Most people don’t believe they can effectively memorize scripture.
Memorizing scripture is not only a good practice, it is vital for the believer.
You could say that it is the difference between wearing or not wearing a helmet when riding a motorbike. The helmet being God’s Word and wearing it or not wearing it is our choice. Will we choose the protective gear that could save our life, or will we opt for convenience and choose to go without it?
After being baptized, Jesus went into the desert where He fasted for 40 days; after which Satan came and tempted Him. Satan had a strategy.
Satan always has a strategy.
His strategy was to manipulate scripture to fit his agenda. He made it sound logical enough that you wouldn’t even realize that he had manipulated its meaning to fit a purpose God never intended.
And his strategy hasn’t changed in 2,000 years.
Same strategy, different scenario, different verses.
But Jesus had a strategy, too.
Actually, Jesus had the exact same strategy. He used Satan’s own strategy to defeat him. He used scripture, in it’s pure form, to completely lay bare the deception of Satan!
But He was only able to do this in the moment of temptation because He had committed scripture to memory.
Memorizing Scripture is Part of Discipleship
Let me ask you a question.
Are you a fan of something? Maybe you have a favorite singer or sports team.
If I were to quiz you, I’ll bet you could quote lyrics, scores, jersey numbers, and all sorts of information about whatever it is that made you a fan.
Discipleship is so much more than a “Jesus Fan Club”.
It is a lifestyle, about which we should be passionate!
I know people who are passionate about a lot of things: a band, a team, their company, their career. and they have memorized loads of pertinent information, statistics, regulations, and laws…
but when it comes to scripture, the Word of God that saves our souls and keeps us from sin, they suddenly come up empty.
The Bible isn’t kidding when it says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11
Memorizing Scripture Should Be a Lifestyle
From an early age my parents began teaching us to memorize scripture. They didn’t start off with random verses, instead they started off by teaching us to memorize whole chapters of the Bible.
We began with Psalm 23. A lot people can quote Psalm 23, but balk at the idea of memorizing other chapters of the Bible.
In my early teen years we memorized the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Romans, 6-8 and the entire book of James, and now I am currently working on memorizing the entire book of Ephesians.
If we truly want to know God’s Word, we have to go beyond reading and studying it and start memorizing it because there will be times when the enemy will send temptation our way.
But, he doesn’t send temptation with a huge label that says, “Beware! This is a temptation!!”.
No, he packages temptation to look logical. Even biblical.
That’s why dating couples in deception can give you a list of reasons why God doesn’t care that they sleep together. Satan has packaged temptation to look logical and biblical to them.
But when the Word of God is hidden away in our heart so that we can pull it out at a moment’s notice, just as Jesus did as a counterattack to the enemy’s strategy, we will defeat him every time!
4 Tips for Memorizing Scripture
1. Memorize large portions of scripture. While you’d think it is easier to memorize single verses here and there in the Bible, it is actually far easier to memorize verses in larger portions: ie. chapters or books. This is the case because there is a natural flow to the passage. The verses fit together like a puzzle.
Furthermore, it is more beneficial because you’re memorizing these verses within their proper context. You’re gaining a deep understanding of what the verse really means by memorizing all of the verses before and after it.
2. Write down the verses. Grab some index cards and write down one verse each day. Keep the index cards with you and pull them out while you’re sitting in traffic, waiting in the waiting room, and at other intervals throughout the day and read them to yourself.
3. Speak them out loud to yourself daily. As you speak the verses out loud, emphasize the key words in the verses as “anchors” to help you remember the verses. Example, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.”
These words are anchors in the verse: Word, hidden, heart, not sin. When I think of those words, my mind immediately recalls this verse.
4. Visualize details in the verses. This has helped me so much to memorize large portions of scripture. As I write, read, and speak the verses to myself, I am visualizing details in my mind and associating them with the key words. This way, when I want to recall the verse, I can recall visual details that make it easier to remember the entire verse accurately.
As you can see, the last three steps involve four different functions of our brain: writing, reading, speaking, and visualizing. The combination of these four actions will help to solidify what you’re committing to memory.
Scripture memorization isn’t just a good practice, it is an essential discipline for every disciple of Jesus Christ!
Having God’s Word hidden in our heart, not just vague meanings of verses or paraphrases, but carefully and accurately memorized scripture that we can use in an instant to combat the deceit of the enemy, is the difference between the life and death of a disciple.