Praise to the Lord, the Almighty is up next on YouTube. This song is an old school hymn published in 1680. I haven’t heard this song in decades, but I can sing along. Somewhat surprised, I close YouTube and try to sing the song again. The lyrics to all four verses come back easily. How is it that we can recall the words to a song we haven’t heard for years? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could remember Bible passages that well?
There are two reasons why I recalled the hymn’s lyrics. The tune attached to the words helped. Second, and most importantly, I heard the song repletely as a boy—week after week for years. Repeat to remember. It works.
Did Jesus use repetition to make essential points? Yes, look at Matthew 16:21, Matthew 17:22-23, and Matthew 20:17-19. Chapter after chapter, Jesus told his disciples that he was going to die and that he would be resurrected.
At Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, we are told by five different individuals that he was innocent. Judas tells us (Matthew 27:3-4), Pilate tells us (John 18:38), Pilate’s wife tells us (Matthew 27:19), the Penitent Thief on the cross next to Jesus tells us (Luke 23:41), and the Roman centurion makes the final repetition in Luke 23:47.
From the book Brain Rules, “The way to make long-term memory more reliable is to incorporate new information gradually and repeat it in timed intervals.” Page 147.
The Christian Mandala study books use a four-fold repetition. You study the same passage of Scripture three times throughout the week. With each reading, the text is processed differently. If you are in a small group, the group comes together, and each individual shares their insights. This sharing is the fourth repetition. These repetitions give a deeper perspective on a given text, and the discussion helps group members retain the information from both their studies and others.
The image shown depicts Psalm 19:1-4a using an old school LP record, in other words, vinyl. The revelation of God in nature. The Psalmist has given creation a voice. The heavens proclaim the glory of God. Repeatedly.