Context and Bible Memory:  Going Deeper

Both memorizing whole chapters and books of the Bible and topical memory approaches have inherent ways to lose site of context and context is the biggest key to Bible interpretation!  Chapter and book memorization could lose context by being so slow that while you go super deep in one area, spending a whole year in a book, you don't have time for other parts of Scripture.  Topical approaches pull passages from various books but not in a way that gives consideration to the context of the chapters and books they are in.  Be A Tree's approach is to construct peg verses in every chapter of the Bible so that you have not only a tighter grip on individual thoughts and truths but on whole books of the Bible and can turn with confidence throughout the Scriptures as you use them.

Here is an example of an exercise you can do as an individual or a group after you have some begining mastery of your peg verses in a given book...

Once you’ve worked on a verse in each chapter of the book you are studying we want to go back and work on what ties it all together so we go deeper in the context and themes of the author.  Here are some steps for doing that.

2. Make notes of themes in the chapter you see next to each verse and also notes on what tie the chapters (and your verses) together in a logical flow.  Its ok if there seem like big shift where there isn’t as much connection…don’t force it.  Below is just an example of an hour or so of reading through the book making notes on connections around the verses and between them.  

3. Remember that thinking deeply about the connections between the passages and their themes is a form of meditation.  Thinking Biblically starts with not only using Biblical words but thinking in the same patterns of the books of Bible.  

4. At some point try to stop and walk through the argument of the book chapter by chapter with connections to your verses.  You can even try to walk through the book backwards or pick a chapter and think about the connections to the previous and following chapter. 

This type of exercise should help with remembering which passage goes with which reference (worry way less about the verse than the chapter). 

Note:  Printing your verses up just gives you extra space to take notes.  You can do the same thing in your Bible with each of your memory verses highlighted in yellow and your notes and arrows in pen.  In fact, I highly recommend that you spend time in your verses in your paper Bible every day and combine reviewing them with noticing the context around them and in between them.  You should definitely get back in the habit of taking your Bible with you every, work, coffee shops.  Having your Bible which is being weaved into your thinking with you will help push God's truth out of the private space of your life and into the public space of his created world.  This will make witness a more natural part of your day as well.