Audio File Download: Episode 010
In this episode I want to talk about memorizing Scripture. It’s a habit I undertook back in the early 2000’s while working at a car wash. When things were slow, especially in the evenings, I would pull out my Bible and work on verses, reading them again and again and then quizzing myself until I had them committed to memory.
It was a difficult but also very rewarding undertaking. But, because of a comment by Billy Graham I abandoned the practice until recently taking it up again.
So, let’s jump in and see why I want to memorize Scripture, how I go about it, and why I stopped for so long…..
Why I Want to Memorize Scripture
Like I said, back in the 2000s I spent quite a bit of time memorizing sections of Scripture. I remember sitting on an overturned bucket outside the car wash building, a Bible and a bookmark in hand to cover the passage I was working on. I would read it again and again until I thought I had it, then would cover the section to test myself. With this process I memorized Isaiah 53, Psalm 2, and Psalm 23. But before I went on to any others I caught an interview with Billy Graham on tv one night.
He was in his 90’s at least and he made the comment in the interview that he’d devoted his life to memorizing Scripture only to later in life forgetting a lot of what he’d memorized.
It was at that point that I realized what a futile effort memorizing Scripture was, especially since, at that time, there was no substantive signs on the horizon that the end times would be coming only a short twenty years later. Back then I was hard pressed to imagine a realistic scenario where America would forfeit it’s freedoms and rights for socialism or any other kind of radical anti-god religion described in the Bible as the great “falling away.”
But, twenty years later, and here we are. The American church is all but completely compromised, either by intersectionality or by liberal theology and allegory, or by modern denominational traditions. Literally nothing the protestant evangelical church does today has a direct connection to the biblical account. From her nicolatian style professional clergy to her obsession with assets and money to her watered down theologies in an attempt to satisfy everyone to build bigger and bigger organizations, there is no longer an honest assessment of modern Christianity that can come away with any other assessment other than “fallen away.”
This is why I’ve decided to make Scripture memorization a major focus going forward, to memorize as much of the Bible as I possibly can. Because, if it is true that the end is near, and the time of sorrows is at hand, and even more so, if there are several years between now and the return of Christ (or worse, the rapture is not pre but mid or post), that means biblical Christians in America could quickly face severe persecution in the near future and suffer under it for an unspecified amount of time (maybe even another 1000 years).
As we see from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, one of the first things they started looking for was copies of Bibles or Bible apps on peoples’ phones. This means our phones will not be safe places to store a Bible in the future. It means print Bibles will be outlawed. The same will be true of meeting together and reading the Bible or sharing the truth about Christ. The only safe place then left (so far, this may not be safe in the future) is in our own heads.
In the underground church in China memorization is said to be a major tactic to smuggle the Bible to the people. With sometimes a whole congregation only having one Bible in common between tens, maybe hundreds of people, individuals are often tasked with the job of memorizing whole passages, chapters, and books and to then go to neighboring towns and recite what they’ve memorized to other groups meeting in secret.
Where I live on the West Coast, despite living in a very rural area, conservativism is quite low here. Individualism is the main theme here, whereas in the major cities it is socialism wearing liberal democratic masks. I’m certain if the country falls, splits up, or erupts into civil war, the Western states will band together under authoritarian rule and will sweep me along with it. They may expel us, but more likely they will imprison us or just outright murder us in the streets.
So, if it is God’s will for a witness to remain here in this region after America falls, I will do my part now to memorize as much of the Bible as I can so I have it to give to others when it’s needed most.
The Process I’m Using Today
It’s a little different process today that I’m using. Previously I memorized Scripture by way of rote memorization, brute force of repetition and random recitation. This time I’m trying to leverage technology as much as I can to speed the process up.
First I’m reading a book by someone who had committed large portions of the Bible to memory already. The book is An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture by Andrew M. Davis. Although I’ve started reading it, I’ve also stalled and failed to make much progress.
Second, I’m using a technique called “first-letter memorization” to aid in remembering large sections. This is built into the android app, Remember Me, which is similar to the LOGOS memorization engine that I started with. After I read the verse or section several times, I then turn on the first-letter feature and it displays the passage with just the first letter of each word showing. I attempt to remember it, read it out loud word by word or in sections, then click the button to reveal each word. There is also a feature where it displays only blanks for each word and I have to type it. If I get it wrong it presents the correct one. I intend to use this later on for maintenance.
