I enjoy memorizing Scripture, and since I’ve been asked this a few times, I thought it would be useful to share on here.

My memorization system is built around doing certain activities at certain periods of time. The most basic thing is that I memorize two chapters per week. Now, if a chapter is very long (like Mark 14), I’ll spend the full week on it. On the other hand, if it’s short, I may do three in one week (like 1 Peter 3-5).  I determine “long” and “short” chapters by how many verses it’ll be per day.


Six Month Plan

I maintain a six month plan of what I’ll be memorizing, at a granularity of what chapters I’ll memorize each week.


Each month, I read through the New Testament. This takes about 30 minutes per day, and is a daily tasks (see below).


Each week, I recite everything that I have memorized. I also read through everything I have memorized to keep it “fresh”; this is spaced so that I read a passage about midway between recitations of that passage. Both of these are daily tasks (see below).

I also have a weekly goal of memorizing two chapters. Again, it may rarely be one or three chapters depending on length, but I stick to 2. I decide to increase/decrease based on what the number of verses will be per day; I try to keep it between 6 and 18. It usually falls around 10.

Daily Tasks

First, I memorize a certain number of verses depending on what my chapters are.  I memorize that passage one verse at a time, with and then building on that. So I say verse 1 over and over, then 2, the vv1-2 twice, then 3, then vv1-3 twice, etc. Once I have the entire passage, I recite it every 30 minutes for two hours. After that, I recite it every hour on the hour. So, with memorizing it by 6am (my goal), I’ll recite at 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30, 8, 9, 10, 11, noon, etc.; until I go to bed.

I also use www.memverse.com to help with memorization. Their website can tell you more, but basically it quizzes me periodically on what I have memorized, and I grade how well I remembered. Based on the grade, it increases or decreases the frequency of quizzing. It’s great at catching little mistake that creep in without you realizing it. I do a review each evening.

Additionally, each day, I recite whatever book or section I’m memorizing out of. I recite up to that day’s memorization, and then read the rest.

I also read a New Testament passage as part of my Reading the Bible in a Year plan. When I’m in the Old Testament, I supplement with a Read the New Testament in One Month (RNTOM) reading.

I also recite one section of what I have memorized. When I first started, that was one book at a time. As I’ve memorized more, I’ve shifted to doing one section based on the RNTOM sections, so about 1/30th per day. I then grade myself based on how I did, and note any sections I need to pay attention to in the memorized book reading.

I also read either one section that I have memorized, or the “Next book” I’ll do. This is when I review sections I had trouble with.

I also do the RNTOM unless I’m already doing so with my Reading in a Year plan.


Here’s the breakdown of my daily tasks for this week. My weekly goal is to memorize 1 John 4-5.

Week of November 30 - December 6

DayDaily MemorizationMemverse PracticeMemorization Book ReadingDaily Bible ReadingRecitation PracticeMemorized Book ReadingNew Testament Reading *
Sunday Nov. 301 John 4:1-61 John1 Corinthians 9-11Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)1 Peter (future memorization)Revelation 12-22
Monday Dec. 11 John 4:7-121 John1 Corinthians 12-141 Timothy, 2 Timothy, TitusMark 1-9Luke 1-5
Tuesday Dec. 21 John 4:13-181 John1 Corinthians 15-16Ephesians, PhilippiansMark 10-16Luke 6-11
Wednesday Dec. 31 John 4:19 - 5:31 John2 Corinthians 1-4Hebrews1 & 2 Timothy, TitusLuke 12-18
Thursday Dec. 41 John 5:4-91 John2 Corinthians 5-6Mark 1-9Ephesians, PhilippiansLuke 19-24
Friday Dec. 51 John 5:10-151 John2 Corinthians 9-13Mark 10-16HebrewsActs 1-7
Saturday Dec. 61 John 5:16-211 JohnGalatians 1-4Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)2 Peter (future memorization)Acts 8-14
Daily tasks to memorize 1 John 4-5, practice what I have already memorized, and prepare for future memorization.

* To read the New Testament in one month, and if Daily Bible Reading is not from New Testament


How Long Does it Take?

