Raise your hand if you still have to sing the books of the Bible to help you navigate the pages of your Sword (raising hand). I say “still” because there is often a negative connotation for adults who still use songs to help remember such important things! Our children’s classes and Bible booster programs are filled with singing to help kids learn Bible stories, facts, and scripture. The truth is, no matter our age, we never outgrow the advantage that song can provide when it comes to memorization. Whether it’s sung or said, the information is still remembered. Consider these reasons why song can truly benefit us when it comes to hiding God’s word in our hearts.
It aids retention.
It’s easy to memorize a chunk of information in preparation for a test, but how long do you remember it afterward? You may not remember any of the memory verses that you learned for Bible bowl in middle school, but the moment you hear your favorite jam from 8th grade on the radio, all of the lyrics flood into your brain. If you’ve never used song to help memorize scripture, it’s probably already helped you more than you think! Take a look at this list of songs that are straight from scripture. You likely know many by heart!
It improves meditation.
Memorizing is one thing. Mulling over the words in your head, grasping their meaning and how they apply to your life is another. Songs aid meditation through one simple means – they get stuck in your head. The tune that I wake up to first thing in the morning rolls around in my head while I’m doing breakfast dishes, and it’s still there when I fix lunch. What if the lyrics were entire passages of scripture? I can meditate on the characteristics of earthly vs. spiritual wisdom or consider whether I’m truly being impartial in my dealings with others – all while making a sandwich. (James 2, 3: 13-18) If you’ve never learned whole sections of scripture in this way, consider using Hannah’s Hundred to learn the whole book of James! When you use song with scripture, not only will you commit it to memory, you’ll commit it to your heart!
It emphasizes emotion.
As a preacher’s wife, I’ve been to many funerals of people who I was not necessarily close to. Whether I knew the person or not, when that slide show of pictures with the sentimental music comes on, it gets me every time! We are emotional creatures, and music has a way of bringing those emotions to the surface. Speaking specifically for scripture, when music is written with the purpose exalting the text, emotion in the words can be more easily heard. Sadness, love, urgency, vengeance, and even contrasts, repetitions, or questions and answers within the same context can become more apparent. When song and scripture are combined it can truly prick the heart!
If you are reading and studying through the Psalms with Come Fill Your Cup this year and you’d like to use song to help memorize some of it, here is a tool to help. My husband, a songwriter in his spare time, writes hymns, Bible fact songs, and puts the words of some of the Psalms to music. We’ve used these acapella songs in our family Bible time to help us hide God’s word in our hearts. It’s not just for the kids! Posted below is a recording of Psalm 1. I hope it blesses you and your family as you aim root yourself in God’s word! When music and scripture are combined, it can impact us in a way that no secular song ever could. With memorization, meditation, and emotion, it truly becomes a song for the heart!
Written By: Kathryn Baker
Kathryn is married to Andy Baker who preaches for the Maud church of Christ in Maud, TX. She stays at home with their 3 children. In her spare time, she enjoys food (both cooking and eating!), gardening, and taking their Boston terrier for walks.