“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:10-11
Most Christians believe that knowing the scriptures is critical to our walk with God. But what about memorizing scripture, is that as important? After all, there are very few things that I need to memorize. All of the phone numbers that I need are already programmed into my cell phone. My favorite websites pop up automatically on my desktop. My address book contains all of the email addresses that I need. I can contact thousands of people instantly on Facebook and Twitter. I can research the Bible on my phone or iPad or laptop anytime I need it.
Why should you memorize God’s Word? The answer is simple. Our purpose is to become more and more like Jesus. But how can we do this if we don’t obey God’s word? How can we obey, if we do not know it and understand it? And, how can we understand it if we do not study it, memorize it and meditate on it as much as we can. Don’t just read the Bible – know the Bible.
Chuck Swindoll, pastor of Stonebriar Community Church wrote, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends. Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified.”
The Reverend Billy Graham in a interview said he should have spent more time immersed in Scripture and theology, “I have friends that have memorized great portions of the Bible. They can quote [so much], and that would mean a lot to me now. Personally I’ve found my spiritual life strongest when I spent time meditating and memorizing God’s Word.”
God’s word tells us that we are responsible to know God’s word and be prepared to present it to others. 1 Peter 3: 15 says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Colossians 3:15 has this to say: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” And Proverbs 7:2-3 says, “ Guard my words as your most precious possession. Write them down, and also keep them deep within your heart.” (TLB)
What does memorizing scripture do for us in a more practical sense? It helps direct your path and make better decisions. I can’t count how many times I’ve asked God for guidance about something very specific, and he has brought a Scripture I’ve memorized back to mind, showing me what to do. The Bible says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105). The more you know what God says, the more you are going to know how God thinks, because the will of God is found in the Word of God. The more you fill your mind with the Word of God, the more you will know the will of God.
It provides comfort in the midst of trials. We all get stressed from time to time. And the Bible says this, “Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles” (Psalm 119:49-50 NLT). I believe that knowing scripture will increase your confidence level dramatically. I can’t tell you how many times I have been down and read Scripture, and it gave me great comfort.
There are other reasons for memorizing Scripture. I hope you find them in the actual practice.