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JamesR
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« on: March 01, 2013, 05:17:29 AM »

Sooo, I know that this is generally a pretty Protestant practice to devote time to memorizing countless parts of Scripture, but how many of you do it anyway? And what are your thoughts on the practice? More importantly, does the Church have any official stance or guidelines upon whether or not we should constantly memorize Scripture?

For me, I mostly do it because I've been on the hot-seat since the day I converted by the non-Orthodox, so I devote time to memorizing passages to defend my beliefs or refute critiques against the Church. All in all, I have about 30-35 passages/verses memorized from the New Testament. I also enjoy memorizing helpful passages that could motivate me during hard times of temptation. I think that James 1:12, which says "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." is the one passage I find myself constantly repeating in my head and returning to.
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 05:28:30 AM »

Sooo, I know that this is generally a pretty Protestant practice to devote time to memorizing countless parts of Scripture,

This is true in practice, but in theory literate Orthodox should be just as eager to memorize Scripture as Protestants.
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 07:04:01 AM »

I often think that most valuable thing I learned from my 20 years as an Evangelical Protestant is the practice of memorizing Scripture. I don't practice it like I used to in my Protestant days, but the verses that I committed to memory have been an invaluable source of comfort and strength throughout the years. And yes, the apologetics aspect is also valuable. But more importantly, it's a great source of personal spiritual comfort. So I agree with Asteriktos; Orthodox Christians should be as zealous to know the Scriptures as Protestants.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." [Psalm 119:105]

"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." [Psalm 119:111]


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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 07:42:55 AM »

I often think that most valuable thing I learned from my 20 years as an Evangelical Protestant is the practice of memorizing Scripture. I don't practice it like I used to in my Protestant days, but the verses that I committed to memory have been an invaluable source of comfort and strength throughout the years. And yes, the apologetics aspect is also valuable. But more importantly, it's a great source of personal spiritual comfort. So I agree with Asteriktos; Orthodox Christians should be as zealous to know the Scriptures as Protestants.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." [Psalm 119:105]

"Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee." [Psalm 119:111]


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The first verse I ever memorized, thanks to my mother.
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 07:44:46 AM »

If one studies a text consistently, memorisation happens, even without getting out of one's way to do that. Knowing exact chapter and verse numbers, however, is another story. I don't bother much with that, myself.
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 07:49:06 AM »

When I was a child we knew this older man we fondly called “Uncle Andy”.  He was amazing.  He had the same bible for over 30 years and if you asked him to find a book and chapter, he could turn to it every time, sometimes even to the verse. 
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 08:24:54 AM »

I am working on that with the NT and are close to soon memomrize certain parts of Matthew 5 and 7. Daily readings does good (uh..that did sound pharisean, sorry).

Yeah, that is amazing. I got the bible my mum and dad was given when they married 42 years ago. It means a lot to me.
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 09:07:33 AM »

I'm still an inquirer (I feel more or less stalled due to my remote location) but I've been using a prayer book for 6 months.  The prayers and psalms beginning to sink in to the point where they are almost memorized.  It won't be long before they stick for good, I hope.
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 09:27:54 AM »

Attending the Divine Liturgy and learning the daily Orthodox lectionary, will make you familiar with the whole New testament in 4 years. You will then be able to Bible bash too, but why would you want to do that, especially when what you quote could return to you?
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 11:47:32 AM »

When I was a child we knew this older man we fondly called “Uncle Andy”.  He was amazing.  He had the same bible for over 30 years and if you asked him to find a book and chapter, he could turn to it every time, sometimes even to the verse. 
The part I've emphasized is really important. Even during my final years as a Protestant, I noticed that Scripture memorization was becoming a thing of the past. And no wonder! With dozens of translations out there - and everyone being encouraged to compare them - you would never hear or read exactly the same words over and over. The KJV-only people actually make a good point here. (Notice I said "a" good point  Smiley)

I finally got Psalm 50 memorized using the version we use at Orthros, and am now trying to decide which psalm to tackle next. Whichever I choose, it will be the version that my parish will use in our services. For the same reason, I memorized the Creed, the Trisagion, etc. according to what I hear at church.
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 11:50:45 AM »

 I could recite a lot of verses, especially from the NT, but I wouldn't be able to tell you book or verse. I always have to type the words into google to see where they came from Tongue
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 01:21:43 PM »

We should remember the words, not memorize them.  Memorization is just about knowing the exact words and verses and chapters and books.  When you remember it is because you understood and apprciated what was said.

