When it comes to the disciplines of the Christian life, I feel like, by God’s grace, I’ve made some real progress these past couple of years. I’m no super-Christian. If I live to be 103, I’ll still have work to do. But God has worked in my life and helped allow some of these disciplines to really take off. I have a pretty good Bible reading habit, and a pseudo developed prayer life.
But the area I struggle in the most is Scripture memorization. Actually, is it considered a struggle if you don’t even attempt it? That’s me. Lately, though, it just keeps coming up in things I’m reading or listening to. Yes, Holy Spririt, I’m taking the hint!
As a kid, I was a regular attender of the popular church program called Awana. Shout out to my fellow Awana veterans out there! For those who aren’t familiar, it was almost like the church version of Boy Scouts. We met once a week and worked through these books that promoted Bible literacy and memorization. We would memorize the verses throughout the week, then recite them to our leader. She would sign off on it, and we moved on to the next section. The goal was to finish the book assigned your grade in the course of the year. Badges for our uniforms were awarded for certain achievements. I actually found a bunch of my old badges in a box not too long ago!
I have to thank that program for years of Scripture hidden away in my heart….verses that just come to mind in the heat of the moment, all because I took the time to memorize them as a kid. Even if I don’t remember it verbatim, my soul gets the gist of it.
Why is Scripture memorization so important? Important enough to build a whole curriculum that thousands of churches still use today?
If we really understood how important the Bible is to our lives, then memorizing it would be a no brainer. The authors of the Bible themselves couldn’t say enough about it. Here are a few of their thoughts…
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” Proverbs 30:5
And there are so many more examples! If we really understood that Scripture can direct our paths, train us in godliness, equip us to live in this world, and be our safe hiding place; then we’d be fools to not want to hide those precious words in our souls.
John Piper wrote an excellent article on this very subject (link below). He says that scripture memory is essential in gaining victory over sin. In those moments where we are faced with the choice to go with what the devil is whispering our ear or making the difficult decision to do the right thing, having words of encouragement or direction can be so powerful. Those words can trump the evil whispers and help us make the right decision.
Another benefit is that we really learn the person and personality of God. John Piper says “Storing texts in our minds about God helps us relate to him as he really is.”. If we really want to get to know someone, we spend time with them, listen to what they say…and remember it. Think about when you met your spouse. Did you ever dose off at night, replaying something special or sweet they said, with a smile on your face? I know I sure did. And the words that I took to heart made me fall more in love with him.
The same is true with our relationship with our Savior! In order to get to know Him, really know Him and His heart, we have to listen to and remember what He’s said. When we soak those words into our minds, we get to truly know our Savior. The Savior who knows you down to the smallest detail, because He hand put you together in your mother’s belly. The Savior who gave His everything for you. He’s worth getting to know.
So how do we do make this a habit? There doesn’t seem to be an adult version of Awana. (Hint, hint….maybe someone can run with that idea?) But there are a few practical things we can do to make Scripture memory a practice in our lives.
1. Use a dry erase marker. You can easily throw a favorite verse on your bathroom mirror or a window, wherever you’ll easily see it.
2. Index cards are favorite of mine. Write down the verse you’re working on, and put it where you’ll see it. Mine end up on my car dash, in my wallet, next to my bed, under my computer monitor at work, etc.
3. Find the some time where you have some mental ‘down time’. For me, it’s while I’m washing dishes or working out. They are times where my hands are busy, but I could be reciting Scripture in my head instead of spacing out or watching Netflix. Find where those opportunities lie for you.
4. There are memes for everything. Just do a Google image search of the passage you’re memorizing, and something will come up that you can set as your phone background. If you picked a more obscure verse and you can’t find an image, there are plenty of apps that can help you make your own. If you’re having trouble, ask the closest 13 year old to help you out. They’re geniuses at this stuff.
5. #MemorizationMonday. If you’ve liked our page on Facebook – Spacious Place Ministries – you can join the weekly memorization challenge. We’d love to have you join us as we work together and encourage each other!
So pick one of these things, along with a verse that means a lot to you, and start imprinting those words on your soul!
John Piper article- https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/why-memorize-scripture