Once in a while I read something that makes my heart beat faster and that happened as I read a piece from Alexander Maclaren on the love of Christ. Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) was a Baptist pastor in Manchester, England. His Expositions of Holy Scripture were printed in 32 volumes and...
Imagine while on a hike with friends you stumble across a vast and ancient treasure, filled with acres and acres of gold and diamonds worth many millions of dollars.
Knowing it was yours for the taking, would you pass it by? Chances are you’d fill up your pockets and backpack with as much as you could carry, then come back with a plan to haul away the rest of the treasure!
If this sounds like a dream come true, then consider this: the reality of every Christian is jaw-droppingly greater. Scripture calls itself much more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey (Psalm 19:10). Every page of the Bible is filled with eternal truth about the universe and wisdom for every aspect of life. Unfortunately, many believers leave a treasure trove of spiritual riches on the shelf instead of sowing it deep into their hearts through Scripture memory.
Here are ten biblical reasons to memorize Scripture¹:
1. Jesus memorized Scripture.
Jesus, the Word incarnate, knew the written Word, and quoted it all the time. He quoted twenty-four books of the Old Testament almost 180 times in the New Testament. It’s clear that he thought of the Scriptures as the ultimate authority in life and a way to understand the heart and desires of God. Why would we not follow the example of Jesus in knowing the Scriptures by heart?
2. We are called to memorize Scripture.
Colossians 3:16 tells us to “let the word of Christ dwell in us richly.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us to bind God’s law on our foreheads, teach it to our children, talk about it wherever we go, and make it an integral part of our lives. We must know Scripture first before we can teach it or apply it as God desires. The command to know Scripture is not burdensome, but life-giving.
3. Memorizing Scripture renews our mind and transforms our life.
Do you have to write everything down in order to not forget? God knows that we cannot remember or keep his commands without being reminded of them frequently. This is one reason he told us to renew our minds in the Scriptures daily. He already wrote down what we need to know!
According to Romans 12:2, keeping Scripture at the forefront of our minds will help us receive spiritual transformation from Almighty God. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
4. Memorizing Scripture helps against temptation.
The armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20 only mentions one offensive weapon: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” Scripture is a powerful weapon for cutting down deceitful words and reminding us of God’s precious and powerful promises to us.
When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus wielded the sword of the Spirit and the devil fled (Matthew 4:1-11). The Word has power! If you are fighting against a specific sin, hide God’s Word in your heart to help you live overcome temptation (Psalm 119:11).
5. Memorizing Scripture helps us live in obedience.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. (Psalm 119:9)
Memorizing Scripture and meditating on it is a preventative method for avoiding temptation because when God’s Word is fresh in your mind, you will more easily avoid temptation.
6. Memorizing Scripture will bring God’s blessing to our lives.
Several times in the Bible, God connects his blessing with a continual meditation on his Word. Consider Joshua 1:8: “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.”
Psalm 1 also describes a man who delights on the Word of God as blessed. It logically follows that if you truly delight in the Word, you will think about it so much that it will fuse into your memory.
The blessing that comes is not necessarily health, wealth, or prosperity, but rather will be something far greater: spiritual vitality, profound hope, and greater communion with the Creator of the Universe and Lover of your soul.
7. Memorizing Scripture allows us to more readily encourage believers.
One of Scripture’s stated purposes is to encourage and give us hope (Romans 15:4). For this reason, Paul exhorts in 1 Thessalonians 4:18 to be ready to encourage other believers with the truth. When we have verses and passages ready, we can more easily build up other believers in the truth.
This point is especially relevant for pastors. I heard a story of a pastor who forgot his Bible during a hospital visit and was put on the spot to share something from God’s Word. The pastor froze, not having any passages completely memorized. Don’t let that happen to you!
8. Memorizing Scripture allows us to share with unbelievers better.
We are urged in 1 Peter 3:15 to always be ready to give a defense for our hope in Christ. We should memorize Scripture so we can walk unbelievers through the salvation message and help them understand their sin and need for a Savior. Speaking God’s words instead of our own will give our message more authority and will harness the power that is in the Word of God (Isaiah 55:11; Hebrews 4:12; Jeremiah 23:29).
9. Memorizing Scripture gives us a better understanding of God and his will.
When we know God’s Word and obey it, we are able to experience God at a deeper level and experience the freedom that comes only through obedience (John 8:31-32, 14:21). The deeper we know God, the deeper we know his will for us. Romans 12:2 says that when we renew our minds and are transformed, we will be able to “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
What Christian does not want a better understanding of God and his perfect will?
10. Memorizing Scripture makes us wise.
The Bible is a book of tremendous wisdom that can have an impact on every area of our life. By memorizing the Scripture we are able to have wisdom with us at all times. Luke 2:52 says that even Jesus grew in wisdom during his earthly life. Why should we not do the same?
Christian, make the Bible your supreme treasure. Whether it be a few verses, longer passages, or complete books, there is no better investment of your time than hiding God’s Word in your heart.
This last year in my small group, I have been able to memorize the first three chapters of Ephesians with the goal of memorizing the entire book. Words can’t adequately explain the blessing this challenge has brought to my life.
If you don’t dare to tackle a longer chunk of Scripture, I recommend this list of verses as a starting place: 2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:5; 1 John 1:9; Acts 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 73:25-26; Mark 8:35-36; Romans 8:31-32; 1 Peter 1:13; Ezekiel 36:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10; Hebrews 4:15-16; John 1:1-2; Psalm 27:4.
May God richly bless your efforts!