Why Memorize Scripture?

Biblical Precedence

Just like everything, you must understand that something must have biblical precedence in order for you to be motivated to do it. That is why this is first. Here are some verses that give biblical precedence for memorizing Scripture:

  • Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.”
    • There may be many ways that we can get the word of Christ to dwell in us, but Scripture memory has to be one of them!
  • John 15:7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
    • Christ wants us abiding in him, and he wants his words abiding in us. I imagine Scripture memory is a great way to have the words of Christ abiding in us.
  • Psalm 119:16 “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.”
    • Scripture memory has to be a vital aspect in not forgetting God’s word!
  • Psalm 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
    • One way to store God’s Word in our heart is Scripture memory.

There are more verses that give precedence to Scripture memorization, but these will suffice to show that there is biblical precedence for Scripture memory.
Practical Benefit
There are numerous practical benefits to memorizing Scripture. This is probably obvious because there is biblical precedence. That which God has placed any importance on is going to be of practical benefit for us. He never places importance on something that is not good for His children. With that being said, here are some practical benefits of memorizing Scripture:

  • Helps with our sanctification
  • Helps with our evangelism
  • Helps with our prayer
  • Helps with our repentance
  • Helps with our counseling of others
  • Helps with teaching our family the things of God
  • Helps with teaching and preaching

“So how does it help with sanctification?”

Okay, so factual knowledge of the Bible does not always produce spiritual maturity. There are plenty of people that know the Bible, and yet continue to show a great deal of spiritual immaturity in their walks. But I can honestly say that spiritual maturity cannot happen apart from gaining factual knowledge of the Bible. You simply cannot raise your kids up in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord” apart from knowing that you are suppose to be doing this. You must have that factual knowledge before you can be obedient to it. 

Scripture memory is going to give us factual knowledge of the Bible. In memorizing Scripture, we are going to understand in greater depths all that Christ Jesus has done for us in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension. As you memorize Scripture, you are going to come across specific verses that should increase your affection for God. You are also going to realize commands that God has given us that you were never really aware of before hand. This will allow you to love Christ more, get more joy in who God is, and be obedient to more of the commands of God. 

“So how does it help with our evangelism?”

Evangelism consist largely of teaching. It really does. As you approach somebody, you engage them with the intent on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with them. Finally, you get to a point in the conversation where you are going to share. You are about to begin to tell them about Christ Jesus crucified and resurrected for sinners!! This whole moment though is a teaching moment. It really is. You are about to have to teach with clarity and simplicity the greatest news ever told. Memorizing Scripture will help with this. You will be a better teacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as you memorize more of the Bible.

I am not going to answer all of these because it would make this blog entirely to long and you would probably quit reading it. So lets answer only one more.

“So how does it help with our repentance?”

A great theologian once said, “The entire life of believers should be repentance.” This is a striking and truthful statement. Also, it has become evident to me that Scripture memory will allow us to live a life full of repentance. I say that for multiple reasons. Lets say you pick up the Bible and begin to memorize the book of Ephesians. You have made it into chapter 4 and you are memorizing, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3). As your memorizing this, you become increasingly aware that God, in these verses, has bid you to live a life worthy of what Christ has accomplished for you on the cross. This means that you are to live a life that is characterized by “all humility and gentleness.” How are you doing on that? Would people think of you as having all humility and gentleness? If your anything like me, probably not. Therefore, as we start thinking about this verse more and more through our toil in memorizing it, we repent because of the piercing truth that it is revealing to us. This will happen time and time again as your memorize the Bible.
Excuses For Not Memorizing
  • I do not have a good memory
  • I do not have enough time
  • I do not know where to start
I am sure there are other excuses, but for the time being we will deal with these.

“I do not have a good memory.”

You have a much better memory than you think. I was tempted to put a youtube video of a classic Lynyrd Skynyrd song to show you that you have a much better memory than you think. We memorize stuff all the time! We memorize songs, birthdays, college football scores, batting averages from when we where in coach pitch, every word from the Star Wars movies. If you can memorize all of those without intentionality, then you can definitely memorize Scripture with intentionality!

“I do not have enough time.”

