by Kevin Burton
One excuse I finally stopped allowing myself: I’m not good at memorizing Bible verses.
I’m still not good at it, but I’m doing it and have started reaping the benefits.
Why should you bother memorizing scripture when it’s a close as your Bible or Bible ap? Why not start with the fact that Jesus quoted scriptures. The Bible is the living Word of God. It’s not like an algebra book. God’s word transforms the life of believers.
To go deeper, let’s get some help from Kevin Halloran from Leadership Resources International, a group that trains pastors. His thoughts originally appeared on unlockingthebible.org.
“A mere head knowledge of scripture will not lead to our transformation,” he writes.
Romans 12: 2 reads, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Halloran points to Psalm 1 which “describes a man who delights in the law of the Lord by meditating on it. This leads to prospering and being compared to a tree planted by streams of water that bears fruit.”
“Knowing scripture is a vital part of ministering to others,” Halloran writes.
In 1 Peter 3: 15 we are told to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.”
“We should memorize scripture so we can walk unbelievers through the salvation message and help them understand their sin and need for a savior,” Halloran writes. “Speaking God’s word instead of our own will give our message more authority.”
The apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4: 18 that we should be ready to comfort fellow believers in the truth.
This speaks to one benefit I have seen. More than once during quarantine, a stressed-out relative really needed to hear God’s specific word and have it applied like spiritual medicine, directly on a wound.
With scripture in memory it was much easier. Call it spiritual money in the memory bank.
Second Timothy 3:16 that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness.”
Also Deuteronomy 6:6-9 reads, “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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
To pull that off you would have to have them in memory.
In Jesus’ time of temptation in the wilderness, He countered Satan’s deceitful words with words of truth from the scripture.
In Paul’s armor of God from Ephesians 6, he “only mentions one offensive weapon: the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God,” Halloran writes.
“When we know God’s word and obey it, we are able to experience God at a deeper level and experience the freedom that comes only through obedience,” Halloran writes.
My journey with memorization started with little page-a-day scripture calendars. Some verses that I thought were key ones, I saved. Then all these years later I started memorizing them.
It turns out I saved 11 pages. When I had those down pretty well I got 11 other verses. This time placing one verse each to an index card.
There has been a third set of 11 and now a fourth. These days I don’t feel quite as successful, so I need to figure out something to change up my routine to get back in the groove.
But the idea is to make that effort, for reasons stated above.
Halloran said Jesus quoted from 24 different Old Testament books, roughly 180 times.
“It’s clear that He thought of the scriptures as the ultimate authority in life and a way to understand the heart and desires of God,” he wrote.
One final exhortation, Proverbs 6:21-22, “Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you roam, they will lead you; when you sleep, they will keep you; and when you awake, they will speak with you.”