Ephesians, 2008, and a Memory Moleskine

Tim Brister —  July 1, 2008 — 58 Comments

NOTE: After having printed out the sections of Scripture, I realized that the margins were a bit wide (they could work if you cut the pieces of paper really tight).  I went and updated the margins and made necessary adjustments to make the text fit more comfortably in the moleskine.  So if you downloaded the older version, you may want to scratch that and download this updated version.

After the interview with Andy Davis last week, and then hearing him preach on filling your life with Scripture, I was really convicted by the fact that I have been hit and miss for the past couple of years when it comes to memorizing Scripture. I would memorize a passage or chapter only to forget it the next month, and as a result, the Scripture I put to memory found little application in my life (such as in witnessing, personal sanctification, counseling others, etc.).

Consequently, I have been thinking over the past couple of days about what I can do to change and grow in this area. I want to memorize Scripture with a focus on retention and reflection that will return by way of application and ministry to myself and to others. As of next week (July 6), 26 weeks remain on the 2008 calendar–a perfect time to memorize a book of the Bible. I have chosen to take on the book of Ephesians because it is (1) reasonable length, (2) gloriously doctrinal, (3) and intensely practical.

I realize that Andy has a 26 week plan for Ephesians in his booklet, An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture, but I tweaked mine just a bit to allow room for sustained review. Here is my schedule plan that I drafted earlier this morning:

Week 1 :: Ephesians 1:1-6
Week 2 :: Ephesians 1:7-14
Week 3 :: Ephesians 1:15-23
Week 4 :: Ephesians 2:1-9
Week 5 :: Ephesians 2:10-16
Week 6 :: Ephesians 2:17-22
Week 7 :: Ephesians 3:1-6
Week 8 :: Ephesians 3:7-13
Week 9 :: Ephesians 3:14-21
>> Week 10 – Review 1-9
Week 11 :: Ephesians 4:1-8
Week 12 :: Ephesians 4:9-16
Week 13 :: Ephesians 4:17-24
Week 14 :: Ephesians 4:25-32
Week 15 :: Ephesians 5:1-6
Week 16 :: Ephesians 5:7-14
Week 17 :: Ephesians 5:15-21
Week 18 :: Ephesians 5:22-33
Week 19 :: Ephesians 6:1-9
Week 20 :: Ephesians 6:10-17
Week 21 :: Ephesians 6:18-24
>> Week 22 – Review weeks 11-21
>> Week 23 – Recite weeks 1-22

>> Week 24 – Meditate, Pray, and Rejoice!

Some of the weeks have fewer verses than others, but I think all in all it balances out. Week 10 is dedicated entirely for review of chapters 1-3, which breaks the book (and schedule) down in half. Week 22 is review for the second half, and week 23 reviews the entire book. Week 24 is simply devoted to praying through the book, meditating on it, and thanking God for the journey through it. Two weeks are unaccounted for in this plan (24 weeks when there are 26 left in the calendar year), but I figured Thanksgiving and Christmas week could represent those weeks. :)

So what do you think? Look like a good plan? Anyone else interested in the journey?

To keep the verses before me, I have put together what I am called my “memory Moleskine.” I recently purchased a three-pack of “Cashier Pocket Ruled Notebook” from Moleskine. One of them is my “getting things done” book for the month, another my missional moleskine (more about that later), and the other my memory moleskine.

On the left side of the memory moleskine, I am pasting a typed-out version of the text, broken down in the sections of Scripture mentioned above. The font size is 10 point, and I am using the English Standard Version. On the right side of the moleskine, I am dividing the page into two sections: the top half focusing on “review” and the bottom half focusing on “reflection.” Under review, I will mark the number of times I review the passage along with the corresponding dates. Under reflection, I will write notes and observations I glean from dwelling in the text (such as themes, truths, etc.).

I plan on taking some pictures and posting what the memory moleskine set up looks like. But the goal is to constantly have it with me and before me throughout the day. The small, thin cashier moleskine is perfect for carrying in your pocket or purse (ladies only, man purses not allowed).

Anyone planning on doing this and using the ESV, you can download my doc (see note above) which has the sections already set up to print. All you will have to do is cut the pages and paste the texts in the moleskine.

So that’s the plan. Now it’s time to get started. Anyone interested in joining in, let me know. May God’s Word be hid in our hearts and worked out in our lives.

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  • http://thoughtsontheword.blogspot.com kim davidson

    Thanks for the encouragement to do this. Having lived in Durham for the past 7 years and knowing of Dr. Davis’ plan – I still have yet to do this (I went to JD Greear’s church a few miles away from FBCD). I am printing out the document!

