I have heard it said that “Your Bible is only as thick as what you have memorized.” In a world where GOOGLE is at our fingertips and finding a verse is as easy as typing a couple words that we think are in the passage, we may not appreciate the value behind the exhortation to memorize Scripture. We can, and should, be extremely grateful for the technology that allows us to access the Word so effortlessly. But we should not make this our defense for not doing the work of delighting in and meditating on the Law, which the Psalmist says bears much fruit (Psalm 1:2-3).
In order to pursue Scripture memory, there must be biblical motivation. There are many reasons why memorizing the Word of God is both necessary and profitable for the Christian, but here are just a few that have encouraged me to continue in this discipline:
Jesus modeled it.
Christ demonstrated the fruit of Scripture memory during His time on Earth. When tempted by the Devil, He responded by quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). When He preached the Sermon on the Mount, He referenced the Ten Commandments (Matthew 5:21-38).
We’re commanded to do it.
All over the Bible are written commands and exhortations to “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” (Colossians 3:16) and dwell on “whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute,” etc. (Philippians 4:8). How can we dwell on something that isn’t in our minds?
It helps us fight sin and guard against temptation.
The Psalmist affirms this protection of Scripture when he says,
“Your Word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11). And the Word of God in Ephesians 6 is referred to as “the sword of the Spirit,” which is the weapon we use in our fight.
Now, these exhortations alone should be reason enough to call us into obedience. But if I were to rewind about four years, I would tell you about the time I met with a dear friend of mine. After describing to her my various circumstances and trials, she asked me (as she always had), “What are you memorizing?” It was not patronizing, but sincere. And I responded (as I always had) by shrugging my shoulders and attempting to make an excuse. I mentioned a vague verse I had memorized in the past and how much I “knew I should and that it was good for me.” But I clearly did not believe it, because I did not choose to put Scripture to memory.
Just a couple months following that night, I would walk through some difficult trials. I struggled to trust God’s goodness toward me and easily despaired in my regular activities. I found that the battle was in my thinking. Left to my own thoughts, I doubted God and I wandered into unbelief. It was at this point, by God’s grace, I moved toward Him and not away. And so began my journey into memorizing large chunks of Scripture.
I would simply plead with you to begin a process of memorizing Scripture now, and not to wait until you find yourself in the midst of a difficult trial. The value will be worth your efforts.