As unbelievable as it sounds, ultra-Orthodox Jews committed the entire Babylonian Talmud—all 5,422 pages of it—to memory. You read that right. A pin could be stuck into any of the sixty-three sections, and they could recite every word on every page.
If you give your life to memorizing Scripture, you could do it too.
How much time do you devote to Scripture memory?
Sadly, in most churches, memorizing verses of the Bible is a task reserved for the children. Once a child moves into “big church,” the discipline of Scripture memorization is usually abandoned. It is difficult to persuade most church members to read the Bible on a daily basis, much less memorize portions of it.
But for the believer who truly desires to be a full-fledged follower of Christ, simply reading the Bible daily will not be enough. As a disciple, your goal is not merely to get into the Word, but to get the Word into you. Earnest disciples take seriously Paul’s exhortation to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16).
Memorization leads to Meditation.
When I was a new believer, just a few months old in the faith, I was invited to attend a spiritual, New Age retreat. Although my Bible knowledge was limited, spiritual was a word I was familiar with, so I accepted the invitation.
When I arrived, an odd assortment of New Age practitioners introduced themselves to me. Included in these “experts” were Reiki masters, Gregorian chanters, breath work instructors, teachers of transcendental meditation, clairvoyant readers, astrologists, and others offering instruction on how to free the spiritual person from the physical body.
As an unlearned, immature believer, I practiced the techniques that I was taught at the retreat for the next three months. Every night, I sat in total silence in my bedroom, eyes shut, legs folded, arms extended with forefinger and thumb touching.
The goal of this exercise was finding the solutions to all of my problems and the answers to all of my questions within my soul, through meditation and silence. I could accomplish this, according to the retreat teachers, through relaxing—quieting the ripples of my soul in order that knowledge, happiness, and peace could emerge.
For me, however, this was unproductive. Every session yielded the same result. I would wake up a few hours later after having fallen asleep on the floor. Apparently, I relaxed a little too much.
When I started reading the Bible, I quickly realized that this type of meditation was unbiblical. Romans 7:18 supports this: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” I learned that if I tried, in and of myself, to find answers, I would always find the wrong answers. In order to find truth, we must look outside of ourselves—to Christ (John 14:6). Looking within ourselves is not biblical meditation.