  • Brian Kinley

    I think your plan looks awesome! I have been working on memorizing Romans 8 but I found myself getting bogged down, some weeks being consistent, others not so much. I really like the system described by Andy Davis and the moleskin idea I think will help me immensely. I am going to do that with Romans 8, and when finished move on the Ephesians. Thanks for the kick in the pants to commit to this ;-)

  • Bryant King

    Well, it sounds like a good plan, Timmy, and I intend to join you. It was my intention to start catechizing my 5 year olds this summer, and I have gotten nowhere with that plan. Perhaps, if I also commit to a memorization plan of my own, I will be further motivated, reminded, and serve as a better example to my children. My five year olds have memorized more verses than I have in the last 2 weeks and that is not right. So, yeah, I am in, but make mine NASB.

    Bryant King

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Thanks for the responses! As far as I can tell, there have been many to download the document, and I am hopeful that a little method like this could encourage others to consider memorizing Scripture as well. I have been thinking about how blogs have been known for being the medium to stir up controversy (like an addict to a new high), but I am hopeful that instead blogs (my own included) will be a means of stirring us up for greater affection for Christ and love for His people. Scripture memory isn’t glamorous, but it is glorious indeed.

  • http://tydnablog.wordpress.com/ Andy

    you can count me in — i’ve got a blank cahier that is perfect for this. thanks, timmy!

  • Andrew J. Nicewander

    I’m in. :-)

  • Nathan

    Andy’s system really works. After he preached in chapel last year they passed out his little booklet thingy. It’s amazing how quickly you can memorize scripture. The Word starts echoing through your mind all day long. His advice about memorizing the verse numbers is really helpful. Don’t cut corners on the verse numbers.

    “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Ps. 119:97

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Very cool guys. Thanks for chiming in.

  • http://www.aclutteredmind.org Kevin Sorensen

    I thank you for posting the schedule. I’ll probably copy it for myself. I’ll be embarking on an extended preaching series through this great book beginning this fall and my goal is to memorize the book before/while I preach through it.

  • http://www.thisbreadalways.blogspot.com Kevin Rhyne

    I’ve been doing Andy’s system at breakfast with my 4 and 7 year old daughters…the one year old just kind of looks at us, but I know he’s getting it…he just has that look about him.

    I really like the chart and the addition of review/reflection in a notebook. Very cool and intentional, Timmy. It’s got an Edwardsian feel to it.

    “1:2 – Grace to you and peace…”

    Kevin

  • Kris Harrison

    I’m looking at taking the journey with you as well.

    One question: Does anyone else find it difficult to memorize the verse #’s as well, as it seems to interupt the flow of thought?

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  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Kris,

    Yeah, me too. What I try to do is remember the beginning word of each verse and stick the number in my head. Sometimes the numbers come to me by way of reduction or seeing the big picture. But I agree that it is more difficult learning the references as well as the text. I can see, however, how that it would be helpful, especially when quoting a text in a message or in witnessing.

  • http://cawley.typepad.com/blog Kevin Cawley

    Thanks a ton for this brother! How very timely for our church.

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  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com/ Stephen Newell

    I’m going to make up a bunch of these and pass them out at church next week. This is too good an idea to pass up using — it’s small-church friendly!

  • http://stephennewell.wordpress.com/ Stephen Newell

    But I must slightly object – no man purses? I still use mine to carry books around (and only books)! :D

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Kevin (x3),

    You’re welcome. It’s great to see the interest and engagement regarding the memorization and application of Scripture to our preaching and our lives. Very encouraging.

    Stephen,

    If I ever see you with a man purse of moleskines, I am submitting your lifestyle to your church for discipline. :)

  • http://weheartnepal.wordpress.com/ wheelj79

    I have been working on Galatians using Andy’s method and at times the numbers seem burdensome; but I have noticed that if I see a verse reference to Galatians, I can remember that verse rather than having to start at the beginning.

    When I reveiw all that I have learned, I will usually say the numbers in my head as I verbally say the verses. So, I would encourage everyone to stay with the verse numbers in the memorization! I am anticipating that it will really come into use when I get deeper into the book.

  • http://www.dwelling-rich.org Christopher

    Hey, this is Christopher from Dwelling Rich Ministries (www.dwelling-rich.org). We are a ministry group dedicated to encouraging others to memorizing and meditating upon more Scripture. I use kind of a mutation of Pastor Andy’s booklet, but it is pretty much the same thing. Anyway, I am almost finished with Ephesians (about 4-5 verses away) and it has been a glorious journey! I pray all goes well with your journey. Maybe you could write something up up for us concerning how God convicted you and what came next. E-mail me at cpearson@dwelling-rich.org

  • http://www.retro-evangelical.blogspot.com Matthew Westerholm

    A trick for verse numbers? Hold up fingers as you say the verses. This allows you to know where the verses are without breaking up the verbal flow. Type “dactylonomy” into google and hold on to your hat!

