Summary: This message deals with the goal of Bible memorization, the results, the excuses, and a few steps to begin pursuing it.
- There are times in our daily lives where we wonder about the right way to respond to situations, problems, temptations. We wonder about the right words to say. Whether it’s a temptation or an opportunity, we wonder about how to deal with it.
- What if there was a way to get God’s Word deeper into my heart so that the likelihood of knowing the right thing to do at the right moment was increased?
- Go to text: Psalm 119:10-11.
WHAT’S THE GOAL? “Bible memorization is not about ‘how many,’ but about ‘how close’.”
- That is: “The goal is not how many verses you memorize, but how much closer you get to God.”
- Every verse that we memorize gives God a better chance of speaking clearly to us. Imagine being in a foreign country and only knowing 50 words of the language. You can understand some of what’s being said, but you might miss out on something important. Every “word” that you learn is one that increases your opportunity of hearing clearly.
- That is obviously an imperfect analogy, but it is difficult at times to hear God speaking to us. Every way in which we can increase the likelihood of hearing what He’s saying is an asset.
- Meditation is focused thinking - a positive version of what our minds do when we worry.
WHAT GOOD DOES IT DO?
1. It prepares us for productivity.
- Psalm 1:1-3; John 15:7 (His words abiding in us bring answered prayer); Colossians 3:16 (let the word of Christ dwell in you richly); Hebrews 5:13-14 (discerning right from wrong); 1 Peter 3:15 (sharing witness); Joshua 1:8 (book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but meditate on it day and night).
2. It keeps us from sin.
- Every verse that we’ve memorized is another bullet in our spiritual arsenal.
- I want to make it clear: this is not a law, but a tool. There is not a verse that says, “Thou shalt memorize three verses of Scripture a week.” This is merely a tool for drawing closer to God.
REASONS WHY WE DON’T DO IT:
1. It’s too hard.
2. I have a poor memory.
- It is true that we are unpracticed because we don’t live in an oral culture, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t.
- In ancient times, it was not unusual for disciples of certain teachers to memorize huge chunks of the OT.
3. I don’t have time.
- This is not a time-intensive discipline. It does require, though, you to be consistent in spending a little time each day.
4. I’m too old.
- If you’re breathing, God isn’t done with you yet. Further, you have the benefit of hopefully having a lot of “half-verses” floating around in your head (verses you’ve “kind of” known for a long time).
5. I can just look it up.
- A verse in our hearts is worth more than a verse in our hands (i.e. in the Bible that we’re carrying).
- The truth about our excuses is: “It’s not an issue of ‘I cannot,’ but ‘I will not.’”
HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN:
1. When possible, choose verses that are meaningful to your life right now.
- The goal is not knowing a lot of verses just for the sake of knowing a lot of verses - Pharisaical bragging rights and all that. The goal is to know God.
- As trials and challenges come your way, find Scriptures that apply to that situation and memorize those. That invests you more in the process because you’re seeing an immediate outcome.
- This is not to say that there may not be times when you should choose useful verses to apply even though they don’t apply right now. You may go through a quiet time in your spiritual walk or may want to memorize some key theological truths. (Along those lines, I should note that it is possible to memorize huge sections of the Bible or even whole books of the Bible.) (If you want, songs are available for many verses.)
- As an added bonus, when a Scripture is chosen because it ties into a particular situation, after that situation is resolved through God’s assistance, that verse becomes a reminder to you of answered prayer.
2. Write them on index cards.
- Scripture reference on one side; the verse on the other.
3. Review some of them daily.