By Summer Stevens
I still remember memorizing Awana verses in the King James Version when I was in third grade. “Verily, verily, I say unto you…” with a little box next to the verse that defined “verily.” Awana has a great statistic that says that 96% of people who participated in the club for six years still attend church weekly as adults. It’s a great testament for the program, but I think the truth is, when you absorb so much of God’s Word into your soul, it changes you.
Here are my Top 5 reasons for memorizing Scripture.
1. There When You Need It
The Holy Spirit can bring it to mind when we need it. You may have read the Bible cover to cover, perhaps many times. But how many verses do you know by heart just because you’ve read them several times? Maybe a few. The vast majority of the verses in our arsenal are there because we’ve made a focused effort to commit them to memory. Here are times when recalling God’s Word can help us in the moment:
• When facing sin and temptation (1 Cor 10:13)
• When sharing the Gospel (John 3:16, Acts 16:31)
• When feelings of impatience and bitterness creep in (2 Cor 12:9)
• When we doubt our identity in Christ (1 John 3:1)
• When we are struggling to love well (1 Cor 13)
• When we are tempted to judge or criticize others (Matt 7:1-2)
• When we are fearful (2 Tim 1:7)
2. Knowing God Better
The process of memorizing Scripture causes us to consider each word. We end up knowing God better and understanding key Scriptures more thoroughly. Seldom do most Christians take one verse and meditate on it. When we are attempting to commit a passage to memory, we take time to learn every word. Deeper spiritual truths are revealed when we savor and consider His words to us carefully.
When I think about the character of God I am reminded first of passages I know by heart—the tender leading of a Shepherd (Psalm 23); the eternality of my Creator, who does not grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28); and the sacrificial love of a Father (John 3:16).
3. Easy Access
We never know when we might not have access to a Bible. The world is becoming increasingly hostile to Christianity. In parts of the world, Christians are imprisoned for their faith and locked in a cell without their most precious possession. Their only access to God’s Word lies in the portions of Scripture they can recall in their minds. If your Bible was taken from you and you only had the verses you’ve memorized, would that be enough for you?
4. Be Strengthened
God’s Word brings strength. “My soul melts from heaviness, strengthen me according to Your Word” (Ps 119:28). Memorization takes time. It takes brain power. There is much competition for our thoughts. When I am working on a new verse, it fills my mind. At the end of the day when I might be tempted to replay conversations or worry about the day to come, my verse comes to mind and I try to recall it. I consider its truth, its power, and it strengthens my mind and brings me peace. What a wonderful way to end the day!
5. A Lifeline
Scripture is our lifeline. Just like in the famous game show where contestants reach out to a “lifeline” to achieve victory, memorizing Scripture is like having a lifeline available for every question. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 commands families to saturate their daily lives in God’s Word—to write it, read it, display it, wear it. God’s Word is to be everywhere. Jesus is our ultimate example. When He faced temptation in the wilderness, He responded with, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). We are to live on God’s very words. They bring us spiritual vibrancy and refreshment, and they nourish our souls just as food nourishes our physical bodies.
Reading the Bible is necessary, certainly. But there is a transformation of our lives that occurs when we have access to God’s Word, through our memory and by the help of the Holy Spirit, at every point throughout our day.
Summer lives outside of Pittsburgh with her husband Nathanael and their five children. She has a Masters in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and enjoys running (but mostly talking) with friends and reading good books to her kids.