If the spiritual disciplines were personal hygiene, then scripture memorization would be like flossing. We know we should do it, we know it’s good for us, but we still don’t do it. Why don’t we memorize scripture? Here’s my guess: because it’s work. It takes some serious effort to get those words off the index card and into our rather dense brains. So why should we even bother memorizing scripture? If it’s so much work, why make the effort. Here’s why:
1. For our holiness
Psalm 119:11 says, ” I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” The word of God is a sin-killing sword. The Holy Spirit uses scripture to help us put our sin to death and overcome temptation. However, it’s very rare that I have my Bible sitting next to me when temptation comes my way. And so I must memorize scripture for the purpose of holiness. I must fight the promises of sin with the superior promises of God – promises like Psalm 16:11, which says, “…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” The Holy Spirit uses scriptures we’ve hidden in our hearts to help us overcome sin.
2. For our happiness
Each day we will face some degree of trouble. Some days the troubles will be minor, like a flat tire, or a bad performance review at work, or an unexpected bill. Other days the trouble will be massive, like the death of a parent, or the discovery of cancer, or a major marital conflict. The word of God is what sustains us, and gives us joy and peace in the midst of trouble. If we want to honor God in our trials, we must memorize promises like Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” You will face troubles, I promise you that. Ready yourself for the storm by memorizing God’s word.
3. For our prayers
The promises of God are fuel for passionate prayers. When we pray we should in a sense argue with God, presenting to Him the promises He’s given as ground for our prayers. For example, when I pray for someone to be saved, I can plead 2 Peter 3:9, which says that God is patient, “…not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” God Himself has told me that He does not wish that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. I can plead this verse to God, presenting it to Him as a reason for saving an unbeliever. No one I know models this better than my dad. His prayers are laced with the faith-building promises of God. Why? Because he’s hidden the word of God in his heart.
So now we get to the tough part. How do we memorize scripture? I’ve tried a number of different methods in the past and one has worked far better then all the rest: mixing scripture with music. Music empowers the memory. God has created music in such a way that it gets stuck in our head. We hear a burger jingle and walk around humming it for the rest of the day. Music sticks.
Over the years my dad has taken hundreds of scriptures and put them to music, for the purpose of helping people memorize scripture. We want you to memorize scripture so much that we’re going to be giving away some of these for free. To get today’s free scripture (1 Thess. 5:9-10 ESV) song, simply click here.
I would suggest that you do two things. First, burn this song to a CD and put it in your car. Listen to it as you’re driving around. Second, write the scripture out on an index card and spend 5 minutes every day memorizing it during your devotional time. If you’re like me, you’ll find that the combo of music and the index card makes memorizing scripture much easier.
Now it’s your turn. How do you memorize scripture? What has helped you hide God’s word in your heart?