Thursday, January 2, 2014

Memorization and Maturation

I recently wrote an article for the Evangelical Missions Quarterly on the role that scripture memorization can play in the process of maturing Christian leaders.  I'll paste a short snippet from the piece below.  
"Our small group settled into the shade of the acacia trees in front of my house. It was a day of celebration: the eleven of us had spent the last few months memorizing the book of Titus together and this was the final session. Going around the circle, some of the men were able to quote Titus almost flawlessly, while others struggled making it through even that day’s passage.  Members of the group had memorized Paul’s epistle in three different languages (Portuguese, Swahili, and Makua-Metto), using a total of five different translations.

After celebrating our accomplishment with heaping plates of goat meat curry, potatoes, and rice, each person took a turn sharing which verses were the most significant to him. Some felt challenged by Paul’s exhortation to teach, others saw strong similarities between their own local setting and the morally corrupt atmosphere of Crete, while another expressed admiration for the way Paul addressed his apprentice: unabashedly exhorting and instructing Titus while at the same time tenderly expressing his love for the young man. 
From the time of Moses, God has challenged his people to keep his commandments upon their hearts. This tradition carried on into the time of Christ.  From our knowledge of Jewish culture and in studying Jesus’ own teaching and preaching, it is clear that our Rabbi had large portions of scripture committed to memory.  He used scripture to rebuke Satan while being tested in the wilderness, and the Psalms were some of the last words he spoke before finishing his work on the cross. 

While memorization of scripture has been an expectation of followers of Jesus for most of church history, the West has seen a serious decline in its use and appreciation in the last few decades..."
If you're interested in reading more, and have a subscription to EMQ :) , you can read the rest of the article here.

Grace and Peace,

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