Let’s spend some time going deeper in our understanding of Scripture memory.
As you search the Bible you can find at least 12 reasons why Scripture memory is important:
Reason number one: Scripture memory is important so we will be prepared if the Word is taken away from us.
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord”
One twentysomething guy in Central Asia could not figure out why Scripture memory was important – until the police started confiscating Christian books. Then he could see the value of having verses memorized that he could use anytime, anywhere and could not be taken away from him.
Hopefully you will never be arrested for your faith. But if that does happen, verses that you have memorized will be your lifesaver – giving you peace, focusing your mind, showing you what steps to take next. Be prepared! Memorize verses now!
Also, even if the police are not taking our Bibles away, we don’t always have our Bibles with us when we are at the market or at friend’s homes. But if we have verses stored in our heads, we can use them effectively for evangelism or encouragement. Plan ahead!
Reason number two: Scripture memory is commanded.
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
If we are to take advantage of the teachable moments with our children and others, being able to quickly pull verses we’ve memorized out of our memory bank and share them will be essential. What powerful teachers we’ll be if we can weave Bible verses we’ve memorized into everyday conversations and events. That will surely impact lives.
Reason number three: Scripture memory will clean us and keep us from sin.
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
How many young people were strongly tempted to sin – but didn’t sin because of Bible verses they had memorized that pulled them back from sinful behavior? Young people need such verses in their heads – older Christians do, also. With so much filth on TV, in some song lyrics, and with the temptation of pornography, all of us must build verses into our heads to guard our purity.
Reason number four: Scripture memory will help us to be Christ like and defeat the devil.
Matthew 4:4, 7, 10
:4But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’
It’s Jesus versus the devil here, and Jesus wins. Why? Why does Jesus not yield to such powerful temptation? Because He is God. But also He is modeling for us the power of memorizing verses. In Jesus’ day little Jewish boys sometimes memorized entire books of the Old Testament, and it sure looks here like Jesus had done that. When the devil tempts Jesus, He doesn’t say, “Um, will you give me a week to think about it?” No! Jesus says, “It is written, it is written, it is written”. He knows His verses well.
Let’s be realistic. When Satan tempts us, it usually isn’t a surprise which area of our lives He picks to tempt us. All of us have a pretty good idea what our weak points are. So, that means we need to memorize verses in those areas so we can stay strong in those areas. If anger is a weak point, then memorize verses on anger. If lust is a weak point, then memorize verses on lust. If greed is a problem, then memorize verses on greed. Plan ahead!
Reason number five: Scripture memory will equip us for all good works.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
We will be equipped because Scripture memory has made us like Christ, swept away sin, and built Christlikeness in us. Therefore, our lives do not contradict what we say. We will also be equipped because Scripture memory will give us needed messages to give to others: how to come to faith in Christ, how to live the Christian life, how to deal with problems.
Reason number six: Scripture memory will help us have an effective prayer life.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
As we saturate our brains with verses and seek to understand and obey those verses, our prayers will be in line with God’s will, and God will answer them. We won’t be wasting God’s time and ours by praying for things that have no place in the Christian life.
Reason number seven: Scripture memory gives the promise of success.
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Wait a minute! You might know believers who have memorized verses but don’t live in million dollar homes or drive expensive cars, so where is the success? Don’t confuse worldly success (money, power, status) with Godly success (peace with God and others, victory over sin, and a life overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit.) If we want success from God’s perspective, Scripture memory will give us the focus, guard rails, encouragement and goals we need to earn a success rating from our heavenly Father.
Reason number eight: Scripture memory was modeled by the apostles.
Acts 2:16-21, 25-28
16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
18 even on my male servants and female servants
in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
This is the most important speech of Peter’s life. And what does he include in it? Substantial portions of the Old Testament he had memorized. When we have the opportunity to talk in front of others on important occasions, as in funerals or weddings, we would be wise to follow Peter’s example here and include appropriate Bible verses.
Reason number nine: Scripture memory will give us effective ministry.
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Two edged swords are intimidating in their power and effectiveness – especially when used by a trained swordsman. Imagine having a two edged sword in your brain – because you have made the time to memorize verses. With that two edged sword in your brain you can slice through deceptive thinking, destroy lies that come across your path, cut through fog, chop away anything that interferes with your walk with the Lord, and share truth in love but in power to needy hearts. How sharp do you keep the two edged sword in your brain?
Reason number ten: Scripture memory gives guidance
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
“Time is precious, and it is slipping away”. How fast our lives fly by. Are we seizing each day for God as we let Him guide our schedule? Do we see He is the best manager possible for our lives?
Reason number eleven: Scripture memory puts fire in our hearts for God.
32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
The world needs believers who are sold out to obedience, who love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, who are willing to take risks to advance the kingdom. Verses memorized in our heads will do all that for us and for the glory of God. Let’s not settle for anything else but white hot hearts for God.
Reason number twelve: Scripture memory is the most effective way of renewing our minds.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Take a good look at this verse. The word “transformed” in the original language in which this was written is the word “metamorphosis” which is the process a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. So, what is this saying? This is saying as we take Scripture memory seriously we are changed into another form. Our name and appearance stay the same, but on the inside we are different people. Take Scripture memory seriously, and you’ll see that is exactly what happens. The more verses in your head that you obey, the more you become more like Christ. Awesome.
Eight years ago I met a young man who had been beaten by his parents, beaten in the army, attempted suicide four times, and was a slave to pornography. He thought of himself as a loser. Today he is happily married, a good father, has a good employment record, is a respected leader in his church, living a pure life and joyful in the Lord. What made the difference? After trusting Jesus as his Savior, he became a tiger in memorizing and mediating on Bible verses. He saturated his mind with appropriate verses, using his time on the bus and every spare moment of the day to reprogram his mind with God’s Word. What happened to him can happen to you – if you are willing to work as hard as he did.
Years ago a famous Christian was asked if he could meet anyone in all history, whom would he like to meet? He replied that he would like to meet the person he could have been. He knew he had wasted much of his life, even though he was a Christian. He wanted to see what his life would have been like if he had had total obedience to the Lord. If you and I take Scripture memory seriously and pour our energy into it, we will start to become the person God intended for us to be. And we will like what we see. And we will not have regret for the path we’ve taken.
Be all you can be…..take Scripture memory seriously.
Suggestions for Scripture memory
Pick a verse you need
Read it daily
Write it out on a piece of paper and carry it around in your pocket so you can pull it out and read it all through the day.
Ask yourself what the verse means.
Ask yourself who is a good example of that verse.
Ask yourself what is holding you back from obeying that verse.
Ask yourself what specific action steps you should take to do that verse.
Tape the verse to the bathroom mirror and refrigerator
Review, review, review.
Of all the roots, Scripture memory is probably the most challenging –but gives us the greatest rewards.