I have heard an older man say, “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in twenty years.” This is so true. It is especially true for people around my age and younger. We do not think long term. We always want to do something and see immediate results. With that attitude, you will never memorize Scripture. One must have a long term vision for memorizing Scripture. I say that because all I am asking you to do is to begin devoting 10 to 15 minutes of your day to memorizing one verse (we will talk more on how to later). 10 to 15 minutes! Everybody has 10 to 15 minutes. If you do not, you can get rid of something in order to have 10 to 15 minutes! This 10 or 15 minutes a day will allow you to memorize one verse. This in a week will allow you to memorize 7. This in a year will allow you to memorize 365. This in 30 years….well you get the point. Dedicate 10 to 15 minutes for the rest of your life and you will see great results!

“I do not know where to start.”

I am going to advocate for memorizing entire books of the Bible (its not that hard, trust me!). With that being said, I recommend you start memorizing a short book of the Bible first. I personally started my memorization with the book of Titus. It is three chapters in length with each chapter being roughly 15 verses or so. Do not only choose a short book though, choose a book that flows. Memorizing the book of Proverbs would be really hard. It does not have a clear flow in it like one of the shorter letters in the New Testament. Therefore, I encourage you to start with a book like Titus, Philippians, James, or something along those lines.
How to memorize
  • Repetition
  • Repetition
  • Repetition
  • Repetition
  • You get the point!

Repetition

Everybody has a different way to memorize verses of the Bible, but all of them have one thing in common. That one thing is repetition. The key to memorizing verses of the Bible is constant repetition. But until you have a method of memorizing Scripture, you can glean from how I memorize. 

Here is an example of what I did in Titus.

Day 1
  1. Read Titus 1:1 out loud ten times. As you read it, look at each word carefully.
  2. Take your eyes off Titus 1:1. Now try to quote it from memory ten times. If you fail, simply look back at the verse, correct yourself, and keep trying without looking.
  3. Now, you are done for the day, or you can meditate on it throughout the day when you have the opportunity (car ride, waiting for somebody, bathroom (redeem the time!), etc.
Day 2
  1. Quote Titus 1:1. If you fail, simply look back to see where you got it wrong, then try it again.
  2. Then read Titus 1:2 out loud ten times. As you read it, look at each word carefully.
  3. Take your eyes off Titus 1:2. Now try to quote it from memory ten times. If you fail, simply look back at the verse, correct yourself, and keep trying without looking.
  4. Now, you are done for the day, or you can meditate on it throughout the day when you have the opportunity (car ride, waiting for somebody, bathroom (redeem the time!), etc.
Lets Skip to day 16

Day 16
  1. Quote Titus 1:1-15. If you fail, simply look back to see where you got it wrong, then try it again.
  2. Then read Titus 1:16 out loud ten times. As you read it, look at each word carefully.
  3. Take your eyes off Titus 1:16. Now try to quote it from memory ten times. If you fail, simply look back at the verse, correct yourself, and keep trying without looking.
  4. Now, you are done for the day, or you can meditate on it throughout the day when you have the opportunity (car ride, waiting for somebody, bathroom (redeem the time!), etc.
Alright, so that is chapter one. After this, you go on to chapter two doing the same thing. It is all about repetition! Once you finish memorizing Titus 3:15, which is the last verse of the last chapter of Titus, you are to try and quote the book everyday for a hundred days straight. You will get it wrong. You will skip some days. You will fail at times. You will be frustrated. BUT JUST KEEP REPEATING IT! You will begin conforming more into the image of Christ. You will begin looking, living, and talking like our Lord Jesus! It will be glorious. It will not be easy though. As Christians, we have learned that everything that is beneficial for us in this life is difficult. Therefore, work hard and stay diligent. Always remember Christ who was pierced and put to death for you. Then persevere in memorizing Scripture.
Further Study
Also, if you want a more thorough dealing with Scripture Memorization, this little pdf file will be of great help. It is written by Andy Davis (he is the pastor of the church that I go to). Just being around him has placed within me an eagerness to know and memorize the Bible. I can look at how God has used Scripture memorization in his life, and it makes me eager and zealous for God to work in my life through Scripture memorization.

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