3 Reasons To Memorize Scripture

12/18/2007

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?

Posted by Stephen Altrogge at 8:00 AM  

11 comments:

You guys have helped our family memorize scripture. We have many of your scripture memory CD's and love them especially for our kids to be growing up with them. I also keep key scriptures on a ring that I pull out from time to time and just read over and over...Repetition in reading, saying aloud, sharing with others is bound to make it stick to even the worst of memorizers. One last thing that I like to do is to keep my Bible with me during worship or a bible study or times of fellowship so that when a passage or phrase comes to mind or someone else mentions it, I can look it up in my bible to see it infront of me..see the reference and the entire verse if only a portion was used...this is good for the visual learners like me. When I see it, I am more likely to remember it.

Briana Almengor said...
December 18, 2007 at 11:35 AM  

Briana,

Good suggestions. I agree repetition seems to be key. For me the combo of repetition and music has some sort of mystical power in my brain. As I'm seeing the scripture on the index card in front of me, I can hear the song playing. Works like a charm.

December 18, 2007 at 11:49 AM  

My wife and I have memorized several books of Scripture together. I would urge young couples (as we are) to memorize Scripture together, as we have grown closer in doing so. I personally cannot think of a discipline that touches the other spiritual disciplines in such a foundational way. I just finished writing a book about it!

Christopher said...
December 18, 2007 at 9:18 PM  

Another way that can be helpful is to write the verse or verses over and over; this is how I use to learn multiplication tables and now I use it sometimes for memorizing Bible verses. I hope this is beneficial.
Also I heard a sermon by Dawson Trotman on memorizing Scripture, one thing he said was to say the location of the verse before and after the verse.

Anonymous said...
December 18, 2007 at 11:08 PM  

Where can I find these Scripture memory CD's? That would be such a huge help in memorizing!

Lisa in NC

Anonymous said...
December 19, 2007 at 7:42 AM  

Never mind. Maybe I should be more disciplined to read a WHOLE blog post before I comment. Sorry about that. But I would love to learn how to get more... Lisa

Anonymous said...
December 19, 2007 at 7:44 AM  

Christopher,

Wow, you and your wife have memorized WHOLE BOOKS! That's amazing. Maybe someday by God's grace I'll get to that point. That sounds like it will be a good book...

December 19, 2007 at 8:09 AM  

Lisa,

You can get all the CD's at ForeverGratefulMusic.com

That's my dad's site and it has all 7 of the Scripture Memory CD's.

December 19, 2007 at 8:10 AM  

I'm a big fan of Andy Davis' "An Approach to the Extended Memorization of Scripture". Google that phrase and you'll see what it's all about.

I have done James, Philippians, Ephesians, and both Peters. I find it to be a tremendous blessing.

Jason said...
December 19, 2007 at 11:11 AM  

Jason,

Andy Davis is the guy who encourages memorizing entire books of the Bible right?

December 19, 2007 at 11:52 AM  

Yes, that's Andy Davis. Here's a link to a helpful resource he produced: Andy Davis on Memorizing Extended Portions of Scripture

Glorygazer said...
December 20, 2007 at 11:56 AM  

Post a Comment