This morning I am remembering the value of Scripture memory. I am thinking about this because I am listening to Caleb and Joshua memorize and recite from Proverbs 2. This fall, Caleb has memorized Psalm 62, and both boys have memorized Psalm 1 and are now working on Proverbs 2:1-10. They have finished through verse 8 so far. This is the first year that we have worked on long passages or chapters. In prior years, we have only asked them to memorize isolated verses. The boys have been listening to CDs of the Bible when they go to sleep at night for years. This is actually how Caleb memorized Psalm 62. He listened to it over and over. And when he was about 4, he memorized a whole chapter of Matthew and one of Luke the same way. It was amazing. Kid brains are sponges!
Growing up, I only memorized isolated verses. We used a fantastic program called Scripture Memory Fellowship. They offer memory programs for everyone from preschool to adult. All three of us older kids (and maybe the younger 2, as well), did all the books for the grades 1-12. It was a great exercise and a wonderful way to become more familiar with Scripture. The most intense period of memorization I had was when I went on Teen Missions in 1995. They require everyone to memorize 40 verses over the course of the 8 weeks summer program, but of course you don't have 8 weeks to memorize because starting almost right away are the daily Quiz Offs. For people like me who can memorize easily, they Quiz Offs were a blast. The verse prompts were given a multitude of ways and you had 30 seconds from when you stood and were told "go" to give the correct verse correctly. For example, sometimes they would start with the reference "Romans...." and there were 8 Romans verses. So, those of us who were confident, could jump up as soon as they started to say Romans and start reciting all 8 verses as fast as possible, hoping to get to the right one before time ran out. Sometimes they would start at the end of the verse and give you the last word, then the second to last word. What a blast. I did very well with those quizzes and I loved them! We were given the verses on a pack of cards, and the cards/verses were labeled #1-40 for ease of identification and keeping them in order. I had them memorized by those numbers as well, so if you asked me to recite verse 25...I could. Useless, I know, but a kick for someone with a brain like mine. :) In 2000 I went on Teen Missions again as a leader and really enjoyed being on the other side of the quizzing. And, of course, there were leaders vs teens and leaders vs leader quiz offs, as well, so I didn't totally miss out. And if I remember correctly, when were at the 5 team debrief in the Philippines at the end of the trip and had the leaders champion quiz off, the team I was on won. :) Not that I was competitive or anything. But hey, if you're going to be competitive, what better thing to compete over than who knows their Scriptures best.
So, we intend to keep these boys memorizing...and ourselves as well. There is no substitute for knowing where to find a Scripture when you need it, or being able to share with someone when you don't have a Bible on you. And it helps keep us walking in obedience: "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11