Thursday, May 26, 2005

New Scripture Memory System

In my view, the most accurate and readable translation available today is the English Standard Version (ESV), published by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. In recent months they have been producing relatively inexpensive Bibles that are geared toward those who are new to the Bible. Last week they published a paperback Truth edition, explaining what truth is and offering some supplemental material to help the reader.

I had the privilege of working with Crossway on this material, providing some early drafts for them. Stephen Smith of the ESV Blog asked if I would post about the Scripture memory program (entitled “Treasuring God’s Truth in Your Heart”) I developed for use in this edition.

There’s nothing fancy about it. It is simply 52 Bible passages, one for each week of the year. Each passage has a corresponding “truth,” providing a broad overview of some key topics of theology. For example, for each of the first 18 weeks you memorize an attribute of God. In week 19, you memorize a verse on the Trinity. Weeks 20-22 cover Christ’s threefold office. Weeks 23-28 deal with six attributes of Scripture. Weeks 29-41 cover salvation, weeks 42-45 deal with end times and eternity, and weeks 46-49 deal with the church. Week 50 is on the New Covenant, week 51 is on the Great Commandments, and week 52 is on the Great Commission.

If one were to commit to this modest program—just one passage a week—you would not only have 52 Bible passages memorized, but you would also have a wonderful overview of the Christian faith.

If you think you lack the motivation or the time or the ability to do this, consider this challenge from John Piper:

You may doubt that you can do this, especially if you are older. But ask yourself this question, If I offered you $1,000 for every verse you memorized in the next week, how many do you think you could memorize? Yet God says of his word in Psalm 19:10-11, "They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward." The real value of the word is far greater than $1,000 a verse. The question is, Do you believe this? Believing this will be the crucial motivation you need.

The ESV Blog is setting up an RSS feed if you want to follow this program online. It will be live tomorrow morning.