Series: The Word
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
I have a confession to make…of sorts. Many of the scripture verses I memorized were learned as songs.
It wasn’t actually on purpose.
When my children were young they were taught many great songs using scripture verses as the lyrics.
At the time when I sang and learned I wasn’t sure why learning scripture set to music was so easy. Many years later I learned that music and lyrics make memorizing easier than simply using words.
This is the reason why: “When information or an experience involves a range of senses, it's firing off a variety of electrical and chemical brain triggers. The more triggers fired, the stronger the immediate perception is, and the more likely the information or experience will move from our sensory perception into our short-term memory. This is one reason why it's easier to remember the lyrics of a song than to recite a poem. And it's why we do better remembering song lyrics if we hear the music playing – even if just in our heads. Our brain is retrieving a variety of sensory cues.”
Since I learned that I make a habit of finding, or even writing music that is set to scripture.
Today’s word reminded me of 2 Timothy 1:7 and a scripture song I learned when my children were young.
The verse tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
The actual song (without music) goes like this:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, God has not given us a Spirit of fear, God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a strong (or sound) mind.”
If you want to learn the song there are several versions you can listen just by typing the lyrics into any search engine.
So you might be wondering what that has to do with self-control?
Actually, a lot.
Once again we are reminded that the version of that scripture set to music uses multiple senses when we sing it.
That triggers our brain.
Which triggers our senses.
That’s probably why when I am afraid of something, I begin to sing. The music calms my mind and draws attention away from the object of my fear.
Scientists have discovered that “When we sing, large parts of our brain “light up” with activity, says Sarah Wilson, a clinical neuropsychologist and head of the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne. She led a study which looked at how the brain reacts when we sing by giving volunteers of varying vocal ability MRI scans as they warbled. “There is a singing network in the brain [which is] quite broadly distributed,” Wilson says. When we speak, the hemisphere of the brain dealing with language lights up, as we might expect. When we sing, however, both sides of the brain spark into life.”
It makes sense that when both sides of the brain are engaged our thoughts are refocused.
Please understand I am not saying that singing will help when we are faced with real danger. But does help when we hear a strange sound in the middle of the night, or when we remember an unpleasant memory.
In my case, scripture set to music draws me closer to God.
Knowing that both sides of the brain are engaged when we sing, and when we are singing scripture and we call on God and we are heard and God answers that means our brain and Gods heart are fully engaged. That is a win-win-win!
I’ve long been fascinated with David, Shepherd boy to King and his deep relationship with God even when he was a young shepherd boy. David was a King and he wrote songs to God, “First, he was a musician, "the sweet psalmist of Israel" (2 Samuel 23:1). As a youth, he practiced the harp on the sheep fields of Bethlehem. As a young man he became a court musician for Israel's first King -- Saul. But as he grew, he began to write down the inspired songs or psalms that he wrote, so that his own compositions fill nearly half of the Book of Psalms.”
All in all if music really does soothe the soul (and I think it does) and the Word of God changes us (and I know it does), singing or writing melodies to scripture will soothe the soul and change us to our core.
Just a note, the first time I wrote a melody to scripture words a nay-sayer told me I’d never get my words published. The comment surprised me so much that I didn’t have a response.
Today, I would have a response. I’d tell them that I didn’t write it for publication, I wrote it to God. It was my song I sing to God. It soothes my soul and it pleases God.
Spiritual Practice: Write or Learn
Choose a scripture song to sing, or write one for God. You will be blessed!
In God, Deborah