Here’s my general understanding of scripture memory.
It is an important spiritual discipline.
We all want to do it well.
Yet, most of us feel like we’re doing a poor job in this area.
Then when “the time” comes, we are left grasping at general paraphrases and life maxims that still leave everyone hungry for truth.
Like most of us, I’ve hit “seasons” where I’ve grown in the area of Scripture memory, but when I look back and I rarely have much to show for it. The verses have come and gone. The season never became a disciplined habit.
There are lots of good scripture memory techniques out there. And I’m all for them. Find what works for you and run with it. My goal is not to disparage any technique that is working for anyone out there.
As for me, I’ve found a strong correlation between journaling and Scripture memorization.
We’re to be a Fountain/Spring
In the past, Scripture memory for me has been more like turning on a faucet, filling up my cup, turning off the faucet, then emptying out the water. The goal is to see if I can pour out what I just filled up. Rinse and repeat. That can be helpful at times. But for me, the cup is always left empty at the end.
I need a way to keep the faucet on. Or better yet, like a spring, I want my mouth to speak out of the overflow of the heart. I want what seems to be happening silently underground to burst forth timely and powerfully. Journaling is not the water source (Scripture is!) but it has been a primary means by which God has let His Word burst forth from me.
Back to the original analogy, journaling has helped me keep the water faucet streaming and allowed the cup to remain full while the water pours out over the edges.
Scripture is Living and Active
Personally, I can quickly turn Scripture memory into rote exercise, treating it like a multiplication table. Yet, we know God’s Word is powerful. It’s living and active and profitable for teaching, rebuking, encouraging, admonishing, etc. And so it should be spoken as such.
I want it to flow naturally not robotically. Journaling has helped me with that. As I’ve written down what God is teaching me, I begin to see connections in Scripture. I see where Paul echoes David’s sentiments which Christ’s words also confirm — and I write those connections down and before long, the verses sink deeply and are ready to burst forth at the right time.
Or on some days, certain verses just feel so rich and alive. I write the verse down. I write down why it means so much to me. I look for other places in the Bible where that truth is written differently. They begin to pile up. And the truth sinks deeply and it begins to bubble up and out.
Again, I’m not trying to discourage anyone in their pursuit of Scripture memory whatever their method. My encouragement is to see if journaling might help, especially if your current methods for Scripture memorization aren’t working.
I’ve memorized more Scripture in the past 15 months because of journaling than I have from any other means. So maybe, that might be the case for you.
If you’re struggling with memorizing Scripture, try journaling/writing. It’s at least worth a shot.