From autumn 2004 - The Topical Memory System (Book Review)
Many Christians have found Scripture memory helpful, including Brother Yun, author of The Heavenly Man, and Frances Ridley Havergal (1836–1879) who wrote the hymn ‘Take my life and let it be’. Given that the average person spends seven years just waiting about, for example on the tube train, this provides a great opportunity to memorise Scripture.
In the 1930s Dawson Trotman founded the Navigators, a Christian organisation committed to helping believers establish a living relationship with Christ. Today they work in a wide variety of contexts including universities, schools, churches and the workplace, and were previously involved in a number of large scale missions including the Billy Graham crusades, where the Navigators played a crucial role in following up converts.
The organisation developed the Topical Memory System (TMS), which was published as a book, providing a cheap, simple and direct method for memorising Scripture. Even so, the book struck me by stating that it takes two months to learn a new verse perfectly.
The TMS is designed to help you do this. It is divided into two halves: the first gives the basis for memorising Scripture, and the second is the actual TMS. The first half starts with the why and how of memorising Scripture. It goes on to give reasons for doing this, including God’s commands in Joshua 1:8 to meditate on the ‘Book of the Law’; that it enriches fellowship with other Christians; that it helps us in telling others about the Lord; that it provides a defence against temptation and sin; that it helps us in living the Christian life; and that it helps us to claim God’s promises. The memory verses are arranged under five topics, thus helping the learner.
The second half is the meat of the book - the TMS itself. This consists of 60 Bible verses printed on tear-out cards - twelve under each of the above topics. They are in two translations (NIV and Good News), so that either version can be used for memory. The aim is to begin learning one verse thoroughly every week, which can be added to a plastic wallet provided with the pack. These are then reviewed on a daily basis.
The book is an excellent way to start memorising Scripture. I had the privilege of being given a forerunner of this book in my early Christian life and I was hooked! I am personally helped every day as I review and meditate on the various verses I have learned.
The TMS is available from the CMF office (email@example.com) and I am very happy to come and speak at CMF or CU meetings on Scripture memory.
CMF Pastoral Secretary