tells a story which illustrates the importance of "internalizing" the Word of God...

Now what is a diamond? Suppose it is one worth two hundred thousand pounds — and some of those I have mentioned are said to be worth more than that — yet it is nothing but a little solidified gas. This diamond may fitly represent the whole world, with all its pomp’s, and vanities, and pleasures, and glories. Puff! it’s gone into thin air; death turns; it all to gas. Set your affections on those things which time cannot destroy, which eternity cannot impair.

There is a very beautiful story connected with the “Sancy” or “De Sancy” diamond, which is said to be worth about eighty thousand pounds. It is a comparatively small stone; and if I were stupid enough to wear such ornaments, I could wear it on my finger, if set in a ring. This stone was sent on one occasion by the Baron de Sancy, to whom it belonged, to his king, who was in ‘want of cash, and had proposed getting a loan of 40,000 pounds. The diamond was to be the security; in fact, to put it plainly, it was “to be left at the pawnbroker’s.” The Baron gave the stone to a trusty servant to take to the king. The servant disappeared, and people suspected that he had gone off with the diamond; but his master declared that he knew his servant too well to believe such a thing possible.

After some time the servant’s body was found, a little way from the road: he had been murdered and robbed. The Baron commanded that his clothes should be carefully searched for the missing diamond; but it could not be. found. He then ordered that he should be cut open, and the diamond was found in his body. He had swallowed the gem, which he had been unable in any other way to conceal from the robbers.

We should carry the truth of God within ourselves, in our hearts; so that if we were dissected, there would be found the truth of God in our innermost being. You remember that the Psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Ps 119:11) (What the Stones Say)

Do you have difficulty memorizing Scripture? You are not alone. The most common reasons I hear for not memorizing Scripture are "Bible verses are for the children" or "I don't have a good memory" or "I'm too old to memorize" and probably the most honest "It's too much work and to tell you the truth I'm just too lazy!" But considering the advantages of memorization and meditation gleaned from just the two verses quoted above should be reason enough to motivate every believer to seriously consider (or re-consider) Scripture memorization as an integral part ofdisciplining  (gymnazo [word study]  - what does this sound like? what does it say about "spiritual discipline? Will it be a "no brainer"? Obviously not.) ourselves

"for the purpose of godliness" which "is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1Ti 4:78-notes).

As an aside note that Paul is not giving Timothy [or us] a suggestion but is commanding [Present imperative] that spiritual discipline be one's lifestyle, one's daily delight!

If we truly believed what Paul wrote his young protégée Timothy, I think we would take the approach of the suffering saint Job who declared...

I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured (tsaphan = same Hebrew word found inPsalm 119:11 - "I have treasured [tsaphan] Thy Word...") the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:12-note)

Two verses earlier Job had made the incredible (considering what transpired in his life in Job1 and Job 2!) declaration...

But He knows the way I take. When He has tried (bachan = Investigation to determine essential qualities of object - for an informative study see the 9 uses in Psalms - note 3 synonyms in Ps 26:2, the first "examine" = bachan) me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10-note)

Here's the question -- Do you see any relationship between Job 23:10-note and Job 23:12-note? Specifically, do these verses suggest some insight into how Job was able to persevere ("You have heard of the "endurance of Job"James 5:11) in the face of incredible sufferings and afflictions? I think you see the point -- the value of Scripture memorization in surviving in a cannot be overemphasized!

I hear so many serious believers say "I ought to begin memorizing Scripture" only to find out weeks or months later they never followed through. Let me encourage you. Today is the best day in your life to begin the adventure of "eating" God's Word in Scripture memorization. You will never regret your decision to launch out into the "great adventure" that lays ahead.

For additional motivation, read through some of the articles in the next section and then in the following section consider one of the established programs to begin your journey. If you would rather not use a computerized program, I would recommend the Navigator's Topical Memory System - TMS (see also Scripture Memory Secrets)  because it won't overwhelm you and yet is still solid food which if you practice it, will train (gumnazo [word study]) yoursenses...to discern (diakrisis [word study]) good and evil. (He 5:14-note).

The Bible is the language of heaven, and will not pass away (Mt 24:35), so let us enter into this spiritual discipline with delight, great joy and a sense of expectation, not out of a sense of guilt,  legalism or onerous duty. We are not our own but are children and "bond-servants (doulos [word study]) of the Most High God" (In the OT the Name is El Elyon - Sovereign Over All) (Acts 16:17), who should be motivated by the love of Christ (2Cor 5:14) to have as our earnest"ambitionwhether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him" (2Cor 5:9) As with any "spiritual discipline" there is always the subtle danger of becoming pharisaical or prideful and we are ever in danger of failing prey to a subtle form of legalism.

Pastor Ray Stedman has a great discussion of the danger believers face in this area of legalism. His transcript is very good but if you have time I would recommend listening to his message as it adds inflections, etc, not possible in a written document. (Legalism - transcript or Legalism - Mp3)

The practice of Jesus Himself is ample testimony to the value of Scripture memorization. Jesus said Thus saith the Lord or God said or It is written or Have you not read that it was said 92 times! Clearly our Lord Jesus Christ, fully God and fully Man, left an example (hupogrammos [word study]) for (us) to follow in His steps (1Pe 2:21-note). As Paul commanded the saints at Ephesus we should be imitators (mimetes [word study]of God, as belovedchildren (Ep 5:1-note)

Many years ago the village priest in Kalonovaka, Russia, took a special liking to a pug-nosed lad who recited his Scriptures with proper piety. By offering various inducements, the priest managed to teach the boy the four Gospels, which he recited nonstop in church one day. Sixty years later he still liked to recite Scriptures, but in a context that would have horrified the old priest. The prize pupil who memorized so much of the Bible was Nikita Khrushchev, former premier of the Soviet Union! John W. Alexander, former president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, gives us this warning:

"There is little merit inherent in the mere process of memorizing Scripture. One could memorize voluminous portions and be an atheist. Satan memorized enough to use it to tempt Jesus...Memorizing is helpful when we yearn for Scripture to energize our whole lives....What makes the difference between superficial and beneficial Scripture memorization? I believe it is prayerful meditation. Memorization in itself may sharpen our intellectual capacities, but that's about all. Memorization with a view to meditation helps us think straight in a crooked world. (excepted from Memorizing God's Word)

Dr. Howard Hendricks has made the statement (and I paraphrase) that if it were his decision, every student graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary would be required to learn 1000 verses word perfect before they received their degree. May his tribe increase!

Well known Bible teacher Dr. Chuck Swindoll has written:

"I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture...No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified." (fromGrowing Strong in the Seasons of Life)

Considering such indisputable benefits to one's spiritual health, one has to wonder why there is not more emphasis on Scripture memory and meditation in the average American church. Could it be that it is still true that

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches awaywhat has been sown in his heart? (Mt 13:19)

But (Jesus introduces a dramatic contrast) the seed in the good soilthese are the ones who have heard the wordin an honest (kalos [word study]) and good (agathos [word study]heart (kardia [word study]), and hold it fast, andbear fruit (karpophoreo [word study] in the present tense = they have the blessing of being continually "spiritually fertile and fruitful" bearing fruit that will last throughout eternity - Jn 15:16NIVJn 15:58) - Do miss this "once in a lifetime offer too good to refuse"! You only go around once! cp James 4:14Jas 1:1011-note1Pe 1:24-note,Job 7:7Ps 103:15-note) with perseverance (hupomone [word study]). (Lk 8:15).

So brothers and sisters let us persevere with great delight in this discipline of Scriptural memorization for one day we will discover the glorious truth that this was one of the most fruitful investments of our time that we could have ever made in this life.

INVEST IN A "STOCK"
THAT WILL NEVER DECLINE
AND WILL PAY DIVIDENDS FOR ETERNITY!

In my own practice of memorizing God's Word, I have found that one of the most critical aspects (other than a constant dependence on prayer that God might graciously grant me a heart hunger to eat His Word) is frequent and systematic review of verses. I use a "multi-pronged attack" including: Typing or writing out scripture on small cards that I keep in my pocket for those times I'm stuck in elevators, long winded meetings or long lines at the super market. I also dictate the current verses I am focusing on into a mini recorder (Ipods work too) which is great for redeeming those times I get caught in traffic jams on the freeway and allows you to have several cassettes of your "favorite" verses. Most of these recording devices allow easy playback so that you can keep your eye on the road while driving. I also keep a small pocket sized Bible close at hand (car, briefcase, etc) to allow quick review of verses in context and I highlight those verses I have already memorized.

