Why Memorize the Bible?

Anyone who attended Sunday school as a child probably remembers memorizing Bible verses. Maybe you’d get a sticker to fill out your chart, points you could redeem for prizes, or compete with the other children to see who could memorize the verse first. It seemed like an important thing at the time. Important enough for our teachers to drill us with them over and over again, in any case.

So what happens when we become adults? Why is it suddenly no longer important for us to be memorizing our Bibles? We might have a few memorized, like John 3:16, or Romans 12:2, or bits of Psalm 23. But when’s the last time you put any real effort into committing new verses to memory?

Maybe you don’t see the problem here. Why should you be memorizing scripture when you have such easy access to it? I understand where you’re coming from. Take a look at the stack of Bibles I keep on my desk:

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I know, it’s a bit much, right? So why would I go one step further and memorize verses?

For so, so many reasons. For example…

To Resist Temptation
Satan is a crafty little bugger. He knows just how to hit us at our weakest moment. He’s not going to launch an assault when we have our noses buried in our Bibles. No, he’ll wait until we’re busy and distracted and haven’t read through God’s Word in a while. The more I memorize, the better I’ll be able to call God’s commands to mind when I’m wavering, or His promises when I’m scared.

To Encourage Others
The Bible is full of uplifting nuggets of hope. When someone is feeling discouraged or depressed, reminding them of God’s promises can be a great way to lift them up. But it kind of ruins the effect if you’re flipping through your Bible (assuming you have it on you) desperately trying to remember just where that verse was. Now it’s less like you’re having a conversation and more like you’re preaching at them.

To Share the Gospel
Just like encouraging others, sometimes a door opens up to share the Gospel with unbelievers. And while it can sometimes be fine to pull out your Bible and start flipping pages, sometimes it isn’t. It can really alter the tone of the conversation. Not to mention, it slows down the pace. And before you know it…there goes your opportunity.

To Delight God
Do not doubt that you are capable of memorizing scripture. Your mind has the capacity to memorize all kinds of things from song lyrics to phone numbers to directions to your favorite restaurant to just about anything you put your mind to. And that’s the key here. We memorize what is important to us. And little delights God more than us demonstrating how important His Word is to us by putting the time and effort into memorizing it.

To Delight In God
We have all experienced those moments when the beauty of something literally takes our breath away. For me, it mostly happens when I’m hiking. Other people might experience it with art, or music, or anything that touches your soul. There are plenty of Bible verses, particularly in Psalm, though not exclusively, that capture these moments perfectly. Commit them to memory, and next time you find yourself in one of these moments, let God share it with you by thinking about His Word.

The Challenge
Memorize Psalm 1 this week. Yes, the whole chapter. It’s only 6 verses. You can do it. Once it’s in your mind and heart, you can use it to keep yourself motivated when you start to lose interest in memorizing other verses.

Blessed is the man…whose delight is in the law of the Lord.

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