Why You Should Memorize Scripture
Perhaps more than any other subject, memorizing Scripture is critical for the Christian. I didn’t always think so, but over the past year, I have realized that despite the digital age, knowing Scripture without having to look it up is essential.
Sure, we can grab our phones, computers, or even Bibles to read the passage, and we should. But memorizing Scripture is important and here are ten reasons why.
1. God commands it
While there is no direct command to “memorize Scripture” there are a multitude of passages which tell us to “meditate upon these things” or “I will meditate on Your precepts…” We are told (directly and indirectly) that the Word is to be the constant meditation of our lives. Memorizing Scripture enables us to have the Word continually in our hearts and mind all throughout the day.
2. Memorizing Scripture helps you become more Christlike
As Christians we are to be Christlike – and the only way that will ever happen is if we focus upon, understand, and become more intimate with Jesus Christ. Philippians 2.5 commands us to have the mind of Christ. If we truly believe that the Bible is God’s words, then knowing Scripture is essential to having His mind. 1 Samuel 3.21 says that “the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.” God reveals Himself, His nature, His character, His mind, and His heart through the Word. Studying and memorizing Scripture helps us see and know Jesus more intimately and deeply.
3. Memorizing Scripture renews and fills your mind with truth
In our modern day of advertising, foul language, and a world increasingly pushing a secular and sexual mindset, focusing and meditating upon truth becomes all the more paramount. Romans 12.1-2 tell us to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Memorizing Scripture is a great way to keep the Word of God at the forefront of your mind, allowing its truth to refresh and fill your mind.
4.Memorizing Scripture helps you with Saturation Bible Study
Saturation Bible Study is not about checking in for 15 minutes in the morning – rather, it’s about taking the Word of God with you all throughout the day. It’s about pondering its truth and thinking through its depths all day long. While it’s easy to write a passage on a card and carry it around with you, having a passage memorized is a quick way to keep God’s Word before you and available for easy access.
5. Memorizing Scripture helps you overcome sin & temptation
It appears that we are constantly bombarded with temptation. Psalm 119 asks, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” Good question. Is it even possible? Yes! Psalm 119 verse 9 and 11 answers: “By living according to Your word. … Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” One translation says “by guarding [our way] according to Your Word.” Scripture is an incredible thing to have in your heart and mind when temptation comes. In the armor of God (Ephesians 6), the one piece that is offensive and used to kill is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He quoted Scripture from memory to combat the lies of Satan (see Matthew 4). When temptation comes, we often don’t have time to grab our Bibles and start searching for Scriptures that can help us – how ineffective would a soldier be if he found himself on the battlefield realizing he left his weapon behind? We need to memorize.
6. Memorizing Scripture helps you communicate the Gospel
We should always be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have (see 1 Peter 3.15). And while it’s great to have a Bible handy, sometimes that isn’t the case – or we forget what verses to read. Having passages memorized can be a tremendous benefit when sharing the Gospel. Similarly, if someone asks you what the Bible says on a particular subject, do you have a ready answer? Knowing Scripture and having passages memorized can help you become more effective in witnessing and sharing your faith [and it also has the added benefit of helping you understand your faith better].
7. Memorizing Scripture will help you and others thrive during times of trials, testings, and stress
We have all gone through seasons of trials, testings, and crazy circumstances. God’s Word is a balm to the soul and an encouragement to the heart. Ephesians 4.29 tells us that we are to edify one another in the grace and faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. What better way to do this than to quote God’s own Word to other believers?! The Bible is filled with promises that we should take to heart, the Psalms are full of statements about not being afraid and being immovable in the face of testing and difficult situations, and the New Testament is brimming with the life of Christ. What would your life look like if you daily reminded yourself the promises, blessings, and life Jesus has purchased for us? Jeremiah 15.16 says it well: “Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.”
8. Memorizing Scripture helps you make wise decisions
God is speaking! He is not hiding Himself, hoping that you one day stumble upon His desire and will for your life. Psalm 119.105 declares: “Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” God wants to guide and direct your steps. The more we know what God says (Scripture is God’s words), the more you know how He thinks. The more intimate we become with Jesus, the more we find ourselves acting like Him. The more we fill our mind with Scripture, the more we find the Holy Spirit bringing those Scriptures back to our memory in situations where we need wisdom, answers, and direction.
9. Memorizing Scripture gives focus to your day
Quoting Scripture to myself is a great way to keep me focused throughout the day. My friend Eric Ludy often says that he shares the Gospel with Himself daily – not because he hasn’t heard it (obviously) but because it keeps him focused and on point. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Having Scripture in your heart and mind is a great way to “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13.5). If we long to have greater communion, intimacy, and joy in Christ Jesus, we must be men and women of the Word.
10. Memorizing Scripture prepares you for the future underground Church
I admit, this one may sound a bit odd. Recently I have become convicted that I need to memorize Scripture for the sake of the future underground church. Currently in many countries throughout the world, it is illegal to have a Bible. Most of these believers rely on memorizing large portions of the Bible so they don’t get caught with a copy in their possession. I realize we are not at this point in America, but the trajectory would suggest we might eventually get there. If that be the case, what better time to start memorizing God’s Word than in a time of freedom? Regardless, how powerful would it be in your own life if you had an entire book of the Bible memorized? Multiple books?
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Over the next few weeks we are going to look at practical suggestions on how to memorize Scripture.
Have an additional reason to memorize Scripture? Join the conversation and leave a comment on this post on Google+.