AFM missionaries know the value of hiding God’s Word in their hearts (Psalm 119:11-18) and teach this value to those with whom they study. If fact, Jesus commands us to teach others all we have learned from Him and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:16-20). Peter and Paul also encourage us to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within our hearts
(1 Peter 3:15) and to rightly divide (understand and handle) the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
When we speak to others, we should do so “with great patience and careful instruction” and “with gentleness and respect,” as the apostles Peter and Paul tell us in 1 Peter 3:15 and 2 Timothy 4:2. Memorizing scriptures helps us grow spiritually and minimizes instances when—out of fear, nervousness, or stumbling over partially familiar verses—we speak harshly or become impatient. Being well-prepared gives us better control over our emotions and tongue—words of gold in pictures of silver.
With this godly counsel in mind, during our morning worship one week, our office focused on memorizing scriptures of our choice. John Baxter introduced a memorization method of writing down the first letter of each word of the verse(s) one wants to learn, then using those letters as prompts in reciting them.1 Here is a simple example:
F G S L T W T H G H O B S T W B I H S N P B H E L.
You know the verse. Try it! (Hint: 3:16)
Once memorized, take it a step further—share! Committing verses to memory helps us to nurture others. Roger, a Christian believer in a Muslim society, regularly shares his convictions and the joy of being a follower of Christ with family, friends, tourists and others needing encouragement (Martinson p. 20).
May we each commit to hiding the word of God in our hearts in 2023.
1Tip: The website https://biblememory.com (and phone app) lets you create categories to store and memorize verses using the above method. There are many methods people use to memorize scripture, of which this is one.