I still remember the first Bible verses I memorized decades ago. I was a young believer saved out of a non-Christian home, and the Bible was new, fresh, and alive to me then. To be honest, though, I often still need to remember why memorization matters:
- The Bible is the Word of God. I’ve been with people of the world who have little access to this Word. Should not we who often have more Bibles in our homes than people want to know God’s Word so well that it dwells in our hearts?
- Jesus modeled for us the power of knowing the Word. Satan tempted Jesus – and three times Jesus countered him with the book of Deuteronomy. Jesus showed us that the Word – all of it – has power over the devil.
- Memorizing verses we encounter in our quiet time brings life to that time. I love it when the Spirit uses a verse so powerfully in my life and study that I want to memorize it.
- Hiding the Word in our heart helps us to avoid sin. That’s what the psalmist told us in Psalm 19:11 and 119:9-11. We fight sin by treasuring God’s Word.
- Memorizing scripture today can help prepare us for tomorrow’s battles. Years ago, I started memorizing scripture using a prescribed list of verses. I didn’t even understand all of them then – but I’ve been amazed by how often I’ve turned back to those verses through the years.
- The Word drives the garbage from our minds. I’m 59 years old, but I still occasionally remember images I saw as a teenager. Here’s the good news, though: through the Sword of the Spirit (the Word – Eph 6:17), we can capture every thought for Christ.
- The day may come when we have little or no access to the Bible. Much of the world already faces this situation, and we can’t assume it won’t happen to us. We need to know the Word so well that we can teach it without a written text in front of us.
- Memorization prepares us to share the gospel. Sure, we can use apps and tracts to evangelize – but having the Word ever on our lips gives us confidence and conviction to tell the good news. Knowing the Word weakens our fears of proclaiming.
- Memorization review requires daily time with the Word. That’s the nature of memorization – if we don’t work on it regularly, we forget what we’ve memorized. Even a few minutes a day to review biblical texts can strengthen our walk with God.
Readers, help us learn how you memorize Scripture. What’s your method? What apps do you use?
If you’re interested in leading your church to memorize the Word together, perhaps this post will also help you.
For those who struggle with memorizing Scripture, I recommend this alternative method. Immerse yourself daily in God’s Word, not just once a day but several times a day, not long passages but short ones. Read God’s Word aloud and let it percolate into the deepest levels of your memory. Pray God’s Word. It is not as precise a method as taking a verse of Scripture and committing it to memory but it will help make God’s Word a part of you. You may not be able to cite the chapter and the verse but you will recall what the Scriptures say. But more importantly God’s Word will shape your thoughts and in turn your actions. If you can memorize Scripture, go ahead and do it. The early Christians monks committed the entire Book of Psalms to memory along with the Gospels, the Epistles, and other books of the Bible. There were few Bibles and those Bibles were painstakingly copied by hand. When they were traveling, they would stop in their journey for their daily prayers and each monk would for the benefit of the other monks recite from memory the portions of the Bible that he had memorized. When they did have an opportunity to read a Bible, they read it aloud so they would not read God’s Word but hear it. Young Muslims are expected to commit the entire Quran to memory. Just because we have a Bible app on our phone is no excuse for not familiarizing ourselves with the books of the Bible and absorbing as much of them as we can.