only help my unbelief

What I’m Learning from Memorizing Scripture
January 23, 2009, 9:13 am
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As I’ve said before, encouraging Scripture memorization is one of my passions. For too long that discipline was inactive in my life, but recently God has been cultivating a love for His Word in my heart.

The funny thing is, when I write about Scripture memorization here, the traffic remains the same, and the post rarely gets viewed. But when I write about LOST or how I met Christian, traffic jumps to three times its normal rate.

Now, I don’t really care how many people visit my blog. I don’t have any advertising, so it’s not like I’m trying to earn money. And enough people read it and mention things I’ve written to me that I don’t feel like my writing is futile.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m going to keep writing about memorizing Scripture, even if no one reads these posts. It’s helpful to me to think about the process of memorizing and meditating, because it makes it even more real to me.

When I started memorizing 1 John, I thought that what I would take away from it was the ability to recite the whole book. I still hope that’s true, but there is so much more than that. The Word truly is living and active.

God answers prayers to love His Word with a love for His Word.
Maybe this shouldn’t be a surprise, but I’m a firm believer that God always answers this prayer. When I started memorizing 1 John in November, it was slow going. I tried to memorize six verses a week, but it took me several weeks to memorize the first chapter (10 verses). But then I started praying that God would give me a love for His Word that expressed itself in a diligence in memorizing it. If you’re struggling with wondering if God really does answer prayer, then try praying about this and just see if He doesn’t answer. He will.

It gets easier as you go.
This was a surprise to me, because I thought that when I got into the middle of the book, it would get harder, because there was so much more to review. Actually, the farther I get in, the more encouraged I get, so the more I want to memorize. Whereas in the first couple weeks it was a struggle to memorize even one verse a day, now I’m trying to memorize two verses a day, and sometimes three if they’re somewhat familiar and not too long. Of course, you should never press on too quickly at the expense of remembering previous verses, but if you’re struggling in the beginning, take heart. It will get easier as your mind becomes more adept at memorizing.

Sin is no longer as tempting.
Well, some sin, anyway. Unfortunately, our hearts really are deceitful above all things, and just because you’ve got solid words of truth in your heart doesn’t mean that you’re never going to sin. But God tells us in Ephesians 6 that the Word is a sword, and that means He means for us to use it to fight against the devil, and, sometimes, against our own hearts. 1 John 3:10 says, “By this it is evident who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love His brother.” I won’t get into the theology of losing our salvation, because I don’t believe that we can, but I do believe that God is serious about sin. Several times since I’ve memorized that verse and been tempted toward sins that I daily struggle with, I’ve been able to recall that verses – “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.” Add to that a sincere prayer that God will rescue you from the temptation, and Satan has no chance.

Books with Scripture references are way more fun to read.
This is probably bad, but most of the time when I’m reading a book with Scripture references in it, I don’t often look them up. Sometimes, of course, the author actually quotes the verses, but sometimes it’s just the reference. This hasn’t happened much, yet, but in one book I’m reading, the author quoted at different points several verses from the beginning of 1 John. I saw the reference, and the verse popped into my head. I probably wouldn’t have looked them up, so having the verse in my head actually increased how much I was edified by the book.

Scripture memorization precedes Scripture memorization.
It’s true that I’ve gotten more encouraged to finish up 1 John since I started, but I’ve also found an increasing desire to keep memorizing after I’ve finished. My goal before was simply to finish 1 John before the wedding, but because I’ve been able to pick up the pace a little bit, now I’m going to try to finish 1 John by the beginning of March, and then try to memorize as much of the book of James as I can before the wedding – especially chapter 3, which focuses a lot on the tongue. Which needs a lot of work, in my case. And I’ve made a list of other things I want to memorize – several Psalms, Romans 8, the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes. These are long-term goals, but the more Scripture I get into my heart, the more I want to be in there.

I truly hope none of what I’ve written sounds like I’m bragging. I’ve been a Christian for about 17 years, and until I started this endeavor last fall, I had very little Scripture captured in my heart apart from verses I learned when I was under the age of 10. I’ve wasted many, many years in which my mind was fresh and hungry for knowledge. My hope is that in reading about how rich the experience of memorizing Scripture has been for me, you will discover the joy of having God’s Word in your heart, no matter how old you are.

I don’t know what the coming years will bring, but if the past couple of years are any indication, persecution is becoming more and more common. And I don’t know if it will ever get to the point that our Bibles are taken away from us, but what if they are? I want us to be ready.


2 Comments so far
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Great post! Some of us are reading out here… 😉

Seriously, memorizing Scripture can be a bit addictive. As you pointed out, it gets easier as you go, and your appetite for it just grows and grows.

Comment by Andy

Oh, also, I want to memorize Rom 8 and the Beatitudes, too. I’ve done a couple of the Psalms already, and Heb 11. Maybe I’ll try Rev 2 & 3 also.

Comment by Andy

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