Memorization & The WheelBy Dan Vis
October 17, 2022
If you have been active around FAST awhile, you probably know there are a couple things we emphasize a lot. One is Bible memorization. Another is the "Wheel". Today, I want to talk a bit about the connection between these two.
The "Wheel", for those not familiar with it, is one of the foundational illustrations in our Basic Training program. The outer rim represents our daily life. This is where the rubber hits the road, so to speak, in terms of our outward words and actions. The hub represents the power source, Christ at the core of our being. It's the Holy Spirit in the heart, that drives the forward motion in our life. But the key to getting power from the hub to the rim, is the spokes.
“The secret to getting power from the hub to the rim in the Christian life, are the spokes of personal discipleship.”
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These spokes represent the basic disciplines of discipleship. Most of these can be organized into four main categories: prayer, Bible study, obedience, and witnessing. To live a vibrant, Spirit-filled life, one must cultivate balanced growth in each of these spokes. It also just so happens these spokes represent four of the biggest reasons to memorize!
While aspects of prayer can be mysterious at times, a few things are clear. First, the internalization of Scripture is connected with answered prayer. Jesus made this point explicitly, when talking to the disciples just before his arrest and crucifixion: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.). One reason for this connection is that faith is a condition to answered prayer, and genuine faith must be rooted in Scripture.
Abraham, for example "staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith" (Romans 4:20He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;). He was "fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform" (Romans 4:21And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.). To put it differently, faith is not simply believing God will do what we want. It is believing He will do what He has said in His Word.
If you want to become more powerful in prayer, begin linking specific promises to your requests. Better yet, memorize those promises, and quote them back to God while you pray. Use the very language of Scripture when praying to God. Lay hold on the exact thing God has promised. It will strengthen your prayer life immensely.
While memorization could be considered a kind of Bible study, it is not a substitute for regular reading of the Scriptures, meditation, application, and careful study. Using good tools like a concordance to study out topics, or a lexicon to dig deep into the meanings of words is also important. And even prepared study guides, like those available through FAST, can help you get a firmer grip on the teachings of the Bible. We need all the above!
But memorization is foundational to these approaches in two important ways. First, it helps us remember key lessons God teaches through our reading or study. The Old Testament is clear, God does not want us to forget what He says: "take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life" (Deuteronomy 4:9Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons;). The New Testament puts it this way, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Hebrews 2:1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.). When God illuminates some verse, gather up the light, and store it in the tables of your heart!
Do this faithfully, and you will soon discover the second thing memorization does. Verses start popping into your mind when reading, studying, listening to a sermon, meditating on some verse, and other related activities. Connections are made. Things start to click. Actually, this is God's appointed way of teaching: "the Holy Ghost teacheth" according to Paul, by "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (I Corinthians 2:13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.). When Isaiah asked, "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?" the answer came back: "precept upon precept; line upon line, . . . here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:9-109 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:).
The human brain, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, will make amazing connections, and glean tremendous insights, in ways no computer ever will. Memorization accelerates this learning process dramatically, and then helps you remember what you learn. How vital!
A third key spoke on the disciple's wheel is living a life of obedience. This, of course, covers a wide range of areas: discerning God's will, resisting temptation, cultivating character, carrying out applications, time management, and more. Memorization can help with them all!
The Psalmist understood the connection. Repeatedly he emphasized the importance of memorization to obedience: "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalms 119:11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.) "I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me" (Psalms 119:93I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.) "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psalms 40:8I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.). He had personally discovered that the creative power in God's Word manifest at creation is still accessible today.
What the Psalmist discovered experientially, Peter taught explicitly. Through the "exceeding great and precious promises" of the Bible, we can become "partakers of the divine nature" and escape "the corruption that is in the world through lust" (II Peter 1:4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.). In fact, to quote Paul, this is righteousness by faith: "But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise . . . The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith" (Romans 10:6-86 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) 7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;). It is at the core of the New Covenant: "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them" (Hebrews 10:16This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;).
If you find yourself struggling to evict some besetting sin, or struggling to build some positive life change, why not bring the power of intentionally and systematically memorizing key commands and promises to bear on that specific issue? You may just discover memorization makes the difference!
Last but not least, learning to hide God's Word in our heart can have a powerful impact on our witness to the world. Peter urges us to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you" (I Peter 3:15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:). Part of that preparation is careful study: "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.). But it is not enough to know the answer to someone's question, we should also be able to answer with the Words of Scripture.
