Since we finished reading 1 Corinthians just last week, what do we do now? The reading plan was pretty clear that we finished, but so you know, you are allowed to return to 1 Corinthians. You can reread it to your heart’s content.
If you want some methods of review, here are a few.
You could read it. Slowly. Again. Not a complicated method. Maybe you could try a different version this time around.
You could use the Bible studies to go in-depth. Besides that link to the website, you can also download them all as one PDF here.
Using the Bible visualizations you can review the memory verses. We did this in our final meetings of the Bible study and tried to remember what the context of those verses were. It’s great to know these verses, but it is even better to remember why Paul was talking about Christ as our Passover lamb or why he talks about eating to the glory of God. Again, if you want to download them, here is a big (20 mb) PDF you can use.
Something else we did to review at our study was like a puzzle. I stripped 1 Corinthians of all its verses and chapter headings and then mixed up all the chapters. The goal was to be able to put the letter back in order. You can use this to try it out for yourself. I’d recommend stapling the few chapters that are two pages together so that you have sixteen units to put in order.
I read an article today that peaked my interest since I have been thinking about memorization a lot more recently. As I have emphasized much of the good associated with memorization (of which I think there is plenty), there can also be a downside. At times the focus is placed too heavily on recitation without any concern for understanding.
At The Atlantic, Ben Orlin writes an article titled When Memorization Gets in the Way of Learning that comes down pretty heavy-handed against memorization. But he does then seek to build it back up to be more useful. Some of what he says I might disagree with, partly because of the limited definition he places upon memorization, “learning an isolated fact through deliberate effort.” But I’d share his biggest concern, which is that memorization detaches what is memorized from a web of meaning and connections and context. Orlin writes:
Some things are worth memorizing–addresses, PINs, your parents’ birthdays. The sine of π/2 is not among them. It’s a fact that matters only insofar as it connects to other ideas. To learn it in isolation is like learning the sentence “Hamlet kills Claudius” without the faintest idea of who either gentleman is–or, for what matter, of what “kill” means. Memorization is a frontage road: It runs parallel to the best parts of learning, never intersecting. It’s a detour around all the action, a way of knowing without learning, of answering without understanding.
This relates directly to this week’s memory verse. The words we may know by heart that precede our taking of communion may already be memorized. But if we know the words without knowing the meaning and significance, what have we gained? It is the same concern with memorizing the creeds or a catechism. Or why would we memorize the Lord’s Prayer if you only do so that you can recite it with your brain turned off?
This isn’t to say memorization is bad. We just need to remember its place. I want memorization of Scripture to be a result of long meditation and thoughtful reflection. It should be a desire of ours to know these great passages of God’s Word so well that we can recall them even if our Bible isn’t around. The end goal really isn’t memorization. Memorization can be and should be a tool to help us learn and retain. As we do so we’ll only then gain a greater sense of awe and wonder at the goodness of our God.
How often have we heard the words spoken before the Lord’s Supper? And like with anything that becomes familiar, how often are they overlooked?
This week we come upon the words of institution for the sacrament of communion. These are words passed on to Paul that he has then given to the church. In choosing what the memory verses would be, I thought this would give us a good opportunity to memorize and study anew these words. Maybe memorizing them will be easy for some, since they are familiar. But even though we know the words, memorizing them is another story.
It’s the difference between hearing a song on the radio and being able to sing along and having no music playing and being able to sit down and write the lyrics. To be able to produce on our own these great words will help us to appreciate what can so easily be neglected.
As Paul looks back to the creation story, he wants to lift up the mutual interdependence between man and woman. While woman is born of man in Genesis as she is taken from his side, so too is man born of woman.
Here is a visualization to help learn and memorize this passage from 1 Corinthians 11.
This week we get into Paul’s final section on the issue of freedom and responsibility for the Christian. Much of the discussion has used the issue of food and food offered to idols as the backdrop and we return there in the latter half of chapter ten.
As you read these verses, try to make sense of them in light of the preceding couple chapters. What is Paul trying to get across?
If you are looking for some takeaway, our memory verse for this week is not a bad place to start.
This week’s memory verse from 1 Corinthians 10 was a verse I remember memorizing when I was a kid. It is from 1 Corinthians 10:13 and it says:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
This are hopeful words. We all face temptation and I think we are reminded here that even Jesus Christ, who became man, faced them, too. In the midst of temptation we should know that our God is faithful. He is with us and desires that we remain faithful to him, so he provides ways for us to resist temptation. It is not something we can do alone, but because he provides we do not have to be slaves to sin. We can endure because we can have patience to see it through that comes from our faith in Christ.
This is just a great verse to know by heart for God will encourage us with these words as we face the trials that surely will come in this life.
A good way to look back and review our readings is with our memory verses. I’d encourage you to reread the previous sections as much as you can as we work our way through 1 Corinthians, but these short verses can be a fine short cut.
If you haven’t memorized it, but have glanced as the visualizations and read through a few times, you may know more than you realize.
I’m going to put the verses below, but missing about half of the words. See how you do and if you’re able to fill in the blanks. I’ll leave it up to you to find your Bible and check your answers!
Week 1: 1 Corinthians 1:1-3
1 ________, called by the ________ ________ ________ to be an ________ of Christ Jesus, and our brother ________, 2 To the ________ of ________ that is in ________, to those ________ in Christ ________, called to be ________ together with ________ ________ who in every ________ ________ upon the name of ________ ________ ________ ________, both ________ ________ and ours: 3 ________ to you and ________ from ________ ________ ________ and the ________ ________ ________.
Week 2: 1 Corinthians 1:22-23
22 _______ demand ________ and ________ seek ________, 23 But we ________ ________ ________,
A ________ ________ to the ________ and ________ to the ________.
Week 3: 1 Corinthians 2:12
Now we have ________ not the ________ of the ________,
but ________ ________ who is from ________,
that we might ________ the ________ freely ________ us by ________.
Week 4: 1 Corinthians 3:6
I ________, Apollos ________, but God ________ ________ ________.
I heard on the radio yesterday that the average person looks at their phone 150 times a day. I heard it on the radio, and then I also was able to find it on the internet–so it must be true! Even if your own results may vary, I’m sure you are checking it many times every day. You check it for the time, for emails, for news, and of course, to make phone calls.
In hearing this little statistic I was given more reason to do something useful with my screen. I have already made Bible visualizations for your smartphone, but now I’m really thinking this can be a great way to memorize. Even if it is just a glance, 150 times a day is a lot. Do it for seven days a week, for each of our verses. That’ll add up quick.
These visualizations have more than words, so maybe when you quickly glance at this week’s image when you want to see if you’re running late, you may not read all the words. But you will see, again and again and again, a picture of the earth, a dove, and a gift. That alone helps us to remember the three points in this verse: that we don’t receive the spirit of the world, we receive the Holy Spirit, who helps us receive what is given by God. Imagine seeing that picture 150 times a day, over a thousand times a week. You’ll remember something of it for a long time.