Memorizing Scripture (Part 1)

I memorized scripture regularly during my teen years and as an undergraduate student. Over the last several years, my memorization has become sporadic. Thanks to some introspection and goal planning, this is about to change! I’ve set for myself the goal of memorizing at least one Bible verse or passage each month during 2013. Today, I’ll describe some reasons why scripture memorization is beneficial. I’ll follow up next week with some tips on successful scripture memorization.

Psalm 119:11

Being able to avoid sin is one benefit of scripture memorization.

I’m pretty sure my earliest motivations for memorizing Bible verses were extrinsic. Specifically, I remember times when I could get a trinket or reward of some sort in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School if I memorized a specified verse. Today, my motivations are intrinsic in nature.

I often choose to memorize verses that address topics that are highly relevant to what I’m currently facing. In doing so, I find comfort and am reminded of my identity in Christ. For example, when I was struggling with fear after being in two car accidents last year, I memorized Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Similarly, when I was experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety while in grad school, I memorized Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

In addition to memorizing verses that address topics I’m currently facing, I’ll frequently memorize verses that describe the principles by which Christians ought to live. Armed with these verses, I’m often able to avoid sin and view current events with a Godly perspective. For example, I sometimes hold back a negative or harsh comment when I remember a verse like Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

While these are the benefits of scripture memorization that most stand out to me, there are many more.

  • Having God’s Word with you – You will have the words of scripture with you, even if you do not have a Bible handy.
  • Wise words and counsel – God’s promises and precepts will flow naturally from your mouth when you have them committed to memory.
  • Sharing the Gospel – You will be able to relay verses from the Bible (the words of which are powerful), when sharing the Gospel with others.
  • Discernment – With your mind guarded by scripture you are better able to discern error.
  • Fellowship with God – Because God speaks to us through His Word, memorizing scripture is an avenue for communing with Him.

In what ways have you found scripture memorization to be beneficial?

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