Considering all the time and diligence it takes to successfully memorize a passage, I asked myself what drives me to memorize Scripture? Why do I have an insatiable desire to hide as much of God’s Word in my heart as I can while I'm on this side of heaven?
Here is why I love memorizing Scripture and can’t imagine my life without it:
1. I notice and takeaway so much more from a passage that I memorize than had I simply read that same passage or answered 3-8 Bible study questions about it. It's like when I go through a walk through my neighborhood verses driving through it. When I am driving through it, I am able to see some of the beauty in my neighborhood, but I miss the details of the amazing flowers, plants, and trees that I drive by. When I memorize Scripture, I notice so much more about the passage I'm memorizing just as I notice so much more of the beauty in my neighborhood when slow down and walk through it verses just driving through it.
2. Memorizing Scripture is transforming my prayer life. I remember a time in my life when the thought of praying more than ten minutes in one sitting seemed impossible. What could I possibly pray about beyond that? After praying a few basic prayers, I was at a loss for words.
Now, with each verse I hide in my heart, I have something new I can pray about. For instance, when I was memorizing psalm 103 and had a migraine I prayed:
“Lord You are the one who heals all our diseases. (Psalm 1:3) Any time I have ever gotten better it is only because of You. If it be Your will, please heal me now of this migraine. I thank You, You don’t withhold good from me. So as long as I am suffering with this migraine, I thank you for the good You have for me within it. Lord, I thank you for the good I can see in it already: that it’s 1:30 in the morning, and my little girl is asleep, so I can just lay here and rest until she wakes up at 6:00am. Please, please take this migraine away before then, so I can be the mom she needs me to be, and help me to feel refreshed in the morning with whatever sleep I get between now and then. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Praise the Lord, God answered that prayer just as I had prayed! When I woke up 4 ½ hours later at the sound of my 3 ½ year old’s beautiful singing voice, I was relieved and overjoyed that I felt good as new! No migraine. No tiredness. God is so faithful!
3. Memorizing Scripture helps me obey the commands in Deuteronomy to talk to my daughter about God all throughout the day because it gives me more things about the Bible to talk about with her.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deut. 6:6-7)“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. (Deut 11:18-19)
I remember thinking “How am I going to have enough to talk about so I'm not saying the same Bible truths, and the same Bible stories day after day? But I’ve found as I memorize new verses, truths about God jump out at me and now I have something new and exciting to share. For instance, when I was memorizing John 1:1-14, and got to John 1:3 it was the first time I had ever seen Jesus as Creator. I always believed He is God, but had always attributed creation to God the Father. So it was neat to share with my girl, “Did you know that all things were made through Jesus, and without Him, nothing was made that was made? Every person, plant, animal, etc. you see is here because Jesus made it. And without Him, none of it would be here.”
4. I learn things about God and His Word I never realized before. Like Jesus as Creator (John 1:3), the progression of sin (Psalm 1:1) or the depths of Gods mercy revealed in Psalm 103.
5. Complex passages and verses become much more clear and understandable the longer I meditate on a passage and consider what is being communicated. John 1:1-14 had a lot of deep verses that just reading through I had a hard time understanding exactly what was being said. However, over the seven weeks that it took to memorize it, each weeks message became more and more clear. Now that I review it daily, just saying it once through, I not only can say the verses word-for-word, but I now know the meaning and message communicated in these verses. This reason is one of the main reasons why I am motivated to memorize Scripture. It’s like a light has been turned on in my understanding of the Scriptures I memorize. I love it!
6. Memorizing Scripture makes me a more effective teacher to my daughter in teaching her how to memorize her own Bible verses. (And also how to keep them hidden in her heart.) Not only does it help me teach her how to memorize her verses, but as she sees me practice and recite my own memory verses she is encouraged and excited to memorize her own verses. It is so cute listening to my almost 4-year-old cheer me on when I finish reciting my verses, as she beams, “Good job, Mom! Give me a high five! I’m going to make you a chart and put a star on it!”
7. Memorizing Scripture enables me to remember passages of the Bible I otherwise would forget had I simply read through a passage. I memorize because I have a bad memory. Sounds ironic, doesn't it? But it's true. I can read a passage during my morning devotions, or even Sunday at church, and if asked what I read, I’m hard pressed to give a decent answer. For me, I don’t retain a lot of what I read in my Bible, if I’m just reading it. However, when I memorize a passage, I can tell you exactly what that passage says. It moves me past being familiar with what a passage says to being certain of what it says.
8. It gives me something edifying to dwell on throughout each day. God calls us to dwell on “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8
With the daily decisions, disappointments, and discouragements that pop up each day, despite these things that have the potential to burden or overwhelm, focusing my thoughts on a memory verse throughout my day encourages me and equips me for whatever the day may bring.
9. Memorizing Scripture helps me better discern what’s true and what’s not, so I am not as susceptible to being deceived. This was Eve’s problem in Genesis 3. She did not really know what God said. She had a familiarity. She knew the gist. God never said she could not touch the fruit. (Genesis 3:3) He simply said not to eat it. (Genesis 2:16-17) Had she memorized what God had commanded, she would have known exactly what God said, and why He said it “on that day, you shall surely die” and would have been able to, with full confidence, counter the serpent’s lie with the truth. Which leads me to my final reason I love memorizing Scripture…
10. It gives me verses and truths I can use to counter temptation when it comes. (Eph. 6:11, 17) When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Jesus countered, and overcame, every temptation thrown His way with Scripture. (Matthew 4:1-11) If you know what tempts you, any areas of weakness, I recommend seeing what the Bible says about that area and using those verses to fight off temptations when you are faced with them. For me, when I am tempted to worry I can rest in the promise that God will provide whatever I may need. (Philippians 4:19)
Questions for you: Why do you memorize Scripture? How have you been blessed by memorizing Scripture?
Copyright © 2012 Brooke Espinoza.