The Bible on tape/CD/Mp3 is another great modality, especially if you have a long commute time. CD versions are advantageous because they can be quickly "rewound' to the beginning of a chapter to facilitate repetition. REMEMBER that NONE of these ideas or the resources below are of any value in memorizing the Word of God if you have not first sought the God of the Word. Otherwise all of these "tools" can be misused and potentially produce pride, pedantry and a Pharisaical attitude as alluded to earlier. The foundational keynote of "humility" is sounded by James who reminds us after

putting aside (apotithemi [word study]all filthiness (rhuparia [word study]) and all that remains (perisseia [word study]) of wickedness (kakia [word study]), in HUMILITY (prautes [word study] KJV = "meekness" - with a meek disposition, a gentleness of spirit) receive (dechomai [word study]) the word (logos [word study]implanted(emphutos [word study]), which is able (dunamai [word study]) to save (sozo [word study]) your souls (Jas 1:21-note, cp the attitude of a little child in Mt 18:3,4)

As someone has well said sin will keep you from the Bible or the Bible will keep you from sin. Bibles that are "falling apart" usually belong to people who are not.

A CONTEXTUAL
CAUTION

One note of caution - Be careful when memorizing single verses that you do not "wrench" them out of their context, lest you give the passage a meaning (and an interpretation) God never intended. Always examine the contextsurrounding the verse you are memorizing or even better memorize larger sections of Scripture, including chapters or even entire books.

As Billy Graham once said...

I am convinced that one of the greatest things we can do is to memorize Scripture.

When was the last time you memorized a passage of Scripture? God's Word has a cleansing effect. You must(no excuses please - I include myself here!) get into the Word so that it can get into you and can then become effective in your life, as the Spirit uses it ("the washing with water through the word" - Ep 5:26-note) to renew your mind and transform your thinking (Ro 12:2-note) so that you are enabled more and more to discern the will of God (Eph 4:14-noteHe 5:14-note). The Word daily imbibed and diligently obeyed is one of the best  protectors and preventatives against the polluting power of this present evil age (Gal 1:4), an age which is in the process of passing away as are even it's evil desires (1Jn 2:17-note).

William Evans (1910) writes...

A few suggestions will be helpful here.

1. Memorize the location of the verse together with the verse. You will find it just as easy to say, "John 1:29, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," as you would if you merely said, "Behold the Lamb of God," etc., omitting to state the reference.

2. Learn it. Don't get a faint, indefinite idea. If you want to remember any text in after years, let it make a deep, clear and vivid impression on your mind the moment you learn it.

3. Read the verse over, say twenty times; close your Bible and see if you can repeat it correctly, then to be sure, read it again. Once writing the verse is worth a dozen repetitions of it by mouth.

4. Review. This is the secret of memorizing. Review every day, every week, every mouth, and every year.

5. Practice. Use the passages of Scripture. Seek occasions for talking to persons who have difficulties. (1-Value of Personal Effort in Soul-Winning by William Evans2-Elements of Success in Personal Soul-Winning3-The Personal Worker - His Qualifications4-Instructions to the Soul-Winner)

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Why Memorize Scripture? 
by John Piper

First, a few testimonies:

I have it third hand, that Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Seminary once made the statement (and I paraphrase) that if it were his decision, every student graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary would be required to learn one thousand verses word perfect before they graduated.

Chuck Swindoll wrote,

I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994], p. 61).

One of the reasons Martin Luther came to his great discovery in the Bible of justification by faith alone was that in his early years in the Augustinian monastery he was influenced to love Scripture by Johann Staupitz. Luther devoured the Bible in a day when people earned doctorates in theology without even reading the Bible. Luther said that his fellow professor, Andreas Karlstadt, did not even own a Bible when he earned his doctor of theology degree, nor did he until many years later (Bucher, Richard. "Martin Luther's Love for the Bible"). Luther knew so much of the Bible from memory that when the Lord opened his eyes to see the truth of justification in Ro 1:17-note, he said, "Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory,” in order to confirm what he had found.

