Wednesday, September 3, 2008

By the Grace of God When I Woke Up This Morning, I...

...recited Ephesians 1 from memory.  (Full disclosure: I did have 3-4 minor word errors that I need to work on.)

Several years ago, I read The Heavenly Man, which is the testimony of Brother Yun, one of the leaders in the Chinese house church movement.  During one of several imprisonments, Brother Yun memorized the gospel of Matthew.  I remember reading that and thinking how amazing that was.  Not several verses, or a single chapter, or the Sermon on the Mount, but the entire gospel. 

So I decided that I should attempt the same.  

I chose the gospel of John, which is shorter by six chapters than Matthew and is my favorite book of the Bible.  I slowly memorized to halfway through chapter 2 and then stopped.  (Right here my sinful pride requires me to remark that chapter 1 is FIFTY verses long.  Don't want anyone thinking I'm a slacker.)  I didn't decide to just quit one day, but I went from working on it every day to working on it every other day to working on it now and then until I realized that I really wasn't memorizing anything anymore and was actually starting to forget parts that I had memorized.

I understand that a man who is a respected Christian leader in China and has suffered for the cause of Christ has a level of spiritual depth and maturity far beyond anything I possess.  He could be expected to succeed where I failed.  Yet his story inspired me and I really had hoped to be able to accomplish something so audacious as memorizing an entire book of the Bible.

Then, several months ago, Lea introduced me to Janet Pope's His Word in My Heart: Memorizing Scripture for a Closer Walk with God.  Janet Pope was inspired by a woman at a Beth Moore conference who recited the entire book of Colossians from memory.  Her book lays out a method for slowly memorizing longer and longer portions of Scripture up to entire books.  She also gives suggestions for reviewing memorized Scripture so that all of the work put into memorizing is not lost through later neglect.  

Now I had three examples: Brother Yun (way out of my spiritual league), Janet Pope (closer, but still up there with a published Christian book and all), and nameless Beth Moore lady.  Maybe with a plan I could memorize an entire book of the Bible.  I decided to try again with something a bit shorter and started with the book of Ephesians memorizing a verse a day.  At the beginning of summer I was up to Ephesians 1:12.  

When Lea started September to Remember, I was still in chapter 1 and had made my way to verse 21.  That verse a day thing was seriously slipping.  September to Remember seemed like the perfect opportunity to throw some accountability on my memorization plan by making it public.  So my September to Remember theme is remembering (AKA memorizing) the book of Ephesians.  

September should take me through chapter 2 and then I'll probably need "October, November, December, and January to Remember" to finish Ephesians' six chapters.  I'm more of a hare than a tortoise type of person, so this is a little scary for me, especially the public part.  And I tend to try to do things in my own power, not Christ's, and then take the glory for myself while faking being humble, so I guess in September I'll be trying to remember to work on that too.


lea said...

i am still working on romans 8 BUT the working on it is slowly changing my focus, my thoughts, my life... it is truly INCREDIBLE what memorizing Scripture will do to your mind and your heart. there is nothing even close....

mamajil said...

I am impressed!!What a great opportunity to use the Remember in September to "remember" the Word, very cool! Thanks for including me in the blog roll

Meg in Tally said...

Wow! You're being incredibly transparent with the accountability thing...and all the working on being truly humble thing... Surely we can all learn a lesson here!

BTW, do you REALLY not know who Beth Moore is?

Lori said...

Meg in Tally, I guess I wasn't clear, yes I do know who Beth Moore is and have couple of filled in workbooks to prove it (well, mostly filled in).

Janet Pope (the author of the scripture memory book) went to a Beth Moore event, and during the event a woman (whose name Janet Pope can't remember, but it wasn't Beth Moore) recited the book of Colossians. That event inspired Janet Pope to begin memorizing LONG passages of Scripture and write her book.

Mamajil, please don't be too impressed with me. My theme seemed like an easy way to write really short posts everyday and earn some blackberry grits. (And I don't even have to come up with the wording for at least half of each of my very short posts.)

Ann Kroeker said...

I found your post while looking for some memorization inspiration to share with those who are participating in Mega Memory Month (MMM) at my blog.

I had a similar experience--inspired by several people who could recite entire books of the Bible.

My goal is John 14. There's still a bit of October left. I'm about halfway through. I'm going to keep plugging with my various techniques, but I keep hearing about Janet Pope's book. I need to get a copy of it.