We are considering ways to practice the Spiritual Discipline of Bible intake. Having looked at the practices of hearing the Word as well as reading the Word, we will now consider the practice of memorizing the Word. Bible memorization is a wonderful tool, not only in our own hands for our own use, but even more importantly, in the hands of the Holy Spirit for His use in our lives. However, even though we might remember that the Spirit of God takes the Word of God and changes us in a likeness to the Son of God, many of us still flinch at the practice of Scripture memory. Dr. Whitney in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life writes:
Many Christians look on the Spiritual Disciplines of memorizing God’s Word as something tantamount to modern-day martyrdom. Ask them to memorize Bible verses and they react with about as much eagerness as a request for volunteers to face Nero’s lions. Frequently heard, also, is the excuse of having a bad memory. But what if I offered you one thousand dollars for every verse you could memorize in the next seven days? Do you think your attitude toward Scripture memory and your ability to memorize would improve?
We must be convinced that there is great reward (other than financial) for engaging in the practice of Scripture memory. Therefore, in this post I will list some of the advantages of memorizing verses, while in the next post I will add some useful advice as to how we can actually memorize Scripture.
Deuteronomy 6:6 states, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” Scripture memory is a practice that assists in storing God’s Word in our hearts. There are great benefits to the Word of God being upon our hearts. The Word of God tells us of the benefits of placing the Scriptures within our hearts from passages such as, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you,” (Psalm 119:11), and “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the Lord, I have made them known to you today, even to you,” (Proverbs 22:17-19). Dr Whitney lists five broad benefits of placing the Word of God upon our hearts through the practice of Scripture memory: (1) It supplies spiritual power; (2) It strengthens our faith; (3) It equips us for witnessing and counseling opportunities; (4) It provides us with personal guidance; and (5) It makes meditation an available discipline at any time in any place.
Jerry Bridges from his book, Growing Your Faith, points out that when we memorize Scripture we follow the example of Jesus. He notes from the temptation account in the Gospels that Jesus memorized Scripture and used that to counter Satan. Bridges asks, “If the Son of God, in His humanity, needed Scripture stored in His mind, how much more do we?”