So here are a few reasons why so many have viewed Scripture memorization as so essential to the Christian life.

1. Conformity to Christ

Paul wrote that

we all, . . . beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2Cor 3:18)

If we would be changed into Christ likeness we must steadily see him. This happens in the word.

The Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (1Sa 3:21).

Bible memorization has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier and clearer.

2. Daily Triumph over Sin

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. . . . I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119:9-notePs 119:11-note).

Paul said that we must

by the Spirit . . . put to death the [sinful] deeds of the body” (Ro 8:13-note).

The one piece of armor used to kill is the “sword of the Spirit” which is the word of God (Ep 6:17-note). As sin lures the body into sinful action, we call to mind a Christ-revealing word of Scripture and slay the temptation with the superior worth and beauty of Christ over what sin offers.

Remember however as John Blanchard has warned...

There is more to Christian growth than knowing what the Bible says; nobody is ever nourished by memorizing menus.

3. Daily Triumph over Satan

When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness he recited Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight (Mt 4:1,234567891011).

4. Comfort and Counsel for People You Love

The times when people need you to give them comfort and counsel do not always coincide with the times you have your Bible handy. Not only that, the very word of God spoken spontaneously from your heart has unusual power. Pr 25:11 says,

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

That is a beautiful way of saying, When the heart full of God’s love can draw on the mind full of God’s word, timely blessings flow from the mouth.

5. Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers

Opportunities to share the gospel come when we do not have the Bible in hand. Actual verses of the Bible have their own penetrating power. And when they come from our heart, as well as from the Book, the witness is given that they are precious enough to learn. We should all be able to sum up the gospel under four main headings (1) God’s holiness/law/glory; (2) man’s sin/rebellion/disobedience; (3) Christ’s death for sinners; (4) the free gift of life by faith. Learn a verse or two relating to each of these, and be ready in season and out of season to share them.

6. Communion with God in the Enjoyment of His Person and Ways

The way we commune with (that is, fellowship with) God is by meditating on his attributes and expressing to him our thanks and admiration and love, and seeking his help to live a life that reflects the value of these attributes. Therefore, storing texts in our minds about God helps us relate to him as he really is. For example, imagine being able to call this to mind through the day:

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. (Ps 103:891011121314-notes)

I used the word “enjoyment” intentionally when I said, “communion with God in the enjoyment of his person and ways.” Most of us are emotionally crippled—all of us, really. We do not experience God in the fullness of our emotional potential. How will that change? One way is to memorize the emotional expressions of the Bible and speak them to the Lord and to each other until they become part of who we are. For example, in Psalm 103:1-note, we say,

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

That is not a natural expression for many people. But if we memorize this and other emotional expressions from the Bible, and say them often, asking the Lord to make the emotion real in our hearts, we can actually grow into that emotion and expression. It will become part of who we are. We will be less emotionally crippled and more able to render proper praise and thanks to God.

There are other reasons for memorizing Scripture. I hope you find them in the actual practice.

Listen to  John Piper discuss his approach to memorizing Scripture. Two of the keys? Pray for discipline and set aside time. How do you memorize Scripture? (Download the Mp3)

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From Valley Bible Church (Why Memorize
 

Why we should memorize Scripture

A. It helps us

1. It renews our mind (Romans 12:2)
2. Purifies our heart (Psalm 119:9Hebrews 4:12)
3. It helps us resisting temptation (Psalm 119:11Matthew 4:1-11)
4. It helps us to know God (Psalm 119:10)
5. It provides guidance (Ephesians 5:17)
6. It aids us in worshipping God (John 4:24; cf. John 17:17)
7. We are commanded to meditate on God's Word (Joshua 1:8)
8. It helps our prayer life (John 15:7)
9. It helps our study of the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15)
10. It can protect us against wrong doctrine (Ephesians 4:14)

 

B. It helps others

1. It helps us to evangelize unbelievers (ex. Acts 2:14-36)
2. It helps us to teach believers (Psalm 119:24)

 

Why we don't memorize Scripture

Excuse: "I have a poor memory."
Excuse: "I don't have time."
Excuse: "I am too old."
Excuse: "I have tried before and failed."
Excuse: "Why bother now that I have my new computer program."
Excuse: "Memorizing Scripture will make me spiritually proud."
The real reason is that we choose not to.

