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.


  1. A great verse memorization resource I use is! It's awesome and it makes verses easier to memorize!

  2. This is a great post. Exactly what I have been dealing with in my own life. I find myself in the not knowing where to begin stage. I am really looking forward to the follow up post.

  3. Powerful thoughts because God's Word is our power so when we neglect to study it & absorb it like a sponge soaking up water, we are as ineffective as a car running on fumes! I want to grow as a disciple of Christ and hiding God's Truth in my heart will transform my rough edges! A good book that explains this I highly recommend is by Dr. Gary Smalley: CHANGE YOUR HEART, CHANGE your LIFE!!

  4. To Mr. Anonymous who doesn't know quite where to are a few pointers: 1.begin by looking up verses that deal with some of your particular struggles...for example, if you are prone to worry, then choose 1Peter 5:7! I memorized this over 20 years ago because of my need to let go of the cares of this world & learn to F.R.O.G.--FULLY RELY ON GOD! 2. Write the verse out on a 3x5 index card so you can carry it in your pocket to look at several times throughout the day as you read it OUT LOUD OVER & OVER....REPETITION IS the KEY 3. Find a same sex accountability partner who is as hungry for God's Word as you are so y'all can "coach" each other/encourage each other! Remember, IRON SHARPENS IRON! There are no LONE RANGER CHRISTIANS! Don't go it alone, humble yourself & be willing to take off the masks you've been too quick to hide behind all these years! YOU ARE ONLY AS SICK AS YOUR SECRETS! If you are not willing to be VULNERABLE by admitting your various areas of weakness, then you are only hindering your growth & effectiveness in God's Kingdom! Be a KINGDOM MAN & BE WILLING TO STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE! 3. The more sences you use, the easier the memorization will be...what this means is your 3rd grade teacher knew what she was doing when she gave you homework assignments to write your spelling word out 25 or 50 times! You DISCIPLINE yourself & write out the verse 25 or more times...then you verbally speak the verse OUT LOAD, phrase by phrase! 4.The precious time it takes to hide God's Word in your heart is time WELL SPENT! Nike is known to say as a means motivate athletes, I leave you with the same charge: JUST DO IT!! STOP MAKING EXCUSES! I suggest you first memorize Proverbs 13:3 since laziness is probably one of your struggles...(like many of us) "The sluggard cravesand gets nothing, but the desires of the DILIGENT are fully satisfied"... YOU CAN DO IT! GO WITH GOD FOR HE GOES WITH YOU!