Today's activity – Memorize the key verse in next week's Bible study lesson.
A common complaint I hear from both teachers and learners when it comes to their Sunday School curriculum is: "It's not deep enough". Everyone wants their Bible study to be deep. I want to share an idea with you that will bring depth to your teaching that no curriculum can provide.
First, we need to understand that the people in your group look to you for the application of God's Word in a personal way. In other words, they want to see the gospel personified in you. One of the most valuable things that you can do to help your people know that you take the role of Bible teacher seriously is to memorize it. Now I am not advancing that each Sunday you "show off" for your group with all the verses you have memorized. But I am encouraging you to memorize the key verse in each week's study.
Memorizing the key verse (or if you want a challenge – memorize the key passage) helps you internalize the verse. Your find yourself dwelling on it during the week as you are driving to work, or enjoying a cup of coffee. Suddenly, you start seeing applications of the verse during the week, applications that the Spirit will use to help you communicate the truth with your group each week.
Here are some simple suggestions to help you memorize God's word:
- Start early in the week. Don't wait until Saturday night to try to memorize the verse.
- Memorize the verse "word perfect". This habit will keep you from making up words and changing the meaning of what the verse means.
- Memorize the reference! Saying, "Somewhere in the Bible it says…" is very poor.
- Write the verse out during your daily time with God. Writing something is more effective than repeating it in your mind.
- Practice saying the verse out loud, and say it often. Audibly quote the verse in your car, or while you are getting ready in the morning. Speaking the verse out loud helps you with cadence and also helps you discover the "rough spots" you need to work on.
One Sunday I was sitting in the pew as the pastor directed us to his sermon's Bible passage that day. (Yes, we Southern Baptists still use the Bible for our text.) He asked us to follow along. I glanced up during the reading and saw the pastor standing to side of the pulpit, looking at the congregation… and quoting the entire passage from memory! I glanced behind me to see if the words were projected on the wall in the back of the church – the wall was blank. I began to look up during the Bible "reading" almost every Sunday afterward, and almost every time he was sharing the passage from memory.
One day I mentioned this habit to this pastor and he just smiled and said, "Most people are unaware of it, but for me it helps me prepare. If I take the time to memorize the passage, God almost always shows me something during the week to help me understand it."
If you want to really get deep… memorize!
Suggested memory passage, just for fun; Isaiah 55:8-11.