Memorizing James: Learning the Art of Biblical Meditation

10.20.2014


I often write about the difficulties and challenges I face as a mom of three little ones. Some are unique to me and my family (like the time my kids locked me out of the house while I was chasing chickens in our backyard). However, I think most of what I write about, the stuff that really matters, is the kind of stuff we can all relate to in one way or another. That's why this topic is so important to me. Because I think as some point we all struggle making time for Bible Study. 

That's been me for the best 6 months or so. In fact if I'm honest with you, my Bible reading plan fizzled out sometime in March (when I birthed my third human being and become 17x times busier). 

It wasn't just a lack of time, but also a lack of focus and motivation. I started to feel like I would read and read and never really get anywhere. I usually do my Bible Study while the kids are napping which means the time I have varies greatly day-to-day, and it never fails that just as I start to really get into a passage someone wakes up crying ending my time in the Word and leaving me just wanting more. 

I was frustrated, and I felt guilty about spending so much time reading and never really feeling connected. 

Then my husband had this idea a few months ago to memorize the book of James together. Yes. The WHOLE book. We've memorized scripture verses together in the past, but this project was much bigger than any we'd undertaken before. 

I was reluctant and honeslty didn't think I'd ever actually finish. If I didn't have time to really read my Bible, how would I have time to memorize it? 

But I followed him. I committed myself to working on a couple new verses everyday. I said what I knew aloud to myself in the shower. I practiced during the day caring for my kids. My husband and I quizzed each other to pass the time on long car trips. 

The focus of my devotional time went from just reading and studying scripture to meditating on it, and I loved it! 

As I returned to the same passage day after day, week after week, I found that I was learning more and connecting to the text far more than I ever did when I was constantly reading. Instead of skimming the surface and moving on, I found myself repeatedly returning to a well that never runs dry. It is still amazing that even after having memorized the entire book over a month ago, I'm still learning new things about the text. 

The big picture and the small details all become clearer as I spend more time meditating on the verses in context. It's not just about memorizing but internalizing the lessons.  The time of intense focus on one passage of scripture has pulled me so much deeper into my understanding of scripture and breathed new life into my relationship with God.

It took us a month to memorize the entire book. It was fast, but I was motivated! And when I was officially done with James (I'll never really be done. I love it!), I instantly started devoring other books of scripture. With the Book of James always playing in the background of my mind, I saw the writings of Peter and Paul with new eyes and new understanding and new questions! 

As a busy mom of little ones, my life is unpredictable, and the time I have to be still and quiet, Bible open in my lap is hit or miss somedays. But now I never miss that precious time I spend in the Word. I repeat those chapters I know slowly in my head while I do laundry, drive, or make dinner and I meditate on them as I think about ways they apply to my life and my salvation. 

And the number of chapters I know is still growing! As I write this I have my Bible open to 1 Peter 2, stealing a second glance at my verses for today before heading off to make lunch. My hands may be busy and my kitchen full of chaos, but my heart and my mind belong to Jesus. 

Have you ever memorized a book of the Bible? Which book? How did it change the way you view scripture and Bible study.

1 comment:

  1. Can you share how exactly you memorized the whole book? What was your technique?

    ReplyDelete

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