Pastoral Exhortation

Why Memorize Scripture?

Written by Rev Dr Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 04 January 2009

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In this New Year, as a church, we want to embark on memorizing Scripture. Why should we go to the trouble of memorizing the Bible? Here are some reasons:

  1. God has commanded us to memorize His Word – “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6). Likewise, God says in Deuteronomy 11:18: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul . . .” Memorizing God’s Word is our God-given duty. Therefore, every obedient child of God should engage in learning and remembering God’s Word.
  2. The habit of remembering and meditating on the Word of God in our minds helps us to obey it. Deuteronomy 30:14 says: “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”
  3. The memorization of God’s Word would prevent us from sinning against God. Psalm 119:11 declares: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Likewise, Psalm 37:31 promises that the keeping of God’s Word in our hearts will prevent us from backsliding from God – “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.”
  4. Learning God’s Word by heart has the promise of great blessings, even spiritual and physical prosperity. Joshua wrote: “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
  5. It prevents our mind from vain and sinful thoughts by filling it with the truth of His Word. Since memorizing and recollecting the Scripture would require much exercising of the mind on the Word of God, it will crowd out less edifying thoughts. Through Scripture memorization, one can easily obey Paul’s exhortation: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
  6. It equips us to fight off the temptations that the devil would bring to us. Christ is our example on this point. In Matthew 4 and Luke 4, He resisted Satan’s temptations each time by citing Scripture. Paul states that the Word of God is a weapon in spiritual warfare: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
  7. It increases our understanding of the verses that are memorized. To memorize, one must know every single word and dwell on every single word. While doing this, one naturally asks oneself, “Why this word?” Meditation on each word will, through the Spirit, give one a deep understanding of the verse and reveal meanings that are hidden in a cursory reading. Psalm 119:99 affirms this spiritual benefit, when it says: “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.”
  8. It aids believers in witnessing, admonishing, teaching. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. At certain times when people need you to give them comfort and counsel, you may not have your Bible handy. Not only that, the very word of God spoken spontaneously from your heart has unusual power. Proverbs 25:11 says: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” A heart full of God’s Word can draw timely counsels and minister great blessings.
  9. Committing the Word of God to memory can also aid us in our struggles and despair. Our attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Our confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Our faith will be solidified. Even at night when our problems disturb our minds, we can dwell on the Word of God that is in our memory and derive our comfort and peace from it. Such a testimony is found in Psalm 16:7 – “I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.”
  10. It aids us in our prayers. Scripture portions in our mind will strengthen our ability to pray. In order to pray according to God’s will, we need to remember His revealed will, which is the Word of God. So when we pray, using the Word of God, we know that we are praying in accordance to His Word. What better way to talk to God than in the very words that God Himself has uttered in His Word. The Word of God is inspired by His Spirit, and since we are commanded to pray in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17-18), when we pray using His Word correctly, we can be assured that we are praying in the Spirit.
  11. It improves our everyday conversation. What we say reflects what we meditate on and store in our hearts. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34b).
  12. From all the above Biblical reasons for memorizing God’s Word, you can see that Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to our spiritual progress and well-being. It is an all-important discipline of our spiritual life. It is a sure way of filling our minds with what we need the most The truth of the Bible is not to be left in the pages of our Bibles. Many people store the Bible on the shelf instead of in their heart. Its proper place is in our minds and mouth. That’s where we need to place the Bible. So let us take the memorization of the Bible seriously. Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine, And jewels rich and rare Are hidden in its mighty depths For every searcher there.

Dear brethren, pray as we embark on this Scripture memorization programme soon. You may pray as follows – “Now, Heavenly Father, give us the desire and the means to store Thy perfect Word in our hearts. Grant me the discipline in my circumstances to accomplish this spiritual goal I have for this year. Give me diligence to be faithful in this. Help me, Lord, that I may make fruitful use of the Word that I try to store in my heart. I pray this for the glory of Jesus Christ, and in His name. Amen.”