Memorizing Verses - Novelty or Necessity?
When was the last time you tried to memorize a portion of Scripture, or tried to memorize something Biblically related? Well, if you were in the nursery class, you would likely have learned to sing the books of the Bible by rote. If you were in the lower or upper primary classes, you would have been prompted to memorize simple short verses, and by the time you moved on to the teenagers, foundation, and young adults’ classes, you would (hopefully) have become well-versed in quoting chunks of Scripture from memory, from all the practice you were getting week after week.
But when we move on to the adults’ class… someday, somehow, we just decided that memorizing Scripture just isn’t important anymore. We feel that it’s merely a novelty that we encourage our young ones to try out, but not necessary for the “older ones” to do. Or we might claim that it’s too difficult to memorize passages of Scripture, and that it’s something best left to the “young folks”.
Today, I’ll like to discuss three reasons why we ought to commit Scripture to memory – Counsel, Conviction, and Continuance.
REASON #1 – COUNSEL
The word of God contains “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). It is a “lamp that guides our feet, and a light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105). It gives us counsel and advice on matters as varied as how to be saved, to interpersonal relationships, and everything in between. Indeed, the apostle Paul said that “all Scripture is inspired of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof (evidence), for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
Memorizing Scripture helps us to know the whole counsel of God. The process of memorization involves perusing the passage, and repeatedly reciting it, which will inevitably meld the message into our minds. By memorizing these Scriptures, we are building up a veritable treasure house of Bible knowledge that we can draw from at any time when dealing with life’s challenges and issues. By memorizing Scripture, we will become more aware, and become better able to remember the counsel of God.
REASON #2 – CONVICTION
Memorizing Scripture not only helps to make us aware of the counsel of God, but it helps to increase our conviction and determination to keep God’s word. The Psalmist said in Psalm 119: “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). David declared that “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
I suggest to you that an essential way of storing God’s word in our hearts is by committing it to memory. Only by committing God’s word to memory will we be able to remember the appropriate actions in any given situation, the consequences of compliance / non-compliance with God’s word, and thus have the conviction to do what is pleasing to God. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2).
REASON #3 – CONTINUANCE
A third reason for memorizing Scripture is so that future generations can imitate our good example and continue in this path. In the “Shema Israel” (“Hear, O Israel), God used Moses to remind the people to remember that He is the one and only God, to remember to keep His words in their hearts, but also to ensure that their children are taught diligently and frequently about Him. “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).
Brethren, we want our children to grow up to be God-fearing, Bible-believing individuals. One of the best ways to do so is to show them that their own parents are God-fearing, Bible-believing individuals. Can we truly say that we know God and His word if we are not conversant with the Bible? Taking the time to memorize Scripture helps us and our children to be better acquainted with God’s word, and helps our future generations to continue in the path of doing what is right.
Brethren, I suggest to you that memorizing Scripture is not a novelty, but a necessity. It helps us to remember the Counsel of God, helps us to have the Conviction to keep it, and it serves as a means of Continuance for our future generations to learn about God and love Him. May we all seek to know God and His will more and more each day.