Note the two reasons God gave us Scripture outlined in this passage: "Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?" (Proverbs 22:20-2120 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, 21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?). One is to know truth for ourself. The other is to answer people’s questions with "the words of truth". Two verses earlier, Solomon explains how to to do this: "it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips" (Proverbs 22:18For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.).
The more we internalize Scripture, the more we can use it in sharing with others. And the more we use it, the more effective our sharing will be. John the Baptist, referring to Jesus, explained the secret to His power: "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him" (John 3:34For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.). If you want your witness to be filled with more of God's Spirit, seek to be filled with more of God's Word.
There's a close connection between Scripture memory, and the Disciples Wheel. Hiding God's Word in our heart, enriches all the key areas of discipleship: prayer, Bible study, obedience, and witnessing. It's a powerful foundation upon which to build a life of devotion to God. The benefits are incalculable!
“Hiding God's Word in our heart, enriches all key areas of discipleship: prayer, Bible study, obedience, and witnessing.”
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Of course, as I frequently explain in my seminars and workshops, the fact God commands us to memorize should be reason enough. A clear thus saith the Lord is enough whether the benefits are big or small, and whether we understand how it works or not. Still, knowing that Bible memorization is foundational to all the key disciplines of the Christian life can strengthen our commitment. It can also give us a clearer view of the kind of memorization experience we should seek.
We encourage you to make a determined effort to build both memorization, and all four spokes of the Wheel into your spiritual life.
CommentsWhich spokes of the wheel have been most benefited by memorization in your own life? Which spokes could grow more? Share your thoughts on this week's memo in the comments below...
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/26/23|
|Thanks again for another testimony of the power of the internalized Word to strengthen multiple areas of discipleship. Appreciate that Carlota!|
|Posted by Carlota Belmo on 01/26/23|
|I found that memorization of the scripture has really made a difference in my prayer, study, and obedience to God. I have observed how different I now approach God, in my devotional time with Him. I now direct specific prayer for myself as well as for others. I need the change. I pray asking that God would help me to hide His words in my heart that I may not sin against Him. Psalms 119:11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/23/23|
|That's a powerful summary Zewdi of some of the things that begin to happen once we get serious about memorizing the word. Thanks for the testimony affirming that!|
|Posted by Zewdi Isaac Enbom on 01/22/23|
|Dan Internalizing God's Word has enriched my walk with God. Once I understood the Word of God it helped me to obey His Word. II Corinthians 7:1Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.. My prayer life has also improved because I started claiming His promises. 2 Corinthian 1:20; Hebrews 6:12That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises..|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/21/23|
|I have that feeling also, when coming across well-known verses. Some I've know for decades--and there are all kinds of associations with them. So rich! Good post Louise.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/19/23|
|So much loved your comment Barbara. It is simple, and if we follow this plan it "daily works out a transformation in the life". Well put!
Of course I think you are already bubbling over. :)
As for your question in the last paragraph, yes--I definitely think that was a breakthrough insight from heaven! It reminds me of Deuteronomy 32:2My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:, which kind of goes right along with that...
Interesting story behind that verse, for another time...
|Posted by Dan Vis on 01/18/23|
|Thanks so much for sharing Sam! Let's pray God will find some receptive hearts in some of these churches!
Also, I should note I do know a bunch of good memorizers, in the Baptist church! :)
|Posted by Doug Schoch on 01/15/23|
|I think obedience has grown the most. And prayer needs more growth.|
|Posted by Barbara E. LaRose on 11/14/22|
|Being in the word definitely leads me to memorization. My main spoke that I’m working on is obedience. Being intentional in my prayer journal, morning watch.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/14/22|
|Very cool Mike! Keep pressing forward with the memorization. I know it completely revolutionized my preaching for example--which is study and witnessing combined. All the best! :)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/13/22|
|Your hope and courage are inspiring Deanne. I think you'll like the next lesson in Revival School, and the next class called ABC Witnessing...
Thanks for your testimony too Tonya! That's one of my wife's favorite verses as well. She shares it all the time. :)
Awesome Colette. I've found kids quite receptive to basic discipleship principles. The implementation (methods) have to be adapted. But the concepts are so simple they can grasp most of them quite intuitively.
We've got a great class on witnessing coming up Carlota! It's thrilling to hear how God is using you already though. :) Keep up the good work!
|Posted by Tonya Anspach on 11/12/22|
|My prayer life has grown considerably with the memorization of scripture. To be able to pray using God's own words makes a huge difference in my communication with Him. I feel closer to Him when I use His words during prayer. Memorizing Isaiah 26:3Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. has been a true calming force in my life. I have shared that verse with others many times.|
|Posted by Julio Useche on 11/09/22|
|For the last few years scripture memorization has been a constant in my life and has been a blessing in each spoke of the wheel, but I've noticed that I've not been consistant in all four spokes. At times I flourish at prayer, then later at bible study and sometimes at witnessing. Sometimes obedience is very constant and oh what joy that brings, but then I might let my own thoughts get ahead of me and I rely on self in my obedience, but God is good, His Word always brings me back to Himself! I need to learn to use all four spokes for a consistant fullness of God in my life!
Really loving those verses you mentioned from Proverbs 22. Coincidentally I just added Proverbs 22:20-2120 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, 21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? to my verse pack 2 days ago. I am now adding verses 17-19 that go with it. What great blessing to study and memorize God's holy Word!
|Posted by Dan Vis on 10/21/22|
|Thanks for a beautiful testimony Georgia. God's Word is so often. I appreciate you sharing the role it has played in your life. It's an encouragement to all of us!|
|Posted by Georgia Kenny on 10/21/22|
|I certainly can attest to this experience! I often tell people memorisation was the key that exploded my spiritual life. When you pray you know certain promises to claim, when you share you have promises to encourage or give direction, I have heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me through a verse when I’m uncertain about which way to go, and probably most noticeable to me is when I’m listening to a sermon or studying for myself that I have an “internal cross-reference system” that gives me deeper insights to what I just heard/read because another connecting verse pops into mind! It’s amazing what God wants to do for us if we obey His command to “let thine heart retain My words, keep My commandments” (Proverbs 4:4He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.). All glory to God 🙌🏼
I would like to grow, however, in Obedience and Prayer. Sometimes I’m not sure what promises to claim in prayer, and I’d like to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit so I can hear His voice clearly when I’m in danger of temptation or in need of guidance.
|Posted by Louise P on 10/20/22|
|Since adding Scripture to my Prayer Journal, verses have popped into my mind to encourage and strengthen - e.g. I was in a stressful situation, and as I kept repeating Philippians 4:7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus., I could feel God’s peace pouring in to calm me (I had previously memorised Philippians 4:7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus., so it was there when I needed it! Awesome God, Isaiah 65:24And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.!)|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/15/19|
|Can't wait for our new Breakout Memory Challenge class to get started. I've updated the content to match our new simplified memory engine, and made a few other tweaks to make it even easier for new members. Plus, I'll be integrating our new Memory Club for class participants who want to give that a try! Stay tuned for more announcements...|
|Posted by Linda Gerace on 02/25/18|
|@ALAVEN, I don't see where your question ("So does Isaiah 55:11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. apply to the literature that has been distributed even you are not sure the recipient has read it?") was answered. I'd like to share this. I have heard stories of people pulling tracts out of a trashcan, or picking them up off of the street, reading them and eventually being converted by the gospel message.
Just a few verses prior to verse 11, the Bible says "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,nor are your ways My ways... So are my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." The word that goes out from God's mouth has creative power... it has power to make something out of nothing, power to heal, power to destroy. His word will accomplish what He pleases and prosper because of the inherent power in it. By whatever means - someone picking up a tract that another person threw away, or however- His word will prosper in that for which He sent it. We don't always understand it- if we did we would be God, or we'd be like Him. But we do know that His word is like the rain and snow coming down and watering the earth, bringing forth life and bread to the eater. Even if the person you gave literature to never reads it, God may still use that book or tract to reach another person. Because His word will go forth like the rain and snow watering the earth.
I hope that is not confusing and helps to explain my understanding of Isaiah 55:11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it., which I believe is a Biblical understanding. Anyone else with other comments, I'd be happy to hear and learn from their comments.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 02/16/18|
|I like it Qing! Will have to quote you somewhere... :)
Glad we can provide a one stop shop for all your needs Patricia! If there's ever something you need that we don't have, ask, and we may be able to add it...
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