some good and not-so-good reasons to memorize fighter verses

We memorize fighter verses at church.  They’re just sets of verses that take us through the year.  For more info on them check out my “I recommend” page.  Also this week’s fighter verse (and every week’s) can be found and meditated on at fighterverses.com.  Here’s this week’s:

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!  Psalm 34:1-3

I encourage everyone to memorize the fighter verses.  Or memorize Scripture according to whatever plan you have set up for yourself.  It’s beneficial.  

That said, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.  Who can know it?  So, even something like memorizing the Bible can be done with the wrong motives.  Here’s some examples of good and not-so-good reasons to memorize fighter verses:

no-so-good: I learned the fighter verse because I wanted to be called on Sunday morning to recite it and show everyone how holy I am.  

good: I learned the fighter verse because I wanted to be called on Sunday morning to recite it and encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ with the Word of God on my lips.

not-so-good:  I learned the fighter verse so I could recite it Sunday morning in the hopes that one of the pastoral staff would recognize me and congratulate me for my job well done.

good: I learned the fighter verse so I could recite it Sunday morning and one of the pastoral staff could point to me and say, “If Abigail (low brain function) can do it, then you can too!” and encourage others in their goals.  

not-so-good: I learned the fighter verse and taught it to my children so they could recite it Sunday morning (and on cue everywhere else) to show everyone what a good parent I am.

good: I learned the fighter verse and taught it to my children so that God’s Word would be in their mind and hopefully make its way to their heart.  

not-so-good: I learned the fighter verse so that next time I see “so and so” I can slap them up side the head with it.  They are always boasting and this week’s verse is about that.  They definitely need to work on that area of their life.  Plus, they’ll see how holy I am.

good:  I learned the fighter verse so that with humility, I can begin to look at the wickedness of my own heart through the lens of Scripture.  

Of course, in order to come up with these reasons, you can safely assume that I’ve had inklings towards all of them.  Even if subconscious at times.  I’m not sure the human race is capable of a motive that is 100% pure.  

But even if your motives are wrong or partly wrong and you’re working on making them pure, keep memorizing.  When I was a child in AWANA, I guarantee you my motives had nothing to do with putting God’s Word in my heart.

They had to do with winning.  I was ultra competitive.  I wanted to say more verses than anyone else and I wanted my team to win.  Memorizing verses was a means to winning.  Yet, God in His grace has not let His Word return void in my life.  

The foundation of verses stored up in my mind as a child have made their way to my heart.  And I am exceedingly grateful that they are there.  And I long to add to them.  Maybe you’ll consider what God might do through Scripture memory in your life?


8 thoughts on “some good and not-so-good reasons to memorize fighter verses

  1. This brings back memories of our Bible Quiz days, and it’s one reason why, even though some people are critical of Bible Quiz because the kids may not always express purely pure motives, I’m glad that the ministry continues. I know that as we are praying for our kids and helping them study and talking to them about the right reasons for memorizing, the Lord is working in them.

    One of the questions is “Why should be memorize Bible verses?” and the answer is supposed to be the verse from Psalms 119, I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Well, at one practice, my husband/JBQ coach whispered to our son, if you get that question, say: “So we can get lots of points and win at JBQ!” just to get a little rise out of the JBQ director, and to stir up a good discussion about the right reasons, which it did.

    As the kids got up into Youth Bible Quiz, the questions were so detailed and very tough. There were a couple of questions about geographic locations that were difficult and for some reason some of the kids would often, if they weren’t sure, answer “Shechem!” Most of the time they were not correct, but Shechem became the answer to give to questions that they didn’t know. Finally, we got to the last game of the last match at semi-finals, with a couple of quizzers quizzed out and two kids left at the buzzers, and a question came up which we knew the quizzers had not remembered, but we knew what answer they would give: “Shechem!” It didn’t mean much to the other team who had not been in on our practices, but everyone on our side finished the match in giggles, even though they knew they weren’t going on in the playoffs. Sometimes when a biblical question comes up on Jeopardy, someone in our family will call out, Shechem!

    Often it was those silly things that the kids would talk more about during the quizzing season, but now that quizzing time is well behind us, they continue to discuss and display the Biblical principles that they learned through it.

  2. I should add that it can be very encouraging to people when you have your kids recite verses to them. We just have to be careful that we aren’t using our kids to show-off. Like little “on-cue” performers.

    And I think children can tell the difference between being used to show-off and being part of a family that seeks to encourage others with Scripture. Grandparents love having their grandkids tell them the verses they are learning. It is a sweet and beneficial thing for child and grandparent.

  3. And it’s delightful when you are just hanging around watching TV or playing a game and they just start talking about something they learned in the Bible, or quote a verse that goes with what someone on TV said (or refutes it) or that applies to what you’re talking about. And this often happens when we’re driving somewhere in the car.

    I don’t worry if I pick the kids up from church camp and they tell me their favorite thing they did there was tether ball because I know that the really deep things they learned will come out at some time when I’m not asking about it.

  4. Man, Abigail, you pinned me against the wall. Funny thing is, I memorize scripture and want to show off to my kids or my friends and when I go to recite it, I can’t do it. I get hot, go all flush and blank in the mind. I fail big. Must keep motives pure. Great post.

  5. Hi Abigail. I followed your link from your post on DesiringGod. This is a really good checklist to test what’s really going on in my heart as well as what I’m demonstrating to my kids. I’m convicted and challenged. Thanks for this great reminder to memorize for God’s glory and not my own.
    Lacinda Damsgard

  6. I’m about to write a blog post myself on Fighter Verses, and stumbled upon your post here. Great stuff. You’re so right that often our motives aren’t pure (ouch!), but God can still use His word in our hearts to transform us into who he wants us to be.

    Thanks!

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