Think about all that you’ve memorized over the years. Now, think about what you’ve recently memorized. Although you may not currently be involved in an academic setting, you’re still actively learning. You can probably recall song lyrics, movie lines, passwords, credit card numbers, and much more. I often catch myself amused by the wide variety of things that have somehow been captured in my mind. I seem to be able to memorize things fairly easily. But the problem is that I’ve short-changed my efforts to memorize that which is most edifying and that which draws me closer to God—Scripture.
I affirm that the Bible is God’s Word. It is valuable and is worthy of being hidden in our hearts. God is perfect and thus the Word of the Lord is also flawless. It’s powerful and has the ability to change lives. However, many people choose to avoid memorizing significant portions and key passages of Scripture. Despite a seminary education, daily Bible study, and constant sermon preparation, I’m one of those people. Openly and honestly, I’ve just not been as committed to this discipline as I should be or want to be. But now is the time for new resolutions, right? I want to challenge you as leaders to make this commitment as well. Here are a few of the reasons Scripture memorization should be one resolution we try our hardest to keep.
Memorization efforts accurately express my view of Scripture.
Although Scripture memory programs are helpful and important, it seems like they shouldn’t have to exist. It seems like this should be something we’re all doing without having to be told or instructed. But, as you know, that’s just not always the case. Most people don’t have difficulty memorizing and retaining information, just look at all the examples that have been listed above. However, the reason many people don’t study, learn, and hide the Word in their hearts is simply because they don’t value it as important. I certainly value Scripture as important, and it’s time for my actions to show that.
Scripture memory helps protect me from sin.
Psalm 119:10-11 states, “I have sought You with all my heart; don’t let me wander from Your commands. I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.” As the Word of God becomes more and more prevalent in my life, it will allow me to focus on the things of God and not the things of my flesh. I strive to honor God with my life and to refrain from sin. I believe this will help.
I’m setting myself up to hear God in a more clear and effective way.
We can hear from God through the Bible. Isaiah 55:11 says, “My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and will prosper in what I send it to do.” The Bible is one of the primary means of hearing the voice of God. The Word provides a unique and effective means to hearing the Father. The more an individual knows the Bible, the better they can sense His presence and His voice.
It sets an example to those around me.
Research is showing that young adults and those in future generations are looking for biblical depth. As you memorize scripture, it will naturally flow into your conversation with others, your teaching environments, and everywhere else. And in turn, those looking to learn may be more drawn to me and my ministry.
It keeps my ministry effective and relevant.
God’s Word is never changing and yet constantly relevant. The Bible provides many examples of how God spoke to men and women throughout history; yet it also provides us with the ability to apply these truths to our lives today. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joints, and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart. “ Despite how culture changes, the Word will always be our most effective ministry tool.
I put myself in a greater position to be obedient to God.
Christ-followers must commit their lives not only to studying the Word of God, but also to putting it into application. James 1:22-24 says, “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was.” Quite simply, the better I know Scripture the more naturally I will apply it in my everyday living.
This list certainly isn’t comprehensive or complete. The point is that memorizing Scripture is greatly beneficial to you and your ministry. You may already be a Scripture memorizing wiz, but I’m not yet. If you are, please pass on any tips you have that would be helpful. Also, if there are other things that should be on the list, let us know. Let’s take on this discipline together and see what God does with our efforts.