About Chuck and Eileen Rife

Chuck Rife is a licensed professional counselor and marriage/family therapist who's worked with Total Life Counseling, Inc. of Roanoke, Virginia since 1988. Eileen Rife, a veteran homeschool mom of twenty years, works as a freelance writer, author, and speaker. Together, they conduct marriage seminars designed to grow godly marriages that last a lifetime! Chuck and Eileen are also certified to administer and evaluate the Prepare-Enrich assessment tool for couples.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Memorizing Scripture Together

Memorizing Scripture together may be at the bottom of the totem pole of activities you desire to do as a couple.  After all, it takes time, energy, focus, and brain power. All of which can be in short supply in today’s fast-paced culture.
Even couples who long for a closer relationship with the Lord and each other and are currently participating in quiet times together, find it difficult to impossible to practice Scripture memory.  It’s true; it takes discipline. But before you totally write it off as a lost cause, consider the benefits to you personally and to you as a couple. 

Why is Scripture memory important?

Memorizing Scripture creates a three-fold bond (you, your spouse, and the Lord).  You share a project, whether it involves one verse or twenty, that requires teamwork.  As with other life pursuits, you schedule in a time to come together and focus on the weekly passage.  Time in God’s Word strengthens the couple bond as you apply the Scripture to your life situation. We’ve also discovered how the memorized passage begins showing up in our prayers.  Another cool benefit. 

Memorizing Scripture invites the Holy Spirit to open your eyes. The more you read through a passage, the more keywords and phrases will begin to jump out. We’ve found this true even in familiar passages. Concepts we’d never thought about before suddenly take on new life when we purpose to memorize. The simple act of multiple readings is a form of meditating.  

Memorizing Scripture opens the door for discussion. As key words and phrases jump out, questions arise, too. This causes one or both of us to dig deeper into the meaning of words, historical background, and doctrinal considerations. Before long, we’re at the computer using The Power Bible or E.sword or pulling out a Bible study reference book. This is spontaneous enough not to be burdensome, and the excitement of discovering a new truth breeds shared joy. 

Memorizing Scripture gives you an arsenal of God’s Truth for the Holy Spirit to draw upon when you are under spiritual attack, need encouragement, reassurance, direction, comfort, or conviction in a certain area. This may be the most beneficial reason of all. We can’t use what we don’t know.  When we memorize, we store God’s Word in our minds, which the Holy Spirit can bring back as needed. We may not always have our Bibles with us, but we can carry Scripture in our minds and hearts. God often uses even a scrap of Scripture to guide our way. There is so much power in hiding God’s Word in our hearts. The very act is nourishing to the soul in a way that is only explained by the supernatural.

Memorizing Scripture can make you laugh! How many times we’ve taken a verse, accidentally added words from another passage, or used different words that in some way relate, but miss the point. This often results in a hardy belly laugh. Which, by the way, is good for overall health and wellbeing. And it brings us even closer as a couple. Of course, we make sure we go back and learn the verse correctly. 

Memorizing Scripture stimulates the brain. This is a good thing, especially as we grow older.  The practice requires focus and discipline, which exercises our brains, in much the same way as other forms of exercise work other muscles in the body. 

So, if Scripture memory is important, how do we do it?

First of all, decide on a verse, passage, or book. Don’t get stuck here. You may select a familiar verse(s) to get started. The book of John is a great place to start. Psalms is another. The important thing is pick something. One spouse may feel strongly led toward a certain verse, etc.  That’s okay.  When we recommitted to regular Bible memory this past fall, Eileen suggested the book of Philippians. A few years ago, we worked our way through Ephesians, which Chuck often uses in his counseling practice. The point is, choose something and jump in. 

Secondly, set a measurable goal. We’re currently memorizing the book of Philippians. Have been since October. This week, we started into chapter three. Generally, we tackle five verses a week. Most mornings of the week, we read through the set five times. Chuck is an auditory learner, so this works fairly well for him. Eileen is a visual learner, so paying attention to the words on the page is important to her. She circles key words and memorizes the opening word of each verse as Chuck reads out loud. At the end of the week, we take turns quoting as much as we can. If we still need help, we carry the same passage over into the next week. 

You can start with any number of verses you like. Start small and build your way up. If you shoot for too much in the early stages of Bible memory, you’ll only grow discouraged and give up. 

Thirdly, set a specific time to work on Bible memory. This is crucial. If you don’t have a plan, it won’t happen. Mornings along with our smoothies work well for us, right before Chuck leaves for work. We devote anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes for our couple quiet time most days of the week, except Sunday. 

Attaching Bible memory to an activity you already have in place, such as a meal, can be effective. Play around with what works for you. Again, shoot for a measurable goal. If you can’t do it every day, shoot for two – three days a week, or whatever works best for you. The point is, you can tailor-make a plan that suits you and accomplish your Bible memory goals little by little.  

Finally, reward yourselves when you meet your Bible memory goal. While learning God’s Word is reward enough, sometimes, especially in the early stages of developing the Bible-memory habit, it can be helpful to reward ourselves. Think of something you’d like to do as a couple to celebrate your accomplishment.  This will create a further bond between you as you look forward to your couple treat or outing. 

Prayerfully, you will take the first step, faltering though it may be, to begin memorizing Scripture. Let us know how we can help you. What are your concerns? Challenges? Fears? What might you do to get started? Leave a comment below.

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