“Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee,” (Psalm 119:11). I memorized this verse when I was very young, probably in a Sunday School class. As I read the Word, often I would see a verse that “stood out” to me and I would memorize it. I thank the Lord for each way that he encouraged me to memorize his Word as I often did it to please the teacher, win a contest or earn a badge. Yet those are the Scriptures that I can recall the best.
Andrew Davis mentions numerous spiritual benefits of memorizing Scripture in his short book, An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture. Davis first shows by quoting Jesus and Peter that our spiritual existence depends on the Word. Jesus asked the Father to sanctify his disciples in truth and added, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). I used to read the Word daily and memorize portions because I was told it was a spiritual discipline. As I have grown in my relationship with the Lord, though, I realize that I need to read the Word and memorize it to keep me from falling into error. The Word is my compass that shows me when I am walking and thinking correctly about God and when I veer to the right or left. One degree of difference is small at the beginning, but if I follow the trajectory, I can soon be very far from the truth. So memorizing Scripture helps me walk in truth as I contemplate it and as the Holy Spirit brings it to memory at strategic times.
Not only does memorization help me walk in truth, but it helps those around me, also. I am often in situations with another believer(s) where we are talking about life and circumstances and the Lord brings to memory something from his Word that speaks into the situation and conversation. We often pray Scripture as we corporately come before the Lord. What better way to know that we are praying according to God’s will than to pray Scripture accurately?
Davis also talks about using memorized Scripture as the sword of the Spirit in moments of temptation and spiritual warfare. David echoed a similar sentiment in the abovementioned verse. I have used memorized Scripture in this way. Davis quotes Romans 12:2 as he mentions that the Word changes our whole mindset so that we are not conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of our minds. Paul talks about the same thing in Romans 8 when he discusses the mind set on the flesh and the mind set on the Spirit. This is akin to the discussion above about the Word being a compass. I do appreciate Davis’ metaphor of the Scripture being like a pure river that washes through our minds. It creates in me a picture of cleansing and refreshing.
Davis describes Bible memorization as a tool to use when sharing the Gospel with others, always being ready to share the reason for the hope in us (1 Peter 3:15). When I was in high school, I shared a lot with my unsaved friends using verses from the Bible. I had to change the King James verb endings so I did not sound like I came from a different century and sound irrelevant. I began memorizing in the New American Standard Bible in high school, but even that can sound out-of-date now. I have started memorizing in the English Standard Version.
David mentions the benefit of having Scripture available for “comfort during trials and bereavement, power and wisdom for counseling, the development of heavenly-mindedness, the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit, conviction over indwelling sin, fruitful passage of time while waiting for delayed plane flights, etc.” I am in total agreement with him and have used memorized Scripture in these ways.
In conclusion, Bible memorization is crucial for my spiritual existence and for the spiritual existence of those around me. Jesus told his disciples in the upper room that, “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). May I always have a storehouse of Scripture in my mind and heart that the Spirit can bring to my memory when I need it and want it for worship, obedience, my edification and the edification of others.
Andrew Davis, An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture (2014). Download and print it for free: http://hopebaptistchurch.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Davis-Approach-to-Memorization.pdf