 

Bible memory verses often taken out of context

 

A verse out of context is a pretext. We all have probably used Bible verses to say things that are simply not meant by the biblical author. We should understand what the Bible says and not divorce words from their context. Bible verses are often taken out of context when we have heard others use a verse in a certain way and believe that understanding to be correct. Then every time we read the verse in the Bible we impart to the verse what we think the meaning is, rather than reading it for what it says. This is a problem even if our misunderstanding does not lead us into doctrinal error. We still miss the true meaning of the verse that is misused. Furthermore, it begins to warp the context for other verses

 

Romans 8:28 - "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." The common understanding -  God works everything out for our good. The correct understanding -God works all things together for good as long as the condition is met: We must love God and be called according to His purpose. This certainly does not apply to everyone. Loving God and being called according to His purpose are two sides of the same coin. If this is true for us then this promise applies to us.

 

Revelation 3:20 - "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me." The common understanding - Christ is standing at the door of every person's heart. Each person has the opportunity to receive Him into their life and enjoy salvation which brings true fellowship with Jesus Christ. The correct understanding - Christ is addressing the church of Laodicea, through a messenger. This is not a verse directed at individual unsaved people that we may encounter in our evangelistic endeavors. It is to a church whose members were professing believers but were in fact spiritually dead. The church is called to repent and become zealous for God. (Read the entire excellent 8 page paper - Why Memorize - from Valley Bible Church, Lancaster, CA)

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MEMORIZE AN ENTIRE 
BOOK OF THE BIBLE

Here's a challenge for you - Consider memorizing an entire book or store with a Psalm like Psalm 1 or Psalm 19, or if you are really adventurous, consider Paul's doctrinally rich and practically applicable epistle to the Ephesians. If you're up for the challenge and the blessing you will receive, below is a link to an 11 page Pdf document by Dr Andrew Davis, which will guide you through memorization of an entire book of the Bible. Dr Davis writes...

Memorization is not the same as meditation, but it is almost impossible for someone to memorize a passage of Scripture without somewhat deepening his/her understanding of those verses. Plus, once the passage is memorized, a lifetime of reflection is now available through ongoing review… while driving on long trips, while walking on beaches, while conversing with friends, memorized verses can flow from you and cause a deepening of understanding...

When Judgment Day comes, we will regret the waste of a single moment not used for the glory of Christ. We will, however, not regret one moment we spent diligently studying God’s Word and hiding it in our heart. We will only wish we’d spent more moments doing this. (I recommend you read Dr Davis' entire article)

May you be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, that He might give you the will (desire) and the working out (enablement) to accomplish such a rewarding objective...

An Approach to the Extended Memorization of Scripture 
(or Pdf)


WHAT IS 
THE BIBLE?

"THIS BOOK contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers.

Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable.

Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy.

It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword and the Christian's character.

Here paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed.

Christ is its grand object, our good is its design and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. (Ed: Note the order!)

Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully.

It is given you in life and will be opened in the judgment and will be remembered forever.

It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents." — Anonymous - found on the flyleaf of an old Bible

In a comment on Psalm 119:11, the Preacher's Commentary reaffirms the importance of Scripture memory...

As a new Christian I was encouraged to memorize Scripture. Introduced to the Topical Memory System of the Navigators, I amassed several score of verses on salvation, prayer, the Christian life, etc. Often during my high school lunch hour I would slip away to a quiet place for review. This investment was for a lifetime. Again and again in preaching and counseling, these verses have come back to me. How grateful I am that as a young believer I was introduced to hiding God’s Word in my heart. (Briscoe, D. S., & Ogilvie, L. J. The Preacher's Commentary Series.  Thomas Nelson or Logos)

SOME LESSONS 
FROM THE 
WISDOM OF JOB

Job 23:10-12

But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His path; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the command of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. (Job 23:101112-See in depth discussion of Job 23:10;11;12)

Treasured (Hebrew tsaphan 06845) means to hide or to keep secret and is used of concealing something of great value, e.g., baby Moses (Ex 2:2), the Israelite spies (by Rahab in Josh. 2:4). Figuratively as in Psalm 119:11 and here in Job tsaphan refers of keeping something hidden in one's heart.

