Transmitting the Word: An Interview with John Piper on Consistency and Community
- Wednesday, February 15, 2012
BSM: How can we make time for the Bible?
PIPER: I don’t think it’s merely a function of time. It’s a function of earnestness and faith. A person must build into their life a regular encounter with God, personally and quietly meditating on His Word. I think the early morning is the best time, because it sets the tone for the whole day. If for some reason that time can’t work, then midday or evening.
Get the Bible, the time, and the place — make sure it’s planned — and then meditate on a portion of Scripture: a chapter, verses, or several chapters, depending on what you can do. Memorize some verse, or even phrases, that appear especially precious to you.
This morning I memorized, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jer 31:33). That was my little nugget that I took away from this morning’s devotions so that I could, all day long, reassure myself that God would do that for me.
You don’t need hours and hours with God every day, but you do need to have time with God orienting your mind, taking something into your heart, letting your heart express itself to God in communion — taking faith’s renewal and walking with God through the day, reminding yourself of what you saw in the morning.
I don’t think you need to be a “professional” preacher like me in order to enjoy deep and glorious things with God. In fact, some of the deepest saints that I’ve ever met, who outshine me, have not been “professional” Christians.
BSM: How do you memorize Scripture?
PIPER: First of all, by praying for discipline and setting aside time.
I set aside a block of time in the morning (an hour or so) to be with God alone, reading my Bible, praying for my family, praying for the church, and praying for my soul. And I can generally finish my four chapters or so of Bible reading in about 20 minutes, depending on how long I pause and contemplate. And my prayers may extend for 20 or 30 minutes. So I’ve got at least 5 or 10 minutes for Scripture memorization in that hour.
If you decide to memorize Scripture for 5 or 10 minutes a day, you can memorize a lot of Scripture! Really, it’s incredible! As I’m reading, I put circles around the paragraphs or verses that I want to memorize. I put a little “m” beside the ones that I have worked on so I can come back and review them in the coming days.
I got this idea from a little booklet about how to memorize long passages of Scripture. It recommended that you take your first verse, read it 10 times, and then close your eyes or shut your Bible and say it 10 times. I think if you do that, you can memorize almost any verse in the Bible: 10 times read, 10 times said, and then you’ve got it. When you come back the next day, open your Bible, say that verse again 5 or 10 times. Then you do the same thing with the next verse. Then you do them both together. Finally, you shut your Bible and leave. Then you come back and do it again.
So basically, the answer is repetition and review.
Here’s one other little tip that I use. If I pick a verse, a couple of verses, or a paragraph, I’ll put it on a piece of paper, and I’ll carry it in my pocket for the day. And at times during the day, I’ll pull it out and read it for my soul. I don’t memorize verses that don’t help my soul.
I’m not into mechanical memorizing. I’m into fighting the fight of faith. I want to memorize Scripture so that I can defeat the devil at 3 o’clock in the afternoon — that’s why I memorize! It’s so that I can minister to a saint in the hospital at 10 o’clock at night if I’ve forgotten my Bible. This is for my soul, and for the souls of others around me. So I carry it around, and I review it. Review is so crucial.
Recently on Bible Study
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content