1/1/20 Romans 8:1-2

For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Today begins a long journey to memorize the book of Romans in one year. I’ve never undertaken something similar to this. The largest searches of Bible I’ve ever memorized are the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23. I hope that this experience will transform various areas of my life. I hope that daily blogging and memorization (to the extent of an entire book of the Bible) will be good for my brain and neuroplasticity (or whatever they call it). But to be perfectly honest, I hope this process transforms my spiritual life as well. I’ve been a little bit dry recently.

A controlled experiment

I will be experimenting with various methods as I seek to memorize as much as possible. Some will be ordinary and orthodox, and others will be very unorthodox indeed. Nevertheless, I want to keep a few things constant so that I can measure how well the different methods succeed–or fail.

I have had the most memorization-related luck with mnemonics. You know, like R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. to memorize the colors of the rainbow, or Even George Bush Drives Fast to memorize the line notes in treble clef. I use the same method to study for college tests. I plan to use mnemonic devices for memorizing pretty much the whole way throughout this adventure.

I also believe in the power of forced recall. That is, I memorize things the best when I force myself to recall it at various times of the day. For our purposes, I will try to recall the daily verses every hour, on the hour, from 9:00 to 5:00.

Romans has 16 books, so I will (here’s hoping) memorize a book a month. By the end of the process–say, October–I hope to be adept enough at this whole memorization thing that I can double up on chapters for the last four months. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. At the beginning of each month, I’ll divide the chapter into manageable chunks, to be memorized daily except Saturday.

I’m going to start with Romans 8 (more on that later), which has 38 verses. Some days, the verses will be fairly short, and I’ll endeavor to memorize two or three at a time. Some days, like tomorrow, one verse will more than occupy my attention.

Daily Format

I’m not entirely sure how all this is going to work. I’ve mulled over various formats. I may post once a day and have different time stamps for my thoughts throughout the day. Say,

6:25

The verses I’m memorizing today are…the mnemonic device I’ll be using is…

6:15

I’ve been struggling to memorize this part of the verse today. However, the process has begun to yield dividends. Each time I tried to recall the verse, I remembered…

Something like that. Or maybe I’ll just post multiple times a day if I have thoughts at various junctures. It’s not entirely important; I’ll organize this blog as I organize my thoughts.

The two most important parts of this blog: memorization technique for the day, and devotional thoughts for the day

Absolutely, no matter what, positively–until I change my mind–I will include a daily section on how to memorize the scripture chunk of the day. I will also include devotional thoughts about that chunk, usually after a day of mulling it over and try to recall it at the top of each hour.

Today is fairly simple for me: I’ve heard the first verse enough to know “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Check. But the next part is a little harder: “For through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” I try to simplify mnemonics as much as possible, because I can often remeber quite a bit by recalling just one letter of an acronym. So, for this verse (I confess that I actually memorized it a couple of weeks ago), I succeeded with remembering only: “LSL has set you free from LSD.” Weird. Quirky. Potentially uncouth (is it though?). But it has worked.

So, to memorize these two verses, all really needed to remember was “no condemnation” and “LSL/LSD.” Try to memorize just those two little tidbits. I bet they’ll take you further than you might think.

(I will often add something else into the mix. Perhaps a new tool or technique for memorization that I learned from a book. Or perhaps a technique I picked up from studying for the LSAT. But today, and maybe for most of this month, we’re sticking with the bread ‘n butter: Mnemonics and hourly recall.

What do these verses mean, though? They mean the world. Seriously. We are as good as dead, but Christ made us alive. I’m too sleep-deprived to discuss this much further, but we’ll have plenty of time as Paul expounds elsewhere on this all-important theme. Trust me this dead/alive dichotomy is one of my favorites. One of these days, I’ll just riff.

Concluding thoughts for the first day

I want to introduce a lot more material to this blog. I want to dig more into my reasons for it and what I want to takle throughout this year. But I just spent last night in Times Square for New Years Eve, and I’m ready for bed. No condemnation here.

TL;DR

  • For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    • Becomes “No condemnation”
  • For through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
    • Becomes “LSL has set you free from LSD”
      • Becomes “LSL/LSD”

“No Condemnation” + “LSL/LSD” = Romans 8:1-2

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