Memorizing God’s Word
Like studying the Bible takes Scripture intake to a deeper level- from hearing to reading it, memorizing and meditation helps plant it even more firmly in our hearts. As Donald S. Whitney puts it, in his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, “when rightly practiced, these disciplines promote the increased knowledge of God and closer conformity to Christ.” After all, should that not be the goal and desire of every Christian?
However, for many people, Scripture memorization is tantamount to studying for a regents exam at the end of the school year. Who needs this pressure? Is it worth it? Will I ever use it? (I know, sounds like questions we asked ourselves about that Algebra class back in the day!) The answer, is a resounding yes! In fact, Whitney gives four key reasons as to why we should memorize Scripture.
1) Memorization supplies Spiritual power. When Scripture is “hidden in your heart,” it is available for the Holy Spirit to bring to your attention when you really need it (Ps 119:11).
2) Memorization strengthens your faith. This happens as what you’ve memorized reinforces the truth of God’s Word, often just when you need to hear it again (Prov 22:17-19).
3) Memorization prepares us for witnessing. God will often bring to mind verses that we have memorized and use it at key points in witnessing conversations. Someone I was speaking with about the Lord replied, “I’m afraid it’s too late from me, I’m damaged goods…” I was able to tell that person “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 For 5:17). It was the truth that he could make a new start that helped him open His heart to Jesus.
4) Memorization provides a means to God’s guidance. The Holy Spirit will bring to mind verses that give us instruction, peace and wisdom over any situation in our lives. (Ps 119:24). 5)
Memorization stimulates meditation. As we’ll be touching on meditation next, memorization can be the fuel for meditation, especially since we can draw from it anytime, anywhere. Like any worthwhile thing, memorization takes discipline. I began memorizing Scripture as a fairly new Christian. While today, there are terrific memorization tools out there – including easy-to-use Bible apps, my main go-to refresher is the Topical Memory System put out by the Navigators. It contains 60 verses, organized into five main categories like, “Living the New Life,” and “Proclaiming Christ.” The verses come on small cards that can fit in your pocket. It also comes with a booklet on how to memorize, plus commentary on the 60 verses. To this day, I use those verses and can say from experience, that memorization has worked in my life in all the areas mentioned above and beyond. Here’s a link to the TMS: www.navigators.org. For a cool digital program also for mobile download, checkout www.scripturetyper.com.
Part 3 will cover thinking deeply on the truths and spiritual realities revealed in Scripture, for the purposes of understanding, application and prayer— in other words, meditating on Scripture. – Pastor Joe Garofalo