Making Time to Memorize Scripture

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)

Aside from the common tendency of people to underestimate their own ability to memorize, I think one of the primary reasons many people shy away from committing to systematic Scripture memorization is a general lack of free time in their already busy lives. Even in my own life, I can relate to the struggle of finding time to spend in silent prayer – let alone Scripture memorization – after a long day at the office has left me tired, with even more to accomplish once I get home.

But no matter how busy we all seem to stay, it’s been my observation that we always make time for what’s most important to us. And according to Jesus in Matthew 4:4, nothing should be of higher priority than the Word of God:

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
In other words, the Scriptures are absolutely essential to our spiritual survival. And just as it is necessary to not only taste, but actually consume physical food in order to sustain our natural bodies, it’s not enough to casually skim over a chapter from the Bible; we must take time to diligently consider its application to our lives and “digest” what God is saying to us. If we wouldn’t consider eliminating meals when things get busy, then we shouldn’t allow essential spiritual disciplines like Scripture memorization to be placed on the back burner when they suddenly seem inconvenient.

Of course I’m not necessarily suggesting that you delete your Facebook account and cancel family game night to work on memorizing the Sermon on the Mount. Although it may be necessary for some of us to weed out distractions from our daily routines, I think most of us would admit that finding 15-20 minutes per day to spend on memory work isn’t as hard as simply getting started.

If time constraints have discouraged you from memorizing in the past, consider setting your alarm 15 minutes early tomorrow morning to “redeem” those invaluable early morning moments through Bible study. Pick a verse from your daily reading to memorize, and follow David’s example of meditating on it throughout the rest of your day (Ps. 1:2). As has been said by Michael Altshuler, “Time flies. The good news is you're the pilot."


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