Book Reviews

Book Review: His Word in my Heart

His Word in my Heart: Memorizing Scripture for a Closer Walk with GodMy husband recently picked up a book on Scripture memorization, and I was very excited to get my hands on it.  The value and importance of Scripture memorization was ingrained in my thinking early.  And, I believe that this is an extremely important, but all too often neglected, discipline for most Christians…simply because they (mistakenly) think they do not have enough time. 


In her book, His Word in my Heart, Janet Pope says, “I present an alternative for the frazzled, guilt-ridden woman who longs to know God and His Word but hasn’t yet found a way to accomplish this amidst the unrelenting treadmill of activities.  I cannot add one more hour to your day, but I can help you change the minutes and the moments you already have.” (pg. 11) 


For years, she has been using those once-idle and overlooked moments to memorize, not just snippets of Scripture here and there, but whole chapters and entire books of the Bible!  And, she did this with children and teenagers!   She says,


“With two small children and a never-ending list of things to do, there were no extra time slots in my day….I trained myself to use moments throughout my day when my hands were busy but my mind was free.  Household chores required busyness but not thoughtfulness, so I included Scripture memory in my daily routines: showering, drying my hair, folding laundry, vacuuming, waiting in traffic or at the dentist’s office.  Minutes that were once idle became opportunities to get to know God’s Word.”  (pg. 10)


This book is designed to be “intensely practical.”  And, it is!  You will notice that she advocates memorizing passages and books, not individual verses.  It is her opinion that memorizing passages, chapters, or entire books is more beneficial than memorizing independent verses.  She says, “You will get a more complete picture if you memorize verses that go together….Memorizing entire books or passages will keep intact God’s succession of ideas, without interruption.” (pgs. 36-37)  She goes on to explain that memorizing single verses, out of their original context, can often lead to misinterpretation and wrong application. 


Perhaps memorizing an entire book of the Bible, or even just a chapter, seems like an impossible challenge.  Yes, it requires work.  But, as you will see through Pope’s own experience and careful illustration of her method, it is not impossible. 


Three of the 9 chapters of this book are devoted to helping the reader memorize 2 passages of Scripture – Psalm 1 (which is only 6 verses), and the book of Titus (dealing with chapter 1 in one chapter, and chapters 2-3 in the other).  Pope helps to show her readers how to break down larger portions of Scripture, into more manageable daily sections (one verse each day).  She also offers helpful suggestions, or reminders, to use those “idle moments” to review what has been learned so far. 


In keeping with her goal of intense practicality, Pope shares that, “It’s not enough just to know the words of the Bible; rather, we need to be so immersed in God’s Word that we will think biblically…To have the exact words stored in my brain is a valuable asset, but it will never be enough.  If I go no deeper than just ‘the words,’ it will be a waste of time, an exercise in futility.” (pgs. 151-152)  She helps her readers to go deeper than just the words, by suggesting questions to think through while meditating on a passage, so that they move beyond knowledge to application and obedience.


No, there is no clear command in Scripture to memorize.  “There will be no checklist or prize at the pearly gates for the number of verses quoted.  What matters is a life that has been transformed by the sword of God’s Word penetrating deep into our souls and making us more pliable and yielding to His will.” (pg. 87) 


Throughout this book, I was so impressed and encouraged by this author’s love for God, and her passion to know Him by knowing His Word.  She understands that “God desires for us to know Him intimately, and that’s why He gave us His written Word.  It is God’s revelation of Himself….The goal is to know God and to walk closely with Him – nothing more, nothing less.” (pg. 30)


If your goal and desire is to know God intimately, then you must know His Word.  Memorization is simply one way to accomplish that.  If you need help getting started this book is a wonderful source of encouragement and instruction as you seek to pour yourself into God’s Word.


“Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” ~Psalm 119:97 (ESV)

1 Comment

  1. Oh, I want to be more diligent in memorizing Scripture! Thanks for this timely book review.

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