How Can Scripture Memory Encourage us Toward Faithfulness?
Are you a champion at memorizing scripture? This is a tough thing to master, even for the most devoted Christ followers. Judah gives us practical ways we can get take a step at a time and grow in faithfulness by knowing God’s Word better.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
Did you know the Fired Up theme song from summer 2019 consists of 320 words from start to finish? That’s more than the first 18 verses of John 1. Which of those are you (or at least your kids) more familiar with? I will admit, I have memorized way more songs than Bible verses, which is exactly why this topic is so convicting.
2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us scripture is “God-breathed” and profitable for a variety of spiritual uses. We see an example of this in Matthew 4:1-11 when Jesus overcomes temptation in the desert by reciting truth from the old testament. These are a few of the biblically documented reasons supporting the need for believers in Christ to commit His word to memory.
I am no memory wizard, but I have learned a few things from the many battles I’ve undertaken with scripture memory. Hopefully they will encourage you towards faithfulness in this area.
- Commit you mind to the context before the individual words (or phrases). Memorizing things can be monotonous (did I just say that out loud?). One of the challenges I have faced in memorization stems from being more concerned with reporting the data rather than understanding it. The psalmist says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you”. This doesn’t sound like someone who is committing God’s word to memory just so he can pass a pop quiz. I am confident scripture is far more helpful when we know it so we can believe it. Before we jump feet first into a memory verse, pause and reconsider a headfirst dive into the truth the Lord desires us to know within that section of text.
- Put our phone down. Some studies say the average American spends over three hours per day on their phone. While a portion of that may be out of necessity, I know much of my phone habits are purely to pass the time during a boring waiting period. If you’re like me, you often fail at scripture memory due to a lack in time commitment. What if the next time you or I were waiting in line at the store we practiced reciting our verse instead of randomly scrolling through our phone?
- Write and Recite. This purely comes from personal experience. One of the most effective tools I have used in scripture memory is handwriting. Memorization often stays within the mind, but handwriting memory verses helps bring them to reality. When I begin a new memory verse, I will first copy it down directly from the Bible. Then I will copy it down a few more times. As the words begin to take shape (metaphorically and literally) they become more and more familiar. Eventually I will work on writing out the verse from memory. After I fill a page, or more, full of ink I will shift to reciting the words. Just to clarify, I mean out loud. After all, if we’re hiding it in our heart it’s eventually going to flow out of our mouths (see Luke 6:45). The goal isn’t just to know it, but to share it.
If you were expecting a new cutting-edge technique for memorization, then I apologize for disappointing. Though your mind may not be blown, I do pray the Lord uses this to remind and encourage you to take practical steps towards storing His word in your heart so that you may be more faithful in pursuit of Him.
Fighter Verses – it’s a great app for your phone that provides useful quizzes for memorization.
Repeat a chorus or verse from a song you know (maybe Fired Up or Bonafide). Use the length of those lyrics to see how capable you are of memorizing scripture. Then practice memorizing Psalm 119:11. (p.s. it’s only 16 words.)