Tech/App Review: NavsTMS

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Almost anyone who grew up going to church probably heard this verse at some point during Sunday school: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Memorizing passages of Scripture is something many of us may have done as children. But what about when we’re older? Sure, we know that “hiding God’s Word in our heart,” is probably a good idea. Sorta like eating kale. But how? Even if you wanted to pursue that discipline with gusto, you’d need to come up with a system, right.

That’s where the Navigators’ Topical Memory System comes in.

For more than 50 years, this system has helped believers commit scriptural truth to memory. Scores of believers have used the old-school version, which included a little leather container and printed out verses. In digital age, it’s simpler to use the NavsTMS app (available at Google and iOS stores for $4.99) to help you memorize Scripture.

Positive Content
The app prompts you to enter your name and to choose from one of several different translations of Scripture (including the original 1984 version of the NIV). The “topical” part comes into play in that verses are broken down into different topics, with 12 verses for each. Those five topics are: Living the New Life, Proclaiming Christ, Reliance on God’s Resources, Being Christ’s Disciple and Growth in Christlikeness.

The app will prompt you to speak the verse out loud. Once you’ve done it correctly from memory, you can move on. And you can always go back and to refresh your memory if it gets a bit rusty.

The genius of the TMS is not only that it provides a handy way to hold morsels of truth in your heart. But the topical approach gives you another prompt for your memory, as well as helping you remember verses thematically as you memorize them.

For instance, the system begins with 2 Corinthians 5:17 in the Live the New Life section. Click on it, and you’ll see another thematic hint: “Christ the Center,” followed by the verse: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.”

You can also set up prompts to remind you to practice your memorized passages if you’d like it to do so.

Content Concerns

I have a small confession to make here: I used the TMS throughout college as a young Christian to ground myself in God’s Word. The biggest problem? I’d often forget to remove that little pack from a jeans pocket, and it’d invariably go through the washing machine. (My mother called it “the washing of the Word.”) I don’t know how many of those packets I ended up buying, but it was quite a few. And along the way, it was easily the most success I ever had memorizing Scripture.

The great thing about the NavsTMS app is that you can use an interface you’re already quite familiar with: your phone. And, hopefully, you won’t put that through the wash. If you’re looking for a practical, concrete tool to help you (or your kids or grandkids) plant deep roots into God’s truth, this app will help you do just that for about the price of a fancy cup of coffee.

Adam R. Holz

After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews as the site’s director. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children. In their free time, the Holzes enjoy playing games, a variety of musical instruments, swimming and … watching movies.