My "amplified" paraphrase of the Septuagint (LXX) translation of Job 23:12-note gives some additional insight from the Greek text. The English translation of the Greek reads...

Neither (ou me = double negative in the Greek ou = absolute negation and me relative no. Job is saying in essence "absolutely no way") do I neglect, overlook or transgress from His precepts, but I have hidden (active voice = personal choice to do this...sounds like he has memorized God's Word!) His uttered or spoken words in my bosom (the bosom is the place of honor and close fellowship).

"I have not departed 
from the command of His lips

This the very instruction given to Joshua 1:8, although at the moment Job declared this fact, he was far from experiencing success and making his way prosperous (at least from mankind's perspective) as promised to those who do not let the word depart from their lips. Clearly as we read his story, Job is a man who is suffering more than any of us will ever understand, and yet in the face of such affliction he affirms that he ''shall come forth as gold''. How did he know he would come forth as gold, a question which emphasizes the importance of examining the context to accurately answer this question. Job instead of being like "gold" was more like a man whose soul cleaved to the dust (cp Ps 119:25-note). And yet as Job 23:12-note states, he knew God's Word and even more importantly he had experienced intimacy with God through His Word. He trusted His Father's refining hand. How else could he have said ""He knows the way I take. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold" and not have been a hypocrite?

A New Testament way of saying one has not departed from the command is to abide in the Word (John 8:31 - Note the incredible benefits Jn 8:3236! Note: "make...free" = eleutheroo [word study]), to let the Word of Christ richly dwell within

Let the word of Christ richly dwell (present imperative = command to make this our habitual practice, even our "lifestyle", not speaking of attaining perfection but of pursuing a direction) within you, with all wisdom teaching (present tense = continually, habitually) and admonishing (present tense = continually, habitually) one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (cp Ep 5:1920-note), singing (present tense = continually, habitually) with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col 3:16-note)

Comment: As an aside it is noteworthy that Col 3:16 clearly parallels Eph 5:18-noteEp 5:1920-note, indicating how vital it is for believers to let the Word richly dwell within and how better than to memorize it so that we might meditate on it! In so doing we establish the proper "milieu" in which the Spirit can continually fill us and controls us, as we learn (and choose) to surrender our will (step by step, moment by moment, test by test, etc) to His Holy Spirit and His holy Word! In short, Bible memorization while not automatically assuring you will experience continual control by the Spirit, is certain instrumental in that desirable spiritual dynamic. Eat the Word. Obey the Word. Live out the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit! All for the glory of the Father (Mt 5:16-noteJn 15:8Ps 115:1-note)

RELATIONSHIP OF BEING FILLED...
WITH THE SPIRIT
AND
THE WORD
THE HOLY
SPIRIT
THE HOLY
WORD
Ephesians 5:181920Colossians 3:1617Be filled with
(present imperative)Let...dwell within
(present imperative)The Spirit 
(of Christ)
The Word
Of Christ
Speaking to
One Another
Teaching and Admonishing
One Another
In Psalms and Hymns and 
Spiritual Songs
With Psalms and Hymns and
Spiritual Songs
Singing and making melody 
with your heart 
to the Lord
Singing with thankfulness
in your hearts
to God
Always giving thanksGiving Thanks

It is interesting and surprising that the NRSV and RSV don't have the last phrase in Job 23:12 -- more than my necessary food (reason is not clear but it could be that these versions more closely follow Septuagint - LXX and/or Latin Vulgate). For example, the RSV reads

I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured in my bosom the words of his mouth.

The KJV, NKJV, NIV, ASV, ESV, Amplified, HCSB, ICB, NET all have "more than my necessary food" (or similar phraseology).

