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:
1. The Bible is the Word of God. I've been with people who have little access to this Word. Shouldn't those of us who have Bibles in our homes want to know God's Word so well that it dwells within our hearts?
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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 (Eph. 6:17), we can capture every thought for Christ.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice-president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.