Dr. Daniel Amen is the author of Memory Rescue, described by Tyndale House Publishers as a book that details how “a multipronged strategy—including dietary changes, physical and mental exercises, and spiritual practices—can improve your brain health, enhance your memory, and reduce the likelihood that you’ll develop Alzheimer’s and other memory loss–related conditions.” It is important to know that Amen’s Stones of Remembrance was written as a supplemental resource for his book on memory.
Brain health issues are a popular topic today, as many people are dealing with realities of conditions associated with memory loss. Amen encourages his reader to consider the many benefits of practicing Scripture memorization: He does not claim that memorizing the Bible will prevent any health conditions or illnesses; instead, he wants us to consider how God designed people so that “participating in regular spiritual practices such as Scripture meditation, memorization, and prayer also contributes to a healthier mind and body by reducing stress, increasing brain capacity, even guarding against memory loss.” In other words, do not do these things just because they provide physical benefits–pursue spiritual development because the One who designed us has inscribed spiritual and physical benefits for doing things we have been created to do.
Another key theme Amen writes about is calling Christians to remembrance, which is different than memorization. Remembrance is simply calling to mind the ways that God has worked in the past, remaining faithful to His promises and character. According to Amen, “As we recall God’s faithfulness, we remain centered and growing, and we move forward with a sense of purpose.” The rock cairn on the book’s cover is meant as a visual reminder of the story of the Israelites crossing the Jordan River as told in Joshua 4.1-7:
When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’” Then Joshua called the twelve men from the people of Israel, whom he had appointed, a man from each tribe. And Joshua said to them, “Pass on before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and take up each of you a stone upon his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the people of Israel, that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
Amen’s book is divided into three parts: The first part describes twelve spiritual disciplines that also provide “the foundations of a healthy brain and strong memory”; Part 2 provides a list of Scripture verses to memorize that will help you when you have feelings of anxiety, gratitude, fear, depression, happiness, and loneliness, to list a few; Part 3 includes a list of general verses that are helpful for everyone to memorize. This book is a quick read that can be enjoyed in a single sitting or stretched out topically; working through the memory verses will certainly take a longer time.
Amen provides a good framework for developing spiritual disciplines. If you read this book by itself, just remember that it is intended as a supplemental text focusing on the spiritual benefits of his findings in his other book. It is very helpful for us to remember that as we age, continuing to develop spiritually has benefits that God uses for all things. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 4.8 “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
You can purchase the book here.
Thank you to the team at Tyndale House Publishing for a copy of this book for review.