A Focus On Scripture Memory

By Sharon Yong, Melbourne Labouring Community (International Student Ministry, Monash), first published in Compass Winter 2023

As Navigators, we have a focus on the basics. In our Monash Uni ISM, we use the acronym POWER (ie. Prayer-Outreach-Word-Equipping-Relationships) to help keep our focus. For the Word intake, I find that one of the more challenging and yet exciting basics to cultivate is Scripture Memory. I have always struggled with the lack of time when we meet with the students. So keen to fellowship, so keen to get into Bible study that I am tempted to not do Scripture review because it’s time consuming. I also found myself asking, “How can I inspire the (mostly medical) students to memorise Scriptures when they already have so much material to memorise?” This is wrong thinking, I realised. I have made this mistake before with one batch of seniors, and I am committed now not to make the same mistake again, and to sharpen this disciple-making skill.

Sharon and Andrew Yong and the students during their ISM 2023 Conference

To get a new batch of students interested in memorising Scripture, I decided to make it bite-size and manageable for them. I wrote out a verse on A3 paper, using different coloured markers. I asked questions based on the verse, highlighted certain phrases and drew their attention to the meaning. Then together as a group, we committed it to memory. We then paired up to check each other after the Bible study session.

On another week, for another verse, we played a game. Each student was to repeat a phrase of the verse to the next student, who then repeated it to the next, in a chain. I kept adding another phrase, until the whole verse was passed on. At the end of the chain, we saw the importance of the verse being word perfect.

I made the effort to print out and laminate the Topical Memory System (TMS) verses, cut them out into smaller cards so they have a pack of verses to carry with them. I told them I made these cards with love, and in appreciation they treasured these cards. They bring these cards with them to our weekly discipleship gatherings.

At the student conference last year, I told the students that I would be serving ten meals in all: two of breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea and supper. Before each meal, they were to memorise one verse of the TMS and review those they have memorised. It was a wonderful sight to see everyone having their spiritual food before the physical food. By the end of the conference, they had memorised 10 verses! One girl stood up at the end of the conference to quote all the 10 verses in one go. Everyone applauded. This was so inspiring!

At this year’s conference, we did a TMS quiz as a finale. At the start of the conference, the students were told that they would be competing as part of teams. They carved out time during free time or group time to do Scripture Memory and Review, helping each other out. Questions like: “Quote the verse that mentions the word Love four times.” Or: “Quote the verse that helps someone struggling with Quiet Time.” The students enjoyed the quiz, while also reminded that they needed to work harder on this basic.

Recently, I found out that some students in Singapore have produced a digital TMS! I shared this with my students and each of them now has these verses on their phone, which makes reviewing a lot more convenient. Recently, I shared this TMS link with one student who was struggling with her devotions with the Lord. She is from mainland China and has difficulty with the English language. I encouraged her to take one verse from the TMS a day and to meditate on it. She liked the idea, so please join me in praying that she would be on her way to improving her English skills as she memorises the verses!

In my desire to be creative about Scripture Memory and Review, there are three Ms that have helped me to work on this discipleship basic with my students:

1. Manageable - Make the verse 'bite-size 2. Meaningful - quote the verse whenever an opportunity arises 3. Model - show them that I am doing likewise

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