learned at a young age the value of writing things down. I wrote down my misspelled spelling words from my pretest ten times each. I quickly learned that when I did that, I would get a 100% on my test. I did the same thing with math facts, vocabulary words and definitions, and with paragraphs of the Preamble and The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. I'd like to thank my fifth grade teacher, Ms. King, for teaching me the usefulness of memorization.
I use those methods today for memorizing Scripture and it's proven to be valuable. These are not just idle words to me, they are my life. I still write everything down to this day. I love flipping through the paper thin pages of my Bible seeing Scriptures that have the date I memorized them next to it. It's encouragement to keep on dwelling on His truth and to let the message about Christ fill my life.
In 2011 I found out that Beth Moore does the coolest thing on her website. She organizes this online community of women called The Siesta Scripture Memory Team where we memorize 24 verses each year. We share our verses on her blog on the first and fifteenth of each month. It's awesome! I decorate lined notecards with the cutest washi tape and brightest Sharpies I own with my verse for those fifteen days. I laminate them and place them all over my house and on a key ring for when I'm not at home. I write my verse down in my Sugar Paper planner each day. If you are familiar with my Instagram account you will see that I record videos of myself reciting my memory work. I write my verse down ten times to really soak it in. I ponder it. I mull it over. I think about what I'm thinking about. It's deliberate. It's on purpose. It's life changing to think God's thoughts rather than to get all stressed out. That's when it's time to say, "Not today Satan! God's Word says..."
Last year I memorized Scriptures with the word 'heart
' in it. It was my one word for the year. Because "what the heart knows by heart is what the heart really knows,
" writes Ann Voskamp. The things I memorized last year have truly been such a support to me this year. Things like: I can trust Him with all my heart; that my mouth speaks what my heart is full of; that my words and what I think intensely about would be pleasing to Him; that His Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, discerning the thoughts and intentions of my heart; He wants my full devotion and for me to keep His commands; He wants my worship from my whole heart; He wants me to keep His Word in my heart and do what it says; He wants to give me life in Him rather than looking at worthless things; He wants me to have a heart to know Him as Lord; He wants me to understand He hears my words AND He responds to them; He wants my speech to be pure; He wants me to thank Him and recount all His wonderful deeds!
This year He wants me to know Him; to completely trust Him; to recall His Word in the unknowns of my life. It goes hand in hand with what I stored up last year.
I love what Don Whitney says, "One of the most underrated benefits of memorizing Scripture is that it provides fuel for meditation. When you have memorized a verse of Scripture, you can meditate on it anywhere at anytime during the day or night
Psalm 119:11 is a verse I love and like most of you, have memorized. It says, "I have hidden your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You
." The Scriptures are not something to hide so well that you can't find them when you need them. They are something to be recalled to mind in moments of need. How can we respond with 'the Scriptures say' when we don't know what the Scriptures say? (Matthew 4:4)
It's important to read the surrounding verses when reading a passage of Scripture and I did that with Psalm 119. I read the chapter several times and each time it become clear that the verses sounded like benefits of memorizing Scripture. I've selected just a few to highlight today.
The Benefits of Scripture Memorization according to Psalm 119:
When we know His Word, we will not be put to shame. We remember what He says about us.
When we know His Word, we delight in them because they are our counselors. We don't have to run to find out popular opinion. We trust that Father knows best.
When we know His Word, we are strengthened by it.
When we know His Word, we have an answer for when people hurt us.
When we know His Word, we have hope.
When we know His Word, we can walk in freedom.
When we know His Word, we can find comfort in our hard times.
When we know His Word, we remember who He is to us.
When we know His Word, we have direction for our lives.
When we know His Word, we have good judgment and knowledge.
When we know His Word, we can obey it!
When we know His Word, we have indescribable riches...better than gold and silver.
When we know His Word, we are filled with joy in our hearts.
When we know His Word, we have life!
When we know His Word, we have a constant guide for living.
When we know His Word, we have a heritage forever!
When we know His Word, we are given great peace even when everything seems out of control. We can rest in what God's Word says.
Matthew Henry says, "What we love, we love to think of.
" Do we love the Scriptures enough to commit them to memory? Someday I want it to be said of me that I loved the Lord and His Word and those two things consumed my thoughts, my mind, my life...and as a result of that I was a better wife, mother and friend.
"I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture
," writes Chuck Swindoll. "No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified."
Why should we memorize Scripture? We memorize what's important to us.
Jesus Did. "The Scriptures also say
..." Matthew 4:7
To combat the lies of the enemy.
To strengthen us in our desert places.
To use the Scriptures in prayer back to God.
To claim His promises for every situation and circumstance.
To transform the heart.
To remember the faithfulness of God.
To be a witness to those around us.
To have a word ready to tell of the hope we have in Him.
To resist temptation and make wise decisions.
In conclusion, I want to share something from Dallas Willard that I completely love: "Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That's where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization."
One last thing, I read somewhere online (so it must be true...insert smile/wink emoji here) that the average person checks their smartphones nine times an hour. Can you imagine the impact if we said our memory work each time we