Key Passages: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:18-21; Psalm 63: 1-8; 119: 9, 11, 72; Matthew 4:4; Philippians 3:10; Col. 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; James 1:21-25; 1 Peter 2:2; 3:15
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
Nothing in our Christian life is as important or compares to the value of learning God's Word and then incorporating His precepts into our lives. Thus, memorizing a passage of Scripture is an essential way not only to know His Word, but to know and grow in our Lord and Savior. Yet, many Christians have neglected, even negated this discipline, including me on occasions. We desire the quick way; give me the easiest shortest plan to be a Christian. I am only interested in what is convenient, easy and hassle free. We want something to do that takes little to no work and then we may decide to do it, if we feel like it. Yet, memorizing the Scriptures takes our time, effort, and work; thus, we usually just will not do it. But, consider this: does not God, who saved us and provides for us deserve our best? Doesn't He deserve our best attention and mindset, things we give to others that are so much less important and even fleeing? It is my endeavor here to help persuade you of the importance and veracity of memorizing Scripture, and some tips I have learned over the years to help you do it.
Why We Tend Not to Memorize Scripture
I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. Psalm 119:8
We can come up with all kinds of reasons why we should not or need not memorize Scripture. Perhaps, you are saying or thinking, "I can't because I have a bad memory," or "I just do not have time;" "I have tried this before and I could not do it," or "why should I?", or "I am not a pastor or in leadership." Someone told me once, "I do not need to because Jesus told me I do not have to." I can tell you that I do have a bad memory, and I certainly do not have the time while I pastor, travel, run an international ministry, and then there is my precious new baby. And, I can also certainty tell you that Jesus would never, ever tell you something that contradicts His Word. We are called by God Himself, even commanded to learn, know, ponder on, and memorize Scripture (Josh 1:8; Psalm 1; 15; Is. 8:12; 1 Peter 3: 13-22; 4:12)!
Yet, we tend to not do what He has called-even commanded us to do! We are struggle with this working out of our salvation as described in Philippians 2. We need to work on what hinders us from Christ. I am naturally a lazy person and I would much rather read a "readers digest" version of something-to just get the crux of the matter and move on to something more fun, or just sit and do nothing but watch a movie or read a magazine. Yet, God has called me to pastor and research, which takes much more effort, time, and work than I naturally desire to do. Thus, I have had to learn to discipline myself, practice it, and learn to stick with it, even when I would rather be doing something less intensive or more fun. Because I want to grow in Christ and share with others what I am learning, I have had to learn it first. And, that is what a pastor should be doing, even when we would rather play golf or go fishing (which we can do too, just not all of the time). I had to learn the importance of my call and respond to Christ with my best efforts, my obedience out of love and gratitude so I could be my best and follow His lead.
The effort to memorize Scripture is something all Christians should be doing. It takes time and hard work, but we are to do this with our best efforts and our obedience out of love and gratitude for Who He is and what He has done for us. But, this is not to be a labor of pain or a work of strife that we dread; rather, it is a wondrous and glorious journey because we are getting to know Him more deeply! The memorization of Scripture is not something that engrosses us; it is not something that we do all of the time, or even a majority of our devotional life. Our study, devotional reading, and prayer should take the "lions share" of our efforts, but memorizing must have its place and be a part of our Christian life and walk. It can also be adventurous and fun!
Questions to Ponder
1. What do you think the key is to the multiplication of your faith?
2. What can you do to recognize God's wonderful provisions for you?
3. What will it take for you to be a more committed follower of Christ?
4. How does the fact that you belong entirely to Christ because He purchased, restored, renewed, and empowered you help you take this call further?
5. How will Scripture memory help you in your quest to lead a better more purposeful Christian life?
© 1984, 2006, Rev. R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org/