Reading and Studying the Bible Part 2
In part one of spending quality time in the Word of God we learned about hearing God’s Word, reading God’s Word and studying God’s Word. In part two we will learn about memorizing God’s Word,. When it comes to memorizing God’s Word many Christians either think that it’s too much work or just not worth it. Today, we will explore what it means to memorize God’s Word and why it’s important for one’s spiritual growth, as well as for our ministry for Christ.
Memorizing God’s Word
Many Christians look on the spiritual discipline of memorizing God’s Word as something tantamount to modern day martyrdom. Memorizing Scripture is precious when viewed with the understanding of one depositing God’s Word within one’s mind. When Scripture is stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to take and bring to one’s attention when they need it the most. Psalm 119:11, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” When the Holy Spirit brings a verse to mind in a specific situation it’s an illustration of Ephesians 6:17 “the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” A pertinent scriptural truth, brought to one’s awareness by the Holy Spirit at just the right moment can be the weapon that makes the difference in a spiritual battle. One of the ways one experiences more spiritual victories is to do as Jesus did- memorize Scripture so that it’s available for the Holy Spirit to take and ignite within one when its need the most.
Every Christian ought to want to grow in their faith. One way to do this is to strength oneself to memorize Scripture. Proverbs 22:17-19, “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you.” To apply your word to the words of the wise spoken here and to keep them within you pertains to Scriptural memory. The reason given here for keeping the wise words of Scripture within you and ready on your lips. It’s so that your trust may be in the Lord. Memorizing Scripture strengths your faith because it repeatedly reinforces the truth, often just when one needs to hear it again.
On the Day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter was suddenly inspired by God to stand and preach to the crowd about Jesus. Much of what he said consisted of quotations from the Old Testament (Acts 2:14-40). There’s a qualitative difference between Peter’s uniquely inspired sermon and our Spirit-led conversations, his experience illustrations how Scripture memory can prepare one for unexpected witnessing or counseling opportunities that come one’s way.
Psalm 119:24, “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.” The Holy Spirit will use whatever scriptural truth one has in one’s memory bank for the use of ministry and also to provide timely guidance to ourselves.
Memorization Fuels Meditation
One of the most underrated benefits of memorizing Scripture is that it provides fuel for meditation. When one memorizes a verse of Scripture one can meditate on it at anytime during the day of night. Psalm 119:97 provides a great example of this, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, but the Holy Spirit cannot give you a weapon you have not stored in the armory of one’s mind.
The main issue with memorizing Scripture is not a lack of memory but a lack of motivation. If you know your birthday, phone number and address and can remember the names of family, friends, then you can memorize Scripture. The question becomes whether you are willing to discipline yourself to do it.
Having a plan for Scripture memory is crucial. There are several good prepackaged Scripture memory plans available in Christian bookstores. Memorizing Scripture on a topic of interest is helpful. Also, one can make a list of the verses on a sheet of paper or write each verse on a separate index card.
When memorizing Scripture do not lower your standard of getting a few words right. Make sure you are memorizing every word and can recite it word for word. Memorize it word for word and learn the reference, too. Without an objective standard of measurement, the goal is unclear and one may tend to continue lowering the standard until one quits entirely. Make sure you also find an accountability partner to help you in your quest to scriptural memory.