The discipline of scripture memory has become, without a doubt, the most significant of the disciplines in my life. God has used scripture memory to not only bring about change and transformation in my life, but has used it to challenge and encouraged other believers. As we consider this discipline I want to share my story and attempt to answer several commonly asked questions about the discipline. In the summer of 1972, I had an encounter with the Risen Christ that totally rocked my world and radically changed my life. I was delivered from the bondage of sin and given new life through the Gospel. One thing I remember vividly was that I had an insatiable desire for the word of God. I loved to hear it taught and preached and I read the scriptures every day, sometimes for hours. I was amazed and enlightened by the word of God. The Word became my spiritual food. After settling into a church, our Youth Pastor challenged me to “hide the word of God in my heart”. I accepted the challenge and began, as a new believer, to memorize scripture. That initiated a lifelong discipline that God has used profoundly in my life. When I got to LSU for college, I began to meet with some guys in the dorms to pray, study, and memorize scripture, to hold one another accountable and encourage one another. I have been meeting in D-groups ever since, disciplining, loving, challenging and encouraging others for Christ’s sake.
What Do We Mean by Scripture Memory?Scripture Memory has been classified by Donald Whitney as “a sub discipline” of Bible intake. Scripture Memory, according to Whitney is “storing the scripture in the mind.” It is committing God’s word to memory so that it can be recalled and put to use. You would search in vain to find a verse in the Bible that actually explicitly command one to memorize scripture, However, there are several texts that seem to imply the discipline. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. (Deuteronomy 6:6, CSB) Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16, CSB) I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11, CSB)
Why Should We Memorize Scripture?There are many reasons why you should memorize scripture. Here are just a few.
- To share a “word fitly spoken”
- To overcome temptation or discouragement
- To renew your mind