I returned to the NKJV several months ago as my primary text. I did this because of the determination to start memorizing passages again (since the other chapters I’ve already memorized are in the NKJV) and because the large print Bible I have stored at the Eden property (which will eventually be hidden in an underground cache along with external drives full of lectures and books, as well as a print version of the Apostolic Bible Polyglot Interlinear). Since this cache will be inside the perimeter of my camp proper, I may decide to establish a second cache outside of my camp, maybe in the valley somewhere for the sake of redundancy.
My hope is to eventually to replace my Bible reading devotionals 3 times a day with Recitation of chapters and passages and books I’ve committed to memory. A significant part of my believes this should be my main focus above all other tasks for my research, especially since I think my research into death and personal eschatology may be coming to a close. This would be paired with my systematic, book by book study using the KI course materials, and then finishing the course work listed in the uThM study plan. I would like to finish this in two years, but I’m not certain there is enough time remaining for this. Only God knows.
Troubles in Paradise
To be completely honest, though, I’m really floundering in my efforts here. Part of the reason why I was able to memorize at my old job was there was really nothing to do when it was slow and was often very boring just sitting there, sometimes for an hour or more in a single setting. But today, with my main computer small enough to slip into my pocket, I literally have something available to do 24 hours a day. Even when I’m in a remote part of the woods blazing trails or exploring, I can take a break, pull out my phone, and start watching tv or read a book or write an email or listen to a podcast. These things are easy and quick and the actual process of memorization is difficult and hard. It is painful to push those words into my brain and for them to be recorded. Once they are recorded in long-term memory, though, they are quite easy to recall and are quite enjoyable to meditate on throughout the day.
So, really it comes down to what Jesus said: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Maybe the idea that there is a genuine purpose for memorizing that goes beyond just doing it to do it, in that God could possibly use it in the future to bring the whole counsel of God to a generation of believers who have maybe never actually seen or read a Bible before. It may have nothing to do with me at all save for a delivery mechanism to the next generation. It is quite possible that the Bible could be systematically purged from America or large parts of it in the future. Just within a few years print Bibles and digital Bibles could be all but gone. In just one or two generations it could be wiped out from the common consciousness.
I pray the rapture would come before the end begins. But I will prepare as if I must remain and endure.
Passages I’m Currently Memorizing
As I already stated, I have Isaiah 53, Psalm 2, and Psalm 23 memorized. Now I’m starting with Romans 8, though I’m only on the first verse. I plan to memorize large portions but not necessarily everything (for the sake of expediency). I am weighting Scripture passages according to theological importance. The large sections of history in the Old Testament I will most likely memorize as a summary rather than word for word. The synoptic gospels I plan to summarize together and memorize certain important aspects. John I will memorize important areas of difference between it and the synpotics. Paul’s letters, of course, I will memorize large portions of. Revelation I hope to memorize in full.
The one motivation that I keep bringing up to myself is it won’t matter if I spent the next 20 years memorizing the entire Bible and then die or am raptured without using the passages I’ve worked so hard to implant into my brain. I think at the resurrection this will all be available to me. Yes, it is possible everyone in heaven will simply know the Scriptures from front to back. But I don’t think so. I think hiding the word of God in my mind will have great benefits in the future and in the afterlife. If nothing else, even if all there is after death is nothingness, at least I will be able to recite Scripture with my dying breath (if I remember it that is).
Passages On Deck
Once I get going and have an established habit, I plan to memorize the following passages:
1 Samuel 23:1-13
1 Kings 22:19-23
So, this is my plan of attack to memorize large sections of the Bible, as much as I possibly can between now and the Rapture or my death or my incarceration in a work camp or “quarantine center.” If God makes provision for me to hide in the woods or in and around the Eden property in the future, then my memorization efforts can continue with the large print Bible, even if my eyesight continues to wane as I get older. I will not have use of my phone or the external drives if I’m in hiding simply because I will not have access to gas for the generator, which I am fine with. This is the main reason I purchased a large-print NKJV and also kept my Apostolic Bible Polyglot (though I do need to get a magnifying glass for the ABP). The print is rather small, but I like the LXX/MT combination eclectic text with interlinear. It is the closest thing I’ve found to a print version of the Bible the apostle’s and first and second century church used.
Since there were no questions sent in this week, that is it. If you have any questions about this episode or have a Bible or theology or philosophy question you would like to ask me, or just want to leave me a comment you can do so by emailing me at email@example.com or your can leave a comment on the show notes post on the website at isaachunterthewriter.com. If you want to support this podcast, please consider buying one or more of my fiction books. Just head over to the website and you can find them all listed there on the front page with excerpts and links to where they can be purchased.
Until we meet together again….be well.
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Excerpt from Ashen Monk Mountain:
There was an old elm tree near the end of the lawn, with a circular picnic table and several short benches.
“This looks like a lovely spot,” Mr. Eckey said, taking a seat.
He set his briefcase on the picnic table and flipped the latches, opening the lid.
Christopher took a seat opposite him and removed his hood, folding his arms in front of him.
“I have a tablet and a pen here somewhere,” Mr. Eckey said. “I had it when I left, that is. Not sure if I can find it in this disorganized briefcase of mine…”
He chuckled at himself.
“So – ”
Christopher ran a hand over his short cropped scalp.
“I’m confused about all this. I’m not sure I understand why exactly you wanted to meet with me.”
Mr. Eckey nodded.
“How long have you been a novitiate here?”
“Going on seven months now.”
He glanced up at Christopher as he fetched his notebook and ink pen.
“How are you liking it at Saint Joseph’s?”
“It has been – ”
Christopher thought about the question for a moment.
“ – wonderful.”
“I would assume it much different than – ”
Mr. Eckey flipped the first page over, scanned handwritten notes he had on the second page.
“I received some background from the Precept’s office, as well as from Abbot Greenly. You grew up in – North Platte, Nebraska? Is that correct?”
“I’m native of the Boston area myself,” Mr. Eckey said. “Tell me a little about how you came to the decision.”
Mr. Eckey smiled.
“To become a monk. It must have been quite a journey from Nebraska.”
“Not really. I guess. I just – ”
Unwanted images flashed through his mind.
Mr. Eckey took a deep breath before speaking again.
“Mr. Ward, I don’t actually know a whole lot about this request, to be perfectly honest. As you know, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life – that’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it – we are entrusted with monitoring abnormal behavior among those called to the consecrated vocation.”
He tapped his pen on the tablet.
“Tell me, what do you like about Saint Joseph’s exactly?”
“It’s the – well – I feel at home here. Like I belong. I very much enjoy the silence.”
“Yes, I know the Trappists to be quite ardent in their devotion.”
Christopher nodded in agreement as Mr. Eckey took a few notes.
“I enjoy the early mornings, the worship, the offices. The undivided devotion.”
“To God?” Mr. Eckey asked.
“Yes,” Christopher said. “Exactly.”
The stranger focused on his notes for several seconds, silently mouthing the words he wrote.
“Tell me, how does your life now differ from your previous one?”
Mr. Eckey stopped writing.
“Your military career.”
“Oh,” Christopher said, looking down. “I guess – I – I don’t know. There are lots of differences. I’m not – sure I – what is this inquiry about exactly?”
Mr. Eckey put his pen down.
“Mr. Ward,” he said. “The Vatican apparently has interest in your particular gifts and abilities for a – call it – a special appointment. I guess that’s the best way to put it.”
He shifted his weight on the hard bench.
“Normally, the Congregation does not get involved in appointments or a particular monk’s vocational choices. But, sometimes, when the need arises, special arrangements can be made.”
“Are you talking about another monastery?”
“Actually – ”
Mr. Eckey picked his pen back up.
“It’s an entirely different Order.”
Christopher leaned forward as a gust of wind billowed the long sleeves of his tunic.
“I don’t really understand,” he said. “Are you saying the Vatican wants me to move to a different monastery – to a different Order? But…I…”
Mr. Eckey waited a moment.
“Tell me, Mr. Ward, about your military training.”
“What about it?”
“Your experiences. You were a special operator, is that correct?”
Christopher shot him a quizzical look.
“How do you know that?”
“You were part of the 7th SFG? Assigned to operations in Afghanistan for the majority of your enlistment, surrendering your commission as a Captain. Is that correct? What did you like or dislike about your military career? Why was it you left?”
Christopher looked out over the cornfields in the distance.
“Sir,” he said, wringing his hands together. “I don’t really understand why you’re asking these kinds of questions. To be honest, they’re making me a little uncomfortable. I think I – ”
“Please, Brother Christopher,” Mr. Eckey said, putting up a hand. “I don’t mean to pry. As I said, this is a peculiar and rather sensitive situation, not at all normal procedure. So, I do apologize for my rather tactless approach. Let me explain a little, if I can – ”
Christopher tried to relax.
