A few years ago, I embarked on a life-changing journey of intensive scripture memory, memorizing several books of the New Testament, word for word, and letting God transform my heart and my mind in the process. You can read all about it in my four-part series, “Mind Full, Mind Change” on this blog— have a peek if you haven’t already! Ever since, I’ve been tooting the horn of “Memorize Books!”, and I know a few of you have taken up the challenge, or at least expressed interest in doing so.
I’m not here to blow that horn again, at least not too much, though I’m still a fervent believer in long memory work and wish everyone would give it a try. I promise it will change you!
The most frequent question I get, besides “How did you do it?”, is this: “Do the Scriptures stick after you move on to other verses and books, or do they slip away?” The answer is, mostly they stick, but not entirely. Some passages are indelibly carved in my brain, and when those ones start to fade, I’ll know the dementia I fear is upon me.
More specifically, the early chapters tend to stick, word perfect, because I end up reviewing them more than the later chapters. (I work on one chapter at a time, but as I add new chapters, I keep reviewing the previous ones.) The longest book I’ve memorized so far, the Book of Hebrews, is a case in point:
Chapters 1 to 6: no problem. Chapters 7 to 9, filled with discourse about high priests, sacrifices, covenants, and temple décor: needs periodic review, which I’m doing these days. Chapters 11 to 13: awesome chapters, but they too need some mental shoring up.
Fortunately, I enjoy revisiting and recommitting these sections to memory as much as I enjoyed memorizing them the first time around, if not more. (Like wine, cheese, and good friends, they just get better with age!) I only wish there were more hours to devote to reviewing AND adding more content. I’m itching to memorize Romans next.
Which brings me to my point. As I hiked my favorite mountain today– a lovely nearby dome with a tower atop— pondering Hebrews yet again, I thought about how much meditating I’ve done as I hike. Not that every thought is profound or even original…but they’re well-brewed, and steeped in long reflection.
And then I thought, Why not share my insights with you? Why not blog my way through Hebrews, putting my thoughts to paper (or screen) ? Why not toss my mental breadcrumbs on the public path, where curious birds can sample and peck, and perhaps share back with me…?
Why not, indeed.
Let me tell you what this series will and won’t be. It won’t be an in-depth exegesis, digging through the Greek lexicon and connecting every other verse related to the topic. (That would take forever, and others have already written those commentaries and tomes.) In other words, it won’t be hardcore Bible study—at least not much.
But it won’t be a breezy stroll through the park, either. I’ve pondered these passages on very vigorous mountain hikes, and my thoughts, while joyful and expansive, aren’t usually lightweight. After all, as encouraging and faith-building as Hebrews is, it’s also dense with instruction— and written primarily as a warning.
The audience addressed in Hebrews were in danger of drifting away, getting discouraged, and wanting to return to their old religion—to the writer’s dismay. It’s packed with warnings and examples, urging believers to re-examine their faith, in light of the Old Testament, and hold even tighter to Jesus.
So it can’t be light. But it can be nourishing, and deeply satisfying.
Also, I may get a little preachy at times, but it won’t be anything I haven’t preached to myself first.
Anyway, here’s my invite. My blog posts tend to be longer than average posts (around 1000 words), and perhaps my word count costs me some readers. I won’t apologize for that! Make yourself a coffee and read when you have some minutes to relax. I won’t waste your time with mindless fluff, I promise!
So…why not join me as I climb my favorite mountain?
Hopefully, our hikes will deliver something your spirit needs, as they always do for me.
I’m excited to start. Are your shoes tied and ready? Did you remember the sunscreen?
(Just a preliminary disclaimer: I won’t be consulting any commentaries or other writings about Hebrews during this hike; all thoughts are my own, based on things I’ve learned over the years. So if you take issue with my observations, take it up with me…kindly 🙂