Just a couple of articles ago I wrote about the importance of remembering Jesus. However, the memory and remembering thing is not quite out of my system, so I want to address the matter in a little more detail.
Both Old and New Testaments of the Bible emphasize the importance of remembering what God has done in our lives. The NIV version of the Bible uses the word “remember” 167 times. Deuteronomy 6:12 says, “Take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt…” Jesus established the institution of the Last Supper with the stated purpose that we should do this to “remember Him”. The apostle Paul commended the Corinthian believers for remembering what he had taught them (1 Corinthians 11:2).
Research done in the area of memory retention reveals that after a 24 hour period of time we are able to remember, with a degree of accuracy, 5 per cent of what we hear, 15 per cent of what we read, 35 per cent of what we study and 100 per cent of what we memorize.
Some would say that memorization is not the best way of learning. I suspect this may be true of rote memorization, if employed simply as a mindless repetitive procedure. However, while the study did not address meditation, I believe that meditating or thinking upon what we have heard, read or memorized enhances retention, but also results in increased learning and greater comprehension. I believe this to be particularly true of the memorization of and meditation upon the Scripture. Psalm 1:2,3 says of those engaging in this practice “…they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted by the riverbank…”
In my first year of ministry a lady asked me to visit her husband in a nursing home and mentioned that his memory was weak. She had dramatically understated the matter, for I found a man in his mid-60s whose memory, as a result of advanced Alzheimer’s, had been all but obliterated. He could not tell me where he had worked or where his home was. Struggling to carry on a conversation, I finally asked him to share with me anything that came to his mind. He told me that he remembered his wife, her name and Jesus and that they both loved him and he quoted a Bible verse (this man was known for his faithfulness in memorizing Scripture). I thanked him and commended him for remembering such important things and we talked about his wife, Jesus and the Bible verse. I remember thinking that if I was left with only fragmentary bits of information I would want to remember the same things that this man did.
“Remember your Creator while you are young, before the bad times come – before the years come when you say, ‘I have wasted my life.’” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).