Colossians 3 changed my life.

In 2002, I began memorizing Colossians 3:1-17. When you memorize a passage rather than a random verse here or there, your mind is filled with an entire system of thought, not merely an idea. Colossians 3 is a very rich passage, comprising a complete picture of our life in Christ, so it made an ideal choice to memorize.

It takes me a while to memorize a passage. I printed a few verses on a note card and carried it with me everywhere I went. I said it over and over in the morning, and throughout the day.

Each night I fell asleep reciting as many verses as I could. In about a month or two I had it memorized. I continued to recite it as often as I could each day, and soon the ideas and images in the passage began to permeate my thoughts. Each day, I found a new application for some part of the passage….

One of the things you notice when you memorize a passage is that single words stand out.

In the classes we found ourselves saying, “Why does Paul say Jesus is seated at the right hand of God in verse 1? Does that word matter? It must, because Paul never wasted words. So, what does it mean? What does it mean in my life?”…

Words are powerful. We are shaped by words. Words contain ideas, and they shape the way we see God, ourselves and all of reality.

Single words from Colossians 3 began to bounce around in my mind, forming a new understanding of the gospel, a new awareness of who I am, and who my brothers and sisters in Christ are.

I began to love the words in this passage:

  1. raised
  2. hidden
  3. wrath
  4. knowledge
  5. affections
  6. peace
  7. gratitude
  8. name

As I probed into these single words, they began to yield a deeper understanding of what it means to be an apprentice of Jesus. I found them to be a kind of corrective to many of my false ideas.

 Soul Training – Take it Deeper:

Start memorizing Colossians 3.

  • Write down the first 2 verses on a small notecard to help remind you.
  • Each week write a new card with 1-2 additional Colossians verses.
  • Consider memorizing this passage with your family.
  • Tip: Reviewing your notecards during meals is a good way to stay consistent in this soul training practice.


Taken from Hidden in Christ by James Bryan Smith. Copyright(c) 2013 by James Bryan Smith. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515.