But I don’t do it much. I love memorizing Scripture because it enriches my prayers with Scripture, it helps me counsel people well, it saturates and sanctifies my mind with God’s words, and in general helps me to set my mind on things above (Col. 3:2) and to think about what is pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8).
I don’t do it nearly as much as I’d like, however, because I can’t find the time. My devotional times, when my snooze button goes untouched, already generally run to 60-90 minutes, so I have a hard time finding a way to fit memorization in—especially because I find it to be (for me personally) among the most time-consuming of the spiritual disciplines.
Fortunately for me, the ESV Online Bible site absolutely rules.
I always knew that you could listen to streaming audio of individually selected passages of Scripture from the ESV online—provided you’re willing to sit within the length of your headphone cord from your computer and listen to them. A few times I’ve tried to do this while washing the dishes, setting my laptop next to the sink. But I’ve splashed soap and water a bit too close to my keyboard enough times that I stopped doing that. One time I actually forgot that I was connected to my laptop rather than my iPod, took a step away from the sink while my headphones were in, and only saved my laptop from being completely submerged in soapy water mixed with spaghetti sauce by virtue of my catlike moves and reflexes.
But this morning—a revelation—I found a way to download individually selected passages from the ESV as MP3 files, so that I can load them onto my iPod, hit “repeat,” and listen to passages I want to memorize about a dozen times between my garage and my office. I’m using it to keep fresh on passages I’ve already memorized and don’t want to lose, and I’m going to use it to memorize the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:3-7:27) while I’m working out.
There are a few steps to it, though, so here’s how it goes. It’s really not as complicated as it sounds:
1. Open another browser tab so that you can refer back to these instructions as you go.
2. Go to the ESV Online site.
3. In the top right corner, click on the “Options” tab.
4. Under “Audio Options,” click in one of the buttons for MP3 (I use David Cochran Heath because he seems to have the most “normal” sounding voice).
5. At the bottom left of the page, click the “Save” button (that should open a page that says, “Your preferences have been saved” at the top).
6. Type the passage you want (e.g. Ephesians 4:29 or Matthew 6:25-34) into the search bar and click “search.”
7. When the passage comes up, you should see a link that says “Listen” next to the passage reference. Control-click (PC users right-click) on the “Listen” tab. A menu box should come up. Click on “Save Link As…”
8. When the box pops up, you will have to add an extension name on the end of the title if it doesn’t have one. So, for example, if the title of your selection is “49004029” then you need to add .mp3 on the end, so that it reads “49004029.mp3”. Save the file to your Desktop.
9. Find the file on your desktop and open it with iTunes or Windows Media Player, or whatever you use. You can then load it onto your iPod, MP3 player, or burn it onto a CD for your car.
Yes, folks, it’s just that simple.
And here’s the most amazing part: It’s free! If it were almost any other organization there would be a subscription fee or a download fee or a 1-month access fee, etc., etc. Thank you to the good people at Crossway and the English Standard Version!
Let me know if you have any problems. Otherwise, redeem your commute! Memorize Scripture!