Random Order: Read, Memorize, Study

  • 7 March 2016
  • Keith Reed

I’m memorizing the “armour of God” passage that’s found in Ephesians 6:10-18. I chose this section because I’m convinced that temptation is a lifelong struggle. I’ve been able to develop some degree of willpower over the years, but without the power of Christ, I’m still a slave to sin. I need more than personal effort to keep myself from falling. 

As I’ve studied the words in the first few verses and repeated them over and over again, I’ve noticed things that I never before saw in this passage. For instance, the word “stand/withstand” appears in verse 11 and then is quickly used three more times in verses 13 and 14. The image that now comes to my mind is not that of an attacking warrior, but of a soldier who is standing in the confidence of knowing that his armour is outfitted with God’s power and presence. The enemy cannot prevail so long as he stays alert and uses his weapons accordingly.  

But in order for this to happen, the soldier must do something that I never before realized. He must “do everything” (NIV). Standing firm will be the result of “having done all” (ESV).

What then is the “thing” that needs to be done? This is the question I’ve been asking myself as I keep repeating this verse and committing it to memory. And it has led me to study this passage so that I will gain a better understanding for how I can keep standing when the evil one attacks.

This experience has made me grateful for the various ways that I can read and interact with God’s Word and it makes me think about how each practice relates to another. 

  • When I read Scripture, my goal is to hear from God. This usually happens as I think about the main point of the passage or when a specific verse pops out to me. 
  • When I study Scripture, I consider the context of the passage and compare it to other sections in Scripture. I look at word patterns and origins to help me isolate the original meaning so that I can better apply it to my current circumstances. 
  • When I memorize Scripture, I notice the arrangement of the words and their relationship to one another. These words then stay with me throughout the day as I repeat them in my mind.

The practices of reading, studying, and memorizing will often lead to each other, but this is not a pattern that needs to be sequential. It’s more of a discovery process that God uses to speak to us in various ways.

How have you seen these Scripture practices relate to each other? Do you find that one method naturally leads to another? Please share your own experiences in the comment section below. 

- Keith Reed