For many years Isabella wrote a popular advice column for a Christian magazine. She used the column to answer readers’ questions on a variety of topics.
In 1916 a Sunday-school teacher wrote to Isabella about a unique problem.
Here is her letter:
I want to know if you think there is any use in a woman past thirty—who has never been in the habit of committing to memory—trying to learn Bible verses by heart? Our pastor wants the Sabbath-school children trained to commit their lessons to memory, or at least to commit a verse a day, and he wants the teachers to set them an example; but I find it very hard to do, never having been accustomed to it. Would you say you couldn’t?
Here is the advice Isabella gave her:
Indeed, I would not. There is every use in it, and there is no good reason why you should not conquer and be far richer in your own life, as well as being able to set a good example.
Nearly all Bible verses are capable of careful analysis, and the finding out exactly what they say goes a long way toward fixing the word on the memory. Let me illustrate by the verse I am memorizing this morning, Romans 1:5:
“Through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations, for his name’s sake.”
Notice those four short words: “Through,” “unto,” “among,” “for.” They are pegs on which the thoughts hang. My attention once called to them, my mind naturally asks questions:
Through what? Unto what? Among whom? For what?
Getting those four statements fastened to their connecting word gave me the verse. And what an amazing verse it is! Well worth memorizing, and living by. Already this morning I have several times been reminded that my tardy and faulty obedience is due to my lack of faith in God’s assured word. I need to pray for the “obedience of faith.”
I must not take time to talk about my verses. This is only to illustrate how readily they can be picked to pieces in a way to aid the memory.
One thought I must add: Don’t fail to memorize chapter and verse. I have spent precious hours in looking for the whereabouts of verses with which I was perfectly familiar.