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Matthew,

    That’s funny! But actually, I think the correct term is dactylology. :)

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  • Jackie Gilliam

    I am joining in with you on memorizing Ephesians, I figure even if I fail at a word for word memorization I will have at least spent 26 weeks meditating on an amazing rich book of the bible. I’ve already been really blessed just this week with the first 6 verses. Thank you for the challenge and your blog!
    PS You’ve got my vote in ’08! But I don’t know why you would forsake a higher calling for a lesser job. :) Congratulations on your installation service I look forward to reading your blog daily. God bless!

  • http://n/a Bill Jaco

    timmy i think what your doing is awesome!!I myself have been memorizing the Book of 2nd peter and its been a very convicting experience one that for me has been life changing in more ways then one!!!! its pretty cool because the Lord has helped me to put it into my life and has helped me in my witnessing to others God is so good!! anyway i cant commit yet! but i want to thank you for your encouragment its really nice to know others are turned on too. to being a hider of the word. I have just recently completed my task of memorizeation of 2nd peter and my hearts desire is to use this as a ministry and posibly Bless others as i have been Blessed by the word of God.
    may the peace of God that surpasses all understanding be yours.

  • http://timmybrister.wordpress.com/ Timmy Brister

    Jackie,

    That’s great that you have chosen to come along! That’s right. While I want to be the best cheerleader for Scripture memory, especially with this Ephesians challenge, the sheer fact that we are being exposed to God’s Word more and more and with the purpose of memorization and meditation will be a great means of grace to grow us in the knowledge of Christ and His great gospel. Thank you for the kind words about the installation service and blog. Oh, and knowing that you would vote for me as president does cause some concern though. :) I wouldn’t vote for myself!

    Bill,

    Thanks for the encouraging word about how memorizing Scripture has helped you! I am continually blessed by the reports and provocation by others like yourself in this important discipline. May we all dwell richly in God’s sweet counsel to us.

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  • http://www.beingsanctified.com Jimmy Tidmore

    I ran across Dr. Davis’ plan a couple of years ago and used it to memorize the Book of James. I am currently working on Romans. I am doing it 4 chapters at a time to make it manageable for me. Definitely memorize the verse numbers as it would be very difficult to do it without them once you get a ways into the book. For a book about the size of Ephesians you will probably only be spending 20 minutes a day working on it even once you are at the very end of the book. I assure you it is much easier than you would think. I was very surprised by it. The hardest part is picking a time and doing it everyday (except Sundays for me). Anyway, I wanted to post this as an encouragement to everyone who is joining Timmy in memorizing Ephesians. Thanks Timmy for encouraging others to do this.

  • http://blackreformingkid.wordpress.com Douglas K. Adu-Boahen

    At 17, it would be to put my still fertile memory to good use, so count me in!

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  • http://esotropiart.com Phil Steller

    I too was recently impressed upon to start memorizing Scripture. “Ironically”, I felt led to start with Ephesians. I am going through many struggles in life, but God has “shown up” in amazing ways and has transformed my life inside-out once again. His Word has been the catalyst, and I simply can’t get enough of it! Gimme more! I’m not sure if I’ll go with your exacting schedule for now, as I’m still considering different options, but I’ll keep it in mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. God bless.

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  • http://www.simpleglory.blogspot.com Kendra

    This is exactly what I have been planning to do for myself. Thank you so much for already doing the work. I look forward to hiding these words in my heart.

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  • http://www.shapinglittlesouls.blogspot.com Sharon
  • http://doithalfway.wordpress.com Mama Bear Ping

    I also found you at http://www.aholyexperience.com
    I just printed your updated version.
    I just got my pocket-sized notebook to keep in my purse.
    I’ll be cutting and pasting in 5 minutes.
    Thanks.

  • Jacqueline

    I’m jumping onboard, too!
    Thanks for laying this out for us –
    and thanks to Ann V for passing this link along!
    Blessings!

  • http://www.beckypliego.com Becky@Daily On My Way To Heaven

    Thanks again.I am jumping in!

    Blessings from Mexico.

  • http://contemplativecottage.com Susan

    Thank you so much for this post! I found you via “A Holy Experience” and have made my own memory moleskine.

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  • Jason

    3 Weeks in and feeling truly blessed. Thank you so much for this post, and for the “A Holy Experience” link which led me here.

    For those of you who are doing, or have done this extended memorization, are you also incorporating the verse numbers? It felt awkward, wanting to memorize this as it would have been written or read, with no numbers, but am wondering if I should have these points of reference included.

    Peace…

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  • http://www.thecodedhandshake.com Chris

    This post is still bearing fruit! My buddy and I were looking for a Moleskin template for our next book to memorize, as we are planning to finish Philippians by mid-June, and as the Romans 8 experimental template I made took forever. I thought I remembered you having done Ephesians before, and here it is. Thanks, bro! Keep going strong!

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  • Sharon

    I am unable to open the Ephesians download. Is it still available?

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  • http://www.christianmaterial.com Samuel @christianmaterial.com

    Encouraging post on memorizing God’s word. I am going to try memorizing Ephesians.Just bookmarked the link. Thanks for this post .

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