He struggled to repress the memories rising in the back of his mind, the bloody and gruesome images of dead bodies, a horrible, yet all too familiar wave of fear and dread washing over him.
A wave of putrid death enveloped and permeated everything.
He took a deep breath, tried to ignore it.
Mr. Eckey put down his pen again.
“There is a remote monastery in British Colombia. It is of a separate Order, not Cistercian, but similar. It’s rather distinctive, as I am led to believe.”
“What is the Order?” Christopher asked.
Mr. Eckey shook his head.
“You would not be familiar with it,” he said. “There is actually only one monastery in the Order. But it has had a long, and quite fascinating history, to say the least. And, somewhat of a fantastic service.”
“So, why me, then?” Christopher asked. “I’m a novitiate. I don’t have much to offer. I’m not sure what you are asking of me.”
“The Vatican is asking a favor of you, Brother Ward. They are requesting that you take a leave of absence from Saint Joseph’s and visit this other monastery for a time.”
“I’m – I don’t – ”
“I’m honored that the Vatican has called on me,” he said. “I really do feel settled here, though. I would not wish to – ”
Mr. Eckey interrupted.
“Consider it simply a sabbatical of sorts. Without strings attached. We are interested solely in God’s working here in this matter.”
“Are you wanting me to relocate?” Christopher asked.
Mr. Eckey smiled.
“How about we say the Vatican is open and interested in the Father’s call on your life. We simply wish to – test the waters – see if this would or would not be a good fit.”
“So, if I go, and it is not a good fit?”
“Your place here at Saint Joseph’s would be available to you at any time you see fit. Like I said, no strings attached.”
“I would not feel comfortable going without Abbot Greenly’s blessing,” Christopher said.
“You have it,” Mr. Eckey said, his smile widening.
Christopher said nothing.
“Think of it as a vacation. Though, if I’m hearing you correctly, you really are in no need of one. But, then again…. ”
The man shrugged.
“May I – ”
Christopher pondered his words.
“Is it possible to consider this awhile before I decide?”
“Certainly,” Mr. Eckey said. “Because of the situation, though, we would need you to go sooner than later. Is there anything upcoming that you are thinking about in particular?”
Christopher shook his head.
“No,” he said. “I would just like to sit with this for a day or two. Pray about it. How long would the visit be?”
“As long as you need to decide,” Mr. Eckey said. “Preferably a month to start. Longer is encouraged. Like I said, it is a unique situation, so tradition does not really lend itself easily. But, I would ask – ”
He put his notepad and pen back in his briefcase and closed the lid.
“Because of the sensitive nature, the Vatican has requested that you do not discuss this with anyone except me. Not the other monks here, your family, not even Abbot Greenly.”
“But, how – ”
Mr. Eckey put up a hand.
“I’m heading back to discuss the situation with Abbot Greenly before I leave the grounds. He will certainly not have an objection. Not that I can imagine, anyway.”
He fished out a business card from the inside pocket of his blazer.
“Here is my contact information,” he said, handing him the card. “You can reach me on my cell phone any time. Whenever you decide, one way or the other. There is a great need, though, so I do hope you will consider at least visiting.”
Christopher took the card, looked at it, then looked up at Mr. Eckey.
“What kind of need, exactly?”
The man just smiled.
“All in due time,” he said. “Just let us know as soon as you are able.”
Christopher looked back at the card.
“Thank you, Brother Ward, for your time. I do think I can find my way back to the abbot’s office from here.”
He briefly looked around the grounds.
“I do envy you a little,” he said. “What a majestic space you monks have created here. It’s like a slice of Eden. Really.”
He got up, shook Christopher’s hand, then left him there alone, as the stranger retraced his steps to the abbot’s office.
Christopher took a deep breath, then sighed.
The wave of putrid death still lingered as another wind gust blew across the fields, dredging up memories he would have altogether wished could have remained buried, soaking him again in the blood of the past.
He stayed there for a long time, just watching as the endless sea of cornfields waved in the winds.
Buy my book Ashen Monk Mountain to find out what this cryptic and mysterious appointment is the Vatican is asking Christopher to take on. An unheard of monastery, hidden deep in the Canadian Rockies? A secret mission and call? What in the world could be going on?
Click here and grab your copy today! Whatever you do, don’t let this fantastically epic story get away!
But, trust me when I say, you’re not going to believe the truth even when you discover it for yourself. Find out what secrets lay hidden underfoot at Ashen Monk Mountain!