Of course there is some expectation in Orthodoxy to know the greater context of verses.  When we recite Palms, we usually only say a couple of verses during Liturgy.  But the expectation is for one to know the entire Psalm by heart (again, not necessarily word-for-word memorization).  The same way that Jesus was quoted on the cross saying a line of Psalm instead of reciting the entire Psalm.  Those who became Bible-only Christians and has abandonned Liturgical worship usually get this wrong, because they do not understand the practice of reciting one line from Scripture which is meant to call to mind the entire context where that line is from, not just that one line that was said.
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2013, 01:21:57 PM »

I could recite a lot of verses, especially from the NT, but I wouldn't be able to tell you book or verse. I always have to type the words into google to see where they came from Tongue

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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2013, 01:30:42 PM »

When I was a child we knew this older man we fondly called “Uncle Andy”.  He was amazing.  He had the same bible for over 30 years and if you asked him to find a book and chapter, he could turn to it every time, sometimes even to the verse. 
The part I've emphasized is really important. Even during my final years as a Protestant, I noticed that Scripture memorization was becoming a thing of the past. And no wonder! With dozens of translations out there - and everyone being encouraged to compare them - you would never hear or read exactly the same words over and over. The KJV-only people actually make a good point here. (Notice I said "a" good point  Smiley)

All my memorised lines are in Greek. I can't be bothered to learn them in any English translation, as I think and pray in Greek. Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2013, 04:57:10 PM »

It seems that memorizing the Psalms would be a good idea. How about Psalm 50, 102, 145, 22, 23, 115, 69 and then others ... perhaps Psalm 23 would be easiest to start with for me.
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2013, 12:26:28 AM »

Never hurts to know the scriptures better! Smiley  That's the way I see it.
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« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2013, 06:15:25 PM »

I was reading some of Romans and 1st Corinthians last night, and all I remember this morning is the wife/husband is consecrated by the faith of their spouse. laugh

Oh and then there was a bit I remember about pagan meat.
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« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2013, 06:20:24 PM »

It seems that memorizing the Psalms would be a good idea. How about Psalm 50, 102, 145, 22, 23, 115, 69 and then others ... perhaps Psalm 23 would be easiest to start with for me.
If I could memorize the Proverbs and Psalms by heart that would be good.

I'm lucky enough to be in a position where I can enjoy reading the NT, instead of trying to cobble together verses in polemics with Protestants. I feel sorry for James, I'm sure it's extremely frustrating.

I swear if you falter in just one piece of your argument with a Protestant, no matter how trivial, they completely dismiss anything you have to say. Now if only they were so erudite when it came to Church History...
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« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2013, 06:28:54 PM »

I was reading some of Romans and 1st Corinthians last night, and all I remember this morning is the wife/husband is consecrated by the faith of their spouse. laugh

Oh and then there was a bit I remember about pagan meat.

...the last part of which may be in violation of James the Just's letter to Christians that is mentioned in Acts 21...
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« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2013, 06:48:49 PM »

First you gotta read 'em, then you gotta heed 'em, you never know when you're gonna need 'em!
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2013, 04:16:54 PM »

lots of people in the coptic church memorise psalms.
it is also expected to memorise the morning and evening prayers.
(www.agpeya.org)
i am really rubbish at it (takes me an average 2 years per psalm!) but it's a really good idea to memorise parts of the Bible.
many of the early Christians (from all the orthodox/catholic churches) memorised large parts of the Bible as most people could not read and there was no sound recording invented.
the memorised verses gave them great strength and courage under persecution, and still have the same benefit today.

let's all memorise more of the Bible!
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