One of my earliest memories of church as a young boy was working on memory verses. Though my middle and high school years I was devoted to anything but Scripture, the verses I learned during early years stuck with me. I became a believer during my second year of college and the men who taught me how to follow Jesus encouraged me in the discipline of Scripture memory. The passages and individual verses I learned in those early years as a believer shaped my Christian growth and set the course for the rest of my Christian life.
My greatest struggle with Scripture memory is daily consistency, and I doubt that I am alone. Many of us suffer from the disease of being great starters but fumbling on day to day follow through.
This daily discipline of learning, memorizing, and reviewing Scripture is necessary for the Christian. We think our greatest problem is “finding” the time to work on Scripture memory, but, in reality, our the real struggle is in giving it the attention it deserves.
When we understand why we must do something, often the how starts to take care of itself. In this post, I want to cover why we need to devote ourselves to Scripture memory. In a later post, we will come back and cover the how.
Memorize Scripture for Encouragement
Believers struggle with discouragement, doubt, and melancholy more often than we like to admit. Memorizing Scripture aids us in our fight against discouragement and despair by reminding us of God’s goodness, God’s love, and God’s providence. Having passages like Romans 8:28, James 1:2-3, or Psalm 23 at your disposal when you feel like you are drowning in despair would be of great advantage to you.
Memorize Scripture for Meditation and Prayer
“I don’t know what to pray for.” We often use this as our excuse for slacking in the duty and privilege of prayer. When you don’t know what to pray for, Scripture memory provides fuel for the fire in your prayer life. Take a passage that you are learning and roll it over and over again in your mind. Stop and think about each word. Repeat the passage several times while emphasizing a different word with each repetition. As you repeat it, think about how this verse should lead you to praise God or thank God. Ponder how this verse might reveal a sin of which you should repent or an area of your life in which you need the strength to obey. When you give this kind of attention to Scripture memory and the related discipline of meditation, you will have plenty to of fuel to reignite your prayer life.
Memorize Scripture for Your War with Sin
“I have stored up your word in my heart that I may not sin against you.” The author of Psalm 119 helps us to understand how we can fight against our sin. Scripture reminds us who we are in Christ and why we should put sin to death. Biblical passages warn us of the danger of sin, the beauty of the Gospel, and the blessings of obedience; so shouldn’t we store them in our hearts so we can grow? Memorize verses related to the area of sin you are struggling with and store them up in your heart as ammunition for the battle.
Memorize Scripture for Conversations with Others
Have you ever been in a conversation with a person you thought you could help and just couldn’t remember the Bible verse you needed to give them? We’ve all been there. Scripture memory saves you from being Concordance crippled. Take the time to memorize basic verses related to the message of the Gospel and several topics related to the Christian life you can use in your conversations with people. You will find you are much more effective in these discussions if you have biblical passages at your disposal.
In the book Fahrenheit 451, the main character, Guy Montag, lives during a time when the authorities burn all books because they are afraid that they will upset people with their content. Montag, who has been reading, escapes to the wilderness where he meets a group of book lovers. They have memorized various works for the time when society will appreciate them again.
While we don’t live in a time where people are burning books, we don’t always have the luxury of having a Bible in our hands. Even though we might have a Bible app in our pockets, what if you don’t know the location of the passage you are attempting to remember? The best answer for this is Scripture memory. We need to know, understand, and live out the Bible’s message, and Scripture memory is an integral component of our growth.
“Eight Passages Every Christian Should Memorize“
For Further Reading:
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney