"How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word."
So many times I have recited this passage of Scripture. I have treasured it in my heart and whispered it aloud over and over. The words amaze me, they make me wonder.
It is evident in this passage the love that the psalmist has for God's Word! He is passionate about it and he delights in it! He has hidden the words in his heart.
And it makes me wonder if I am just as passionate about the Word of God and hiding it in my heart.
For five years I participated in the National Bible Bee. It was a journey that completely changed my life in every way. The Bible Bee gave me a passion for studying and memorizing God's Word. I memorized more passages of Scripture than I had ever thought possible.
Before I go into my "Bible Bee speech" and explain all the reasons why I think you should sign up this year if you're between the ages of 7-18, I want to share with you some memorization tips that I have gained over the past five years studying for Bible Bee. ;)
Honestly, when memorizing I just use rote memorization, simply repeating a phrase over and over aloud until I can recite it without looking. I continue to do this until I have the whole passage memorized. Not many other memorization methods have worked for me, but this one does! In 2014 for Bible Bee there were many shorter passages to memorize from the same Bible book. This got quite confusing and I struggled with keeping the verses apart. So I attempted something different and I drew pictures (Even though drawing is not my strength, haha) that matched each verse, writing the reference above the picture. This helped me to be able to know the passages apart and quote them with more ease. I also associate my verses with certain places or things. If the verse reminded me of a song I loved or a place I had been to, I would associate that with the verse to help me remember it.
And when memorizing for Bible Bee, you have such a massive amount of verses to memorize that it's important and sometimes necessary to memorize anywhere and everywhere! I've memorized passages of Scripture in the dentist office before. :) Memorizing in unique places also helped me to remember the passages better as well.
My very dear friend, Rachel, a fellow Bible Bee contestant, recently shared with me her thoughts on memorizing and she shared these important tips to remember: "In order to memorize, you have to make a conscience decision to memorize. It's not going to happen if you just say you want to memorize. You must actively try. Is memorizing easy? No. But it does get easier the more you do it."
She went on to share: "Just start somewhere! Where, you may ask? You can start anywhere you'd like! But if you need suggestions, Matthew 5, 6, and 7, and Romans 6, 7, and 8 are good passages. Also Isaiah 53, 1 Corinthians 13, and John 3:1-21. Your options are almost limitless...just choose something and go for it!"
I couldn't agree with her more. During Bible Bee I have the encouragement of the competition to memorize a certain amount of verses in a certain amount of time. I also have all of the verses given to me on my verse cards. It makes it much easier for me. But when Bible Bee is over for the year or now that I am Alumni, it can be much more difficult to keep up with my verses. I have the goal of wanting to memorize, but I can tend to just talk about it and not actually start anywhere. Choosing a passage and just diving in and memorizing it is all you need to do!
I found during Bible Bee season and when I was not competing, that is was very helpful for me to make a to-do list or set a goal for the day, week, or month. If I did that, I had more of a structured goal to aim for. Rachel shared some of the same insights: "Set goals for yourself. Maybe that goal is just one verse a week. That may seem like not very much, but think about it...by the end of the year, that would be 52 verses. The average length of a chapter is about half of that, so in a year you could memorize two whole chapters! Think about the riches you could gain from meditating on those 52 verses! Maybe you want to set your sights higher. Even if you did just 4 verses a week, in one year, you would have memorized over 200 verses! That's a whole book! The book of 1 John is just 105 verses, as well as 1 Peter. By memorizing just 4 verses a week, you could have two entire books of the Bible memorized in one year."
One of my biggest struggles is keeping up with reviewing all the verses I memorized after Bible Bee is over for the year. I memorize so many beautiful passages of Scripture during Bible Bee, but then don't always take the time to review them and keep them in my memory. I've found that it's helpful to take even just three or four of the passages I've memorized for Bible Bee and review them each week. Rachel shared with me this about review: "Memorizing the verse is just half of it. Reviewing your memorized verses is also extremely important. I have memorized a verse, and then the next day or week try to recite it again, but I can't! That's really discouraging. But if you are diligent in reviewing your verses, especially the first couple days after memorizing, they are much more likely to stick."
I've heard a lot of people tell me they don't think they can memorize Scripture because they just don't have that "skill." But I strongly disagree. I truly believe every single one of us has the ability to memorize God's Word and hide it in our hearts. When we have the words of God, the very breath and thoughts of God, in our hearts, that changes things. It changes us. It changes the way that we live and people start to wonder why we're so different, giving us the opportunity to share our faith with the world.
There have been so many times in my life where I have needed encouragement or verses to help me in a situation and verses that I have memorized come back to me at those times. In August 2015, I was taken to the hospital because I had severe food poisoning and was terribly dehydrated. I couldn't even lift my head and was hardly even able to respond to the paramedics questions. During this entire time, a verse I had only recently memorized for Bible Bee kept coming back to me over and over. "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." ~Psalm 18:32. I recited this verse in my head over and over and I drew my strength from it. What an encouragement it was to have that verse memorized when I needed it most!
So I encourage you today to memorize and hide God's Word in your heart so you can confidently say with the psalmist, "I will delight myself in Your statutes, I will not forget Your Word!"
Oh, and if you're interested in signing up for Bible Bee this year, go on over to www.biblebee.org. It will change your life, I promise. :)
To God be the glory.
Isabella Morganthal (20) is a homeschool high school graduate who loves Jesus with all of her heart. She is a drummer, writer, creative arts director, and modern-day abolitionist.