Job was not perfect but He had a perfect God Who was behind the scenes keeping His hand on the "thermostat" of affliction and suffering so that his choice servant would be refined rather than burned. Some people go into the furnace of affliction, and it burns them, whereas others go in, and the experience purifies them. What makes the difference? Their attitude toward the Word of God, the God of the Word and His will for their life. If we are continually, daily taking in the "bread" (every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God) and humbling ourselves in submission to His will (revealed predominantly in His Word) which is good and acceptable and perfect, the furnace experience, painful as it may be at the moment, will refine us and make us better. (1Pe 1:67-see notes 1Pe 1:67) But if we resist God’s will and fail to feed on His truth, the furnace experience has the potential to burn us and make us bitter (cp Naomi's trying circumstances in Ruth 1:1ff which led to her declaration in Ru 1:2021-notes - Note that for a time Naomi had her focus more on her problems {which in fairness to Naomi were many and were severe!} than on her Deliverer. But the providential intervention of Jehovah soon changed Naomi's perspective - see Ru 2:20-noteRu 4:141516-note).

Lord, Be Thy Word My Rule
In it may I rejoice;
Thy glory be my aim;
Thy holy will my choice.

Thy promises my hope;
Thy providence my guard;
Thine arm my strong support;
Thyself my great Reward.
--C. Wordsworth

Would you cook a meal for yourself even if you didn’t feel like cooking? You probably would reasoning something like this -- “Yes, food is necessary, and I know I need to eat or I will become anemic, weak and tired.” How do we answer the same question when it comes to spiritual food, the Living Word of God? Did you skip your time in His Word today or maybe even all week long? If your answer is, “Yes, I was too tired, too busy, too down, etc, etc...to study God’s Word,” then consider Job, remembering the exhortation of the writer of Hebrews to fellow Hebrews who in the face of their great conflict of suffering exhorted ...

we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (He 6:11,12 -note)

James adding that...

You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.  (James 5:11)

You may be saying "Well, at least I read Our Daily Bread (one of the best devotionals available in my opinion) every morning before I go to work." If so you might be intrigued by the caveat written by Our Daily Bread's founder Dr. M R DeHaan....

Hold everything! Wait a minute! Have you read the Scripture for today? It's only eight short verses, and it will take you only 45 seconds. No, don't lay this booklet down and mumble to me, "I'm in a hurry and you're delaying me." I see you're eating breakfast this morning even though you're late. You take time to feed your body, but you were going to starve your soul. Take 45 seconds and read Psalm 119:33-40. If you don't read the rest of this devotional, that's okay--as long as you read the Bible. These articles in Our Daily Bread are not designed to be a substitute for the Bible; they are meant to stimulate your desire to read more of the Bible. If reading this booklet has caused you to neglect the Word of God, please throw this booklet in the wastebasket!"

Job said, "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12-note).

Jesus taught, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Mt. 4:4).

Yes, you may have had a rough day yesterday and you're way behind. But why should you be surprised that it was such a bad day if you started it without God's Word? Don't make the same mistake today. Take time to read." (Dr M R DeHaan -- founder of the ministry) (Bolding added) (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

>>>

How does one 
treasure the Word?

Here is one of the most poignant and convicting illustrations of treasuring the Word I have ever read...

The first requirement for keeping that TREASURE is to recognize that it is a TREASURE. A beautiful and touching story is told of a young French girl who had been born blind. After she learned to read by touch, a friend gave her a Braille copy of Mark’s gospel. She read it so much that her fingers became calloused and insensitive. In an effort to regain her feeling, she cut the skin from the ends of her fingers. Tragically, however, her calluses were replaced by permanent and even more insensitive scars. She sobbingly gave the book a goodbye kiss, saying,

“FAREWELL, FAREWELL, SWEET WORD OF MY HEAVENLY FATHER.”

In doing so, she discovered that her lips were even more sensitive than her fingers had been, and she spent the rest of her life reading her great treasure with her lips. Would that every Christian had such an appetite for the Word of God!

>>>

J H Jowett - THE LAW IN THE HEART “I will put My laws into their hearts.”—He 10:16171819202122.

EVERYTHING depends on where we carry the law of the Lord. If it only rests in the memory, any vagrant care may snatch it away. The business of the day may wipe it out as a sponge erases a record from a slate. A thought is never secure until it has passed from the mind into the heart, and has become a desire, an aspiration, a passion. When the law of God is taken into the heart, it is no longer something merely remembered: it is something loved. Now things that are loved have a strong defense. They are in the “keep” of the castle, in the innermost custody of the stronghold. The strength of the heart is wrapped about them, and no passing vagrant can carry them away.

And this is where the good Lord is willing to put His laws. He is wishful to put them among our loves. And the wonderful thing is this: when laws are put among loves they change their form, and His statutes become our songsLaws that are loved are no longer dreadful policemen, but compassionate friends. “O! how I love Thy law!” (Ps 119:97) That man did not live in a prison, he lived in a garden, and God’s will was unto him as gracious flowers and fruits. And so shall it be unto all of us when we love the law of the Lord.

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God's Treasure Chest - READ: Psalm 119:9-16 

I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. —Psalm 119:14-note

Most of us wouldn't ignore a dollar lying on the ground. We would gladly pick it up and put it in our pocket. Yet we often ignore the Bible, a treasure chest overflowing with God's precious promises. David, the likely author of Psalm 119, recorded the rich blessings he experienced as he studied God's Word and stored it in the pocket of his heart. No wonder British pastor Charles H. Spurgeon referred to it as "David's pocket book."

David not only rejoiced in God's Word, but he also used it as a personal safeguard against sin. He said to God, "Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Ps 119:11-note). But David did more than memorize it. He saturated his heart with its truth, using these methods: He meditated on God's precepts, contemplated His ways, and delighted himself in the Lord's teachings (Ps 119:15-note,Ps 119:16-note). Therefore he could say, "I will not forget Your Word" (Ps 119:16-note), for we don't easily forget what we treasure in our hearts.

When you read Our Daily Bread, take time to read the Scripture verses. The Bible, God's treasure chest, is the basis for all these articles. Use them to help you hunt for precious gems in God's Word. Like David, hide them in your heart so that you'll remember them and rejoice. —Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

My Bible to me is a treasure house,
Where I can always find
Whatever I need from day to day
For heart and soul and mind. —Anon.

Rich treasures of God's truth 
can be discovered in His Word.

>>>

Godly Exercise - READ: 1 Timothy 4:6-16  Exercise (discipline) (present imperative = command to make this the habit of our life) yourself toward godliness.  (1Ti 4:78-note).

Fitness advocate Jhannie Tolbert says you don't need a treadmill or specialized equipment to get a great physical workout at home. Tolbert uses a toolbox for stepping exercises, lifts soup cans to work his shoulder muscles, and employs other common household items in his daily training. He says you can stay fit at home using a low-tech approach. Other trainers agree and encourage people to use jump ropes, chairs, brooms, and even bags of groceries in conditioning routines. They see exercise as a matter of will, not wealth.

The same principle holds true with spiritual fitness. While Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and other books are helpful, we can begin spiritual training with nothing more than the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Paul urged his protégé Timothy: "Exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" (1Ti 4:78-note).

It requires no money to study a Bible passage or memorize a verse. We don't need special equipment or materials to pray for a friend, give thanks to God, or sing His praise. We just need to begin where we are, with what we have, right now.—David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Just as the body will grow strong
With exercise each day,
So too, we grow more like our Lord
By living life His way. —D. De Haan

Godly exercise is the key to godly character

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Brain Games - READ: Romans 12:1-8 -

Do not be conformed (Stop letting this happen is the idea of the present imperative + a negative) to this world,but (contrastbe transformed (present imperative = continually, which calls for continual intake of "healthy" brain food = God's bread of life Mt 4:4, Word of truth = Jas 1:18-note) by the renewing of your mind. Ro 12:2 (note)

A saying among scientists who study the human brain is “Use it before you lose it.” We have the power to help keep our brain fit and working well. Dr. Lawrence Katz, a neurologist at Duke University, urges people to perform daily mental exercises such as brushing your teeth with the non-dominant hand or taking a new route to work to help stimulate the brain and keep it healthy. The goal is to replace unthinking routine with fresh awareness and new focus.

There’s a lesson here for us as followers of Jesus Christ. Even the most valuable spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer can become so habitual that our minds are not fully engaged.

To avoid slipping into a spiritual rut, why not add Scripture memory to your daily devotional time? It’s a mental effort designed to produce spiritual change. The psalmist wrote, “Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). Paul said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Ro 12:2-note).