Memorizing in Context

31 days badgeFor years I memorized single verses:  John 3:16, Hebrews 12:4, I John 1:9, etc.  You get the picture.  When you memorize a passage, chapter or a whole book, you are memorizing in context.  One verse that I memorized and have quoted to myself over and over is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  Having a bad day.  Philippians 4:13.  Feeling sick, but you still have to go to work.  Philippians 4:13.  Don’t feel like you have the ability to do a task that you’ve been given.  Philippians 4:13.  Walking 15km around a lake.  Philippians 4:13.  While this may be true, the context of that verse is somewhat different.  I realized this recently when I memorized Philippians 4:6-13 during a recent Bible study that I was doing.  In verse 6, we’re told not to worry, but to pray and give thanks.  In verse 7, we find that if we do this we will have a peace that passes all understanding.  Verse 8 tells what we should be thinking  about instead of worrying.  In verses 11 and 12, Paul is talking about being content in some very trying circumstances.  Then we come to Philippians 4:13.  The context of ‘doing all things through Christ’ is that of contentment.   If you continue to read the rest of the chapter, you come to verse 19 which states, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  This was very eyeopening for me.  I can trust instead of worry.  I can think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report.  I can be content when I have enough and when I don’t.  I can do all this “through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

until tomorrow…

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2 thoughts on “Memorizing in Context

  1. I love memorizing passages for this very reason. The have a deeper sense than just the meaning of the words, when thought about in context. For example, the epistles written by Paul from the prison in Rome. Also, the flow of the verses. Sometimes Paul’s flow is hard for me to follow. The length of time it takes to memorize a passage or book, enables me to understand more than just the words. Sometimes I don’t get the connection between verses until I’ve been working on them for awhile. {I’m not sure this makes sense — hard to get into words.} Your practical explanation of Philippians 4 is great. {I’m just finishing Philippians 3 — getting ready to start chapter 4.}

  2. I agree – it’s valuable and eye-opening to memorize in context. A few years ago I was reading a devotional by F. B. Meyer which coupled the end of Phil 4:5 (The Lord is at hand”) with verse 6 & 7 – it’s because He is at hand that I can be anxious for nothing. As mush as I am a stickler for context, I had never heard those put together like that before or saw the connection myself. I’m so glad God can keep showing us things even out of familiar passages.

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