Why Memorize Scripture
The most important reason to memorize Scripture is simply this:
To know and love God better.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-6, Moses calls out to the people of Israel:
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 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."
Why does God command us to be continually preoccupied with His words right after calling for our whole-hearted love?
Have you ever noticed this sequence of instructions?
We were created to love God with all that we are. To focus on Him, to put feet on this "heart-soul-strength" thing, we start by absorbing all that He’s said. Our consciousness is to be saturated with the resonating words breathed out by God’s Spirit through inspired apostles and prophets.
We begin by planting those words in our own hearts. Only then do we impart them to our children. And from there we go on to engage our households in an unceasing, daily, hourly conversation about God’s words.
When it comes right down to it, we all know that to love someone is to pay attention—careful, “remembering” attention—to what he has said. When we love someone, we remember his words. As we remember and treasure God’s words, our hearts grow in love for Him.
Beyond that, here are just a few other reasons you should memorize Scripture:
- God tells us to.
- It heals and comforts us.
- It saturates our hearts with truth.
- It offers spiritual success.
- It equips us for spiritual warfare.
- It fuels our witness.
God tells us to.
“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.”
This is a direct command from God for His people. We are to treasure His Word in our hearts first, then carefully teach our children to do the same. Methods and memory books are optional, but the practice of memorizing Scripture is not. We need it, and our children do too!
It heals and comforts us.
"He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions."
Scripture has the power to heal broken lives, and memorizing Scripture gets it deeper into our hearts where it can do its healing work. Focusing on God’s promises also gives peace and stability even through the worst trials: “Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction”
It saturates our hearts with truth.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
Truth doesn’t come naturally to us as fallen human beings. Memorizing Scripture helps us guard against sin, including sins out of ignorance: "Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You"
When we are intimately familiar with what God says, we will be able to wisely interpret the situations around us and not be deceived: “Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.”
Memorizing Scripture also enriches our communion with the Lord and with other Christians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
It offers spiritual success.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
There aren’t many guarantees in life, but here is one: if you memorize Scripture, meditate on it, and act on it, you will have spiritual success!
The Word of God grows spiritual fruit: “... those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.”
It’s also vital to growing into spiritual maturity: "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby."
—1 Pet. 2:2
In addition to that, knowing the Word of God makes your prayer life more effective: "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you."
It equips us for spiritual warfare.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
The Word of God in your heart is equivalent to a sword in your hand. When you’re fighting against the spiritual “rulers of darkness of this age” (Ephesians 6:12), a tiny Swiss Army knife isn’t going to protect you as much as a full-sized sword. Arm yourself against the lies of the enemy with the powerful truth of God’s Word.
Jesus Himself, though perfect in His understanding of God’s ways, memorized Scripture and used it in His battle against the lies of Satan. When we memorize Scripture, we follow the example of Christ: 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.’”
It fuels our witness.
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
—1 Peter 3:15
Memorizing Scripture motivates spontaneous witnessing. The power of the Scriptures spills out, leading you to share Christ with those around you: "Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay"