Unto My Path
By Paula Marolewski
“For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son . . .”
You can hear the words in your mind. The voices of little children
chanting John 3:16. Maybe it was in Sunday School; maybe in Vacation
Bible School. Maybe you have reflected with a bit of wistfulness, “I
remember when I could quote . . .” Maybe you never had the
That was then. This is now. The childhood years are past. You
are an adult: you have a family, a spouse, a job. You have hobbies,
recreation, social gatherings, and various board meetings. When
someone mentions the word “memorize,” you cringe. You
don’t have the time; you don’t have the energy. And,
deep down in your heart, you might also be thinking, “It’s
not that important, anyway.”
It’s not that important: “Your word is a lamp to my
feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105, NAS).
It’s not that important: “Your word I have treasured
in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11,
It’s not that important: “Heaven and earth will pass
away, but My words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35, NAS).
It’s not that important: “Man shall not live on bread
alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew
The Bible is called the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians
6:17, NAS) – the only weapon we are given with which to fight
the enemy. It is our comfort, our shelter, and our refuge. It is
where we must turn if we are to combat sin, temptation, heresy,
and evil. It is for our instruction, encouragement, rebuke, exhortation,
and discipline. It is our joy, our song, our meditation, our contemplation.
It is food for the soul and a challenge to our minds. It is history,
symbol, theme, revelation, story, song, and prophecy.
It is the nearest thing to a physical touch from God that we will
have this side of heaven.
Very well, then. So we tack up index cards with a verse or two,
read it for a week while shaving or doing our hair, change it,
put up another … and we find we can’t remember what
we memorized a month ago, and we have no sense of accomplishment.
So, in dejection, we stop entirely. Better not to try, we reason,
than to fail so continually.
Better to try again, and try new. The most effective way I have
found to memorize Scripture is to apply minimal actual effort,
but a maximum amount of long-term time. Theoretically, I could
memorize a verse every week if I tried hard enough. I would forget
it within a few weeks, too. Therefore, I don’t try to memorize
verses or passages. Not directly.
Instead, I take a verse each week. I write it down (or type it
up). Then I read it once a day. Just read it. Then put it away.
I don’t try to memorize it. Not at all. The next day I read
it again. And put it away. And so on and so forth. Each week, I
add another verse. And I keep reading all of them once a day. Adding
one by one; reading them over once every day.
It may take me two or three months before I can stumble my way
through a verse without looking at it. But it comes. Slowly, it
And it stays. It may take two or three months to learn a verse,
but years later, I can effortlessly call them forth from my memory.
One of the keys is not to stop reading a verse once a day even
after you have learned it completely. Keep reading it. Only “retire” a
verse off your list when your list becomes too long to read once
a day or once every other day easily. By then (after what – six?
eight? months) you will have learned that verse so well that it
will be a part of you – body, mind, and soul.
The keys to memorization are simple: repetition, regularity, and
You will find that Scripture wends its way into your prayers without
your even realizing it. It becomes the song on your lips. It leaps
forth as an instant defense when your faith is attacked. It comforts
your sleep, guides your mind, disciplines your life, and draws
your thoughts constantly to God alone.
Then it is that you will find the truth of the Psalms:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
© 2001 Paula Marolewski
Article Source: http://www.sinkyourroots.com
About the Author:
Paula J. Marolewski provides challenging and interactive adult Bible
studies for individuals, Bible studies, small groups, and adult Sunday School
classes at Sink Your Roots. Studies
include such topics as Debunking
the Myths about Knowing God's Will. The site also offers free weekly Seedlings - “Little
thoughts that grow big results.”