Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Memorizing Scripture (Part I)
"I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might no sin against you." (Psalm 119:11)
I recently spoke at a men's event on the pursuit of holiness. One of the practical applications I made to the men was to memorize Scripture. I then took an impromptu survey by a raise of hands of how many of these men were currently engaged in the discipline of Scripture memorization. Not one person raised their hand.
The psalmist in Psalm 119 is writing about his love, the worth, and the truth of the Word of God. The entire psalm, the longest of all the psalms, and the longest chapter in the Bible, is all about the Scriptures. They are called different things: testimonies, the law, word, commandments, counsel, righteous rules, promises, and precepts. Regardless of what name he gives them, the subject is the same, Holy Scripture.
In Psalm 119:11 the psalmist says that he stores up God's word in his heart. The idea here is memorization. To store is to stock or reserve something so it is available for use. The psalmist says he stores God's word. He stocks it in his heart so that it is available for use. And the context of the entire psalm makes clear that this was not done begrudgingly; he loved and treasured the Scriptures.
Why do we not take time to memorize Scripture? I believe there are many reasons, here are some:
1. We are lazy with our minds. We get bored and distracted very easily. If we have to exercise our mental faculties, many give up and quit fairly quickly.
2. We are too busy. We have too much going on to set time aside to memorize God's Word. The irony is, we fill our days and lives with things less important than feeding on God's Word, and neglect things that will put the rest of our lives in perspective.
3. We are not lovers of the Bible. Not everyone loves the Word. Not everyone is captivated by God's law. Not everyone treasures the Bible. If we do not esteem the worth of the Scriptures, we will never want to devote ourselves to learning, understanding, and memorizing them.
4. We are blind to the benefit. If you don't believe something will benefit you, you will rarely pursue it. You go to work, not because you love it, but because you know it benefits you. You diet, not because you love it, but because it benefits you. You fail to memorize Scripture because you fail to see the benefits.
5. We are uncertain where to begin. Many people get paralyzed by not knowing where to start. The Bible is a big book. What should I memorize? How do I choose verses? These questions can hinder you from ever beginning.
Reflect on your own commitment to memorizing God's Word. Are you actively in the discipline of memorizing Scripture? Which of the reasons mentioned above deter you from it?
Weigh in your thoughts about this post in the comments section. Tomorrow I will post Part II on this topic and outline "why" (the benefits) we should memorize Scripture and "how" (the method) to do it.