When you think of memorizing bible verses (especially as an adult) what comes to mind? All of those clever ways in Sunday school that your teacher taught you to learn a new verse? Or perhaps you attended a school that required you to memorize new passages of scripture each week. If you’re well beyond Sunday school years like myself, what does memorizing scripture look for you these days? Is it on your radar or is cruising through your Bible in a year plan enough (on a good day)?
If you haven’t guessed it yet, our theme for the month of August is biblical memorization. It’s one of those not-talked-about-much Spiritual disciplines that is pushed off as something we don’t have time for. However, if we are truly going to grow deeper in our walk with Christ, memorizing scripture must be at the top of our priority list. Charles Spurgeon famously said,
“He who does not long to know more of Christ, knows nothing of Him yet.”
If we long to know more of Christ we know where to go: The Word. But it doesn’t end there. Memorizing the Word means very little if we’re doing it to simply do it or check off another verse or humbly brag to our brothers and sisters in fellowship. No, we memorize the Word because, as John 1:1 states: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
While there are many, many great reasons to memorize the Word, we’re going to focus on three: Conformity to Christ, Victory over Sin & Daily Sustenance.
Conformity to Christ
If someone were to ask you what they must do to become more like Jesus, what would you say? Pray more fervently? Read 5 chapters of the Bible a day? Serve more diligently? Becoming more like Jesus requires a deepening of our faith. In Romans 10:17 we read, “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Clearly, one of the most important aspects of becoming more Christ-like is healing the word of Christ which happens as we read the Bible. However, mere reading will have little fruit if we don’t remember and apply what the word says. Memorizing scripture makes the connection with God’s word and our minds more constant and more in depth so that we may transformed in the “same image from one degree of glory to another.”
Victory Over Sin
Every day is a battle in the life of the believer. Flesh vs Spirit. Spirit vs flesh. If we don’t internalize Scripture, how do we plan on fighting against the flesh? Psalm 119:11 reads: “I have stored your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” This word stored or hid means “treasured.” When we fill our minds with the treasure of the Word, we will more readily fight off temptation.
When Paul talks about the Armor of God at the end of Ephesians 6, only one piece is used to go on the offense: “...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” We fight and defend against sin with the word of God.
When Jesus was tempted by the devil in Matthew 4:4 he said, “…It Is written, ‘man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” After 40 days and 40 nights of not eating Jesus was quite hungry. The temptation facing Jesus was to simply turn stones into bread so he could eat.
Obviously, there is nothing inherently wrong with eating but in this context, to do so would cause Jesus to act independently of His Father - however legitimate the cause. This was just one example of how nothing was more important to Christ than to carry out the Word and Will of His Heavenly Father and the same goes for us. However, if we aren’t treating the Word as such, how will we ever live in obedient dependence upon our Heavenly Father?
There is one additional reason for taking memorization seriously that was not mentioned above: To experience the joy of fellowshipping with the Lord. One of my favorite bible verses is John 15:10-12: “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” The joy Christ has to offer us through obedience is far above any fleeting pleasure here on earth.
As we learn to memorize & apply scripture to our lives, it is our hope that we will more quickly obey our Lord and experience the joy promised. Over the next month we’ll share tips and practices for practicing memorization (both on the blog & email). Stay tuned!