I keep track of this and have 30 weeks worth to look back on.

The Daily Memorization & Memverse practice takes around an hour (but spread out in about 30-40 second chunks, plus a larger one at first when I memorize, and another large one when I review on Memverse.

The Memorization Book Reading takes between 30 minutes (mainly reading) to an hour (mainly reciting).

The Daily Bible Reading takes about 15 minutes (plus another 15 for notes I take).

The Recitation Practice takes right at 30 minutes.

The Reading/Review takes about 30 minutes.

This adds up to about 3-3.5 hours per day, and averages to about 24 hours per week.

It’s time well spent.

14. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: God · Tags: ,

Ephesians 6:10-20

I was struck today while looking at this passage at lunch that it tells a narrative on evangelism. The passage opens with a reminder that equip oneself with the armor of God, so that you will be able to resist Satan’s attacks as we wage warfare against the devil and his demons.

The Belt of Truth

“How will I know what to say? What’s the right thing to do? Why should anyone listen to me? Is what I’m saying really true and worth it?”

What good is any discussion, thinking, learning, or relationship without truth? It’s fundamental to holding things together in a coherent fashion. Rejecting truth leads to moral anarchy; rejecting truth leads to “might makes right”; rejecting truth leads to people doing whatever they want in the moment. Without truth holding you together, you will not be an effective evangelist, Christian, follower of God, or anything. You will reject God’s truth and replace it with your own.

Instead, be confident in the truth of God. It will hold all that we do together, and by relying on the truth expressed in his Word, we can settle any difference – either by pointing to the Scripture that addresses it, or dismissing the things that Just Don’t Matter.

The Breastplate of Righteousness

“How much does my lifestyle matter? If I start acting ‘Christian’, won’t I look weird? Shouldn’t I try to blend in more? Does this little sin in my life really matter?”

The Christian isn’t told to wear a suit of armor, or a coat of mail, but just a breastplate. A breastplate is only effective in the front – if one turns one’s back on the enemy, there’s no protection. Righteousness is only effective when we’re facing the enemy, marching towards him, and obeying Jesus’s call to “go into all the world.” And indeed, when a Christian looks no different in life than anyone else, why should anyone listen to him or her? If the gospel is a personal relationship with God, shouldn’t that relationship change your life? If your life is not marked by the righteousness of God, in a real way that stands out from the crowd – again, how effective can you possible be? You’re no different!

As Shoes for your feet, the Readiness Given by the Gospel of Peace

“But how will I know when I’m ready to evangelize? I don’t know enough – what if they point out something in the bible I don’t have an answer for? I’m not educated enough – surely evangelism is for learned men – preachers and so forth. I just don’t really feel like I’m ready or far enough along in my own faith yet.”

Rubbish. The only readiness we need is the Gospel of Peace – the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Lord; that “he was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.” “And by faith in his name, you will be saved!”

If you’re a baptized believer – and that’s really the only kind – you’re ready.

The Helmet of Salvation

“Is it really worth it? The unusual life. Rejecting temptation. Leaving behind my old life. What’s the point?”

Keep your eyes on Christ. He has promised us salvation, and we know that “he who promised is faithful.”  Why should we resist temptation? How? By remembering the salvation we have in Christ – that’s a motivator when we find ourselves struggling: not out of fear that we’ll lose it (“fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love”), but out of deep, abiding appreciation and love for Christ and what he has already done for, and promised to, us – “we love, because he first loved us.” That’s our motivator to resist temptation and to “reassure our heart before him, for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. If our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”  Christ died for us; we didn’t die for ourselves. The promise of Salvation is motivation.

The Shield of Faith

“I’m still worried about the onslaughts of Satan. How can I resist temptation? I yielded to it already – am I lost now?”

Like the Helmet of Salvation, we resist Satan’s attacks by remember who, and whose, we are. We’re the apex of God’s creation. We’re faithful servants of the king of Creation. And we are Children of the Living God. Why on earth would we mock those things for a silly temptation?

The Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God

“Okay, fine. How do I fight back and smite these heretics? What do I use to do it – Crusades? Bombings? Fisticuffs? My superior intellect? Hermeneutics? Apologetics? Logic? Science? Ignorance? The voting booth? Money?”

The only offensive weapon we have – isn’t really up to us to use. It’s God himself, in the Spirit. It’s God’s Word. Even Christ, in his temptation in the wilderness, only used God’s word to fight Satan – that should be encouraging to us, since we have the same tool. This is why it’s so critical to spend time in God’s word – not just because it’s Truth that guides us, but because it’s the only weapon we have. Of course, the caveat is found in the beginning of the passage. While many Christians have lived dishonorably by beating enemies over the head with warped and twisted Scriptures, Paul reminds us that we’re not at war with people – not with non-believers, not with opponents of Christianity, not with atheists, not with heretics, not with blasphemers, not with “straying brethren”, not with those who have different doctrines/beliefs/creeds/teachings than our own – not with any human on earth. We wrestle against “the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” So, in our dealings with other humans, remember Paul’s words to Timothy in his Second Letter: we have a spirit of “Power, Love, and Self-Control” – one marked by confidence, yes, but also love for those we address, and not marked by flashes of anger. And we must remember that “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, and correcting his opponents with gentleness.”


As we wage war against Satan, our lives are marked by the Truth of God’s word, which focuses and guides us. As believers in Christ, we’re already equipped from the second of salvation to evangelize. And so we go forth into the world to make disciples, with lives marked with righteous and holy living.  When we come under attack, we remember Christ and the salvation we have through him, and we remember that our Daddy is the Creator and Ruler of All That Is.  And when we fight back, we let God do the real fighting for us – with his word, we trust his Spirit in us to do what needs to be done.

02. November 2014 · Write a comment · Categories: God · Tags:

Obedience to the letter of the law can lead to disobedience to the spirit of the law. Mark 2:23-3:6 gives us two instances of Christ’s early conflicts with the religious authorities over this issue.

In the first passage (Mark 2:23-28), the disciples are plucking grain and eating it on a Sabbath. In the second (Mark 3:1-6), a man with a withered hand is in the Synagogue – perhaps a trap by the Pharisees? – and Jesus heals him. Both of these acts are labeled “working on the Sabbath” by the Pharisees.

In the first passage, the Pharisees’ interpretation is “honoring the Sabbath means self-harm (going hungry and needy instead of eating).” In the second narrative, the Pharisees believe “honoring the Sabbath means harm to others.”

(Of course, both times, the Pharisees are only forcing their interpretation on OTHERS… Luke 11:46)

How often are we like the Pharisees – so focused on obedience that it leads to harm, contrary to God’s will for us in the very passage we seek to obey?

It can take many forms: an isolated devotion to self-righteousness that excludes any evangelistic relationship with others. A heavy focus on “proper” worship and living such that outsiders are kept away*. Or even forms harder to identify: losing sight of the joy of being a child of God because of an improper focus on obedience (more on that another time).

And it need not be so legalistic, either. There are those who preach an ‘easy’ gospel, one of universal salvation and an idolatrous view of God where his love lacks justice. Those who believe God’s love means that they can do whatever they want, free of consequence. They will face a sad moment: crying, “Lord, Lord,” they are answered with “I never knew you – depart from me.” Lasting harm.

I’m not arguing against self-discipline (fasting, abstaining from the world, etc.), or against holding one another accountable. Neglecting those are just as harmful. But when we’re discussing obedience to a passage, we need to make sure we’re living a letter that is in harmony with the spirit of the revelation of a God who saved us, “not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy…so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.”

Fortunately, in these very passages Christ gives us the solution: God’s word is always for our own good, not harm; and we should seek and save the lost, regardless of what others think of our methods (provided those methods aren’t sinful). If we find our interpretation deviating from this – we’re wrong.

* I don’t mean, of course, that proper worship and living are unimportant – they’re critical. But as the Pharisees show, when it becomes the focus of our life, rather than a tool in our service to the Focus, it’s another idol. See Mark 2:15-17 for an example of the religious authorities missing this: the Holy and Righteous Son of God still got his hands dirty.