“Do I HAVE to memorize?”
The short answer? Nope. There is no command for memorization. However, there is great benefit to our spiritual growth and maturity from memorization.
The question I would ask in response is, “Why DON’T you memorize Scripture?” And I imagine the main answer I would receive is, “I can’t.” To which my pastor, who can be sort of dramatic, would say, “Then you better tear out Philippians 4:13 from your Bible because you don’t believe that Christ gives you the mental strength to memorize!”
Leaving the dramatics behind for a moment, I do think it is imperative that we acknowledge it is rarely that we CANNOT memorize Scripture … it is,truthfully, that would would RATHER NOT devote the time and energy to doing so. How do I know that we are all capable of memorizing Scripture? Because no doubt many of you have books seared into your brain from reading them to your children so many times. Others of you may have countless extension numbers floating around your head from years worked at a specific office. Still more of us have lines from movies, quotes from television shows, passages of books, and verses of songs readily accessible in our minds.
WE CAN MEMORIZE!
So, back to the main issue … the benefits of memorizing Scripture.
John Piper says in Desiring Joy that we should memorize God’s Word because, “It is the source of life and faith and power and hope and freedom and wisdom and comfort and assurance and victory over our greatest enemy” (152).
Scripture is our source of power and protection. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I may not sin against Thee” (NASB).
Scripture gives us a standard for evaluating our thoughts and pursuits. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (NASB).
Scripture offers us guidelines for relating to others. “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you,” Ephesians 4:32 (NASB).
Scripture provides us with insight into God’s character, “O Lord our Lord, how majestic is Thy name in all the earth, Who hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens!” Psalm 8:1 (NASB).
These are but a few of the benefits we accrue when we spend time memorizing the Word of God.
So, while memorization is not a command, having the Word of God deeply implanted into our hearts and minds affords us a greater ability to be obedient to the Lord in all other ways.
Are you a memorizer? Has imbedding Scripture into your heart always been a struggle for you? Tomorrow, Kathy will be sharing some tips for memorizing.
What passages have you memorized?