By Pastor Joshua Hall
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“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (ESV)
One of the main reasons for memorizing scripture is that God uses it to make us more like Christ. God’s Word is powerful, and when we memorize it and meditate on it, God changes us from the inside out. Consider what God told Joshua:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
How can we meditate on the scriptures day and night unless we memorize them? God told Joshua that if he was going to lead the people into their inheritance in the promised land, that he needed to meditate upon, speak, and obey the scriptures.
Lest we believe that only spiritual giants in the faith, only leaders like Joshua need to spend so much time in the Word, Consider the teachings of Psalm 1. God began his divinely inspired songbook with this same principle.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” Psalm 1 (ESV)
If we are to inherit eternal life, we must be people of the Word. If we are to prosper in this life and the next, we must memorize and meditate upon the scriptures.
Consider one more passage:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:1-11 (ESV)
The logic here is pretty straightforward. There are two types of people in the church (the vine). Some bear the fruit of salvation and continue to be pruned by the scriptures. Others bear no fruit and will be cut off and burned in hell. If we are to be the ones who bear fruit, we must remain in Christ. We remain by being filled with the Word, by praying according to the Word, and by obeying the Word. Only by remaining in Christ can we be filled with the love of Christ. And only when we are filled with the love of Christ can we obey His commandments. By remaining in the Word, we remain in God’s love, and then we experience the joy of the Lord.
I hope these scriptures inspire you to begin memorizing and meditating on the Bible! I can tell you from personal experience that scripture memory will change your life!
If you have never memorized scripture before, you may think it is difficult. I can assure you that it is not difficult, it simply requires a few minutes every day. I often write a verse on a chalkboard, read it out loud, and then erase a word. I then read it out loud again, being careful to remember the missing word, and then erase another word. I proceed like this until all the words have been erased, including the reference. Be sure to say the reference out loud before and after each recitation so that you will remember where the verse is found!
Another good way to memorize the scripture is to make flash cards. Write the reference on one side, and the verse on the other. Practice until you can see the reference and cite the verse from memory, or see the verse and recall the reference.
Some people prefer learning by writing the text out over and over again. Others prefer to make an audio recording and listen to it regularly. Still others prefer to put the verses to music and sing them! You can find lots of albums of scripture set to music!
It is good to have a few key verses memorized from throughout the Bible. But it is also good to memorize passages of scripture. Here is a list of scriptures which you may wish to start with.
Recommended Scripture Memory
The Roman Road – The plan of salvation, useful for sharing the gospel.
Romans 1:20-21, Romans 3:23, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9-10, Romans 10:13, Romans 11:36,
The Topical Memory System – Useful for general discipleship, put together by the Navigators.
This list can be found by clicking here.
Matthew 28:18-20 – The Great Commission
Psalm 46:1-11 – God is our Strength
Psalm 1 – The Blessed Man
Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd
Psalm 51 – A Song of Repentance
Matthew 6:9-13 The Lord’s Prayer
John 1:1-5 – Who is Jesus?
Colossians 1:15-20 – Who is Jesus?
Phil 3:7-11 – The Cost of Following Jesus
Galatians 5:22-23 The Fruit of the Spirit
Romans 8 – God of all Comfort
Scripture memory is a lifelong blessing. Don’t get discouraged if it seems difficult! I don’t have all of these memorized, and some of the ones I do have are rusty! But not a day goes by in which God does not remind me of scripture committed to memory in order to help me through my day! I pray that God will give you a deep hunger to memorize the Word and that you will be as blessed as I have been in your labors.