Meditate on It Day and Night

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In order to do what Deuteronomy 6, Joshua 1, and Psalm 1 talk about–meditate on the Bible and talk about it all the time–you really have to have it in your mind. You have to have it memorized.

Think with me for a moment about the end of 2009, the year that is about to begin: will you know the Bible better then than you know it here at the end of 2008?

In his book, The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, Roland Bainton writes of Ulrich Zwingli:

He was very much devoted to the humanists of his own day and especially to Erasmus, whose edition of the New Testament in Greek filled him with such enthusiasm that he memorized the entire Pauline corpus in the original (81).

I daresay that a pastor who followed Zwingli in such discipline might witness the kind of recovery of the gospel that Zwingli saw. Does the Bible–whether in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or English–fill you with that kind of enthusiasm?

If you’re daunted by the Pauline corpus, you might start with this handy week by week list of verses to memorize in 2009. By no means do I wish to turn anyone away from the challenge of the Pauline corpus in Greek, so if you plan to make a run at that, you could still use this list of verses at breakfast with your kids. If you do plan to attempt longer passages of Scripture, here are some tips from Andy Davis, pastor of FBC Durham, NC.

I almost suggested that you seek the Lord on whether or not to memorize Scripture, but as I reflected on it, I don’t think that’s an issue you even need to pray about. The question is not whether to memorize the Bible but what parts to memorize and with whom.

Husbands and fathers, are you leading the way on this in the home? Pastors, are you leading your flock in this? Let’s hide the word in our hearts, and let’s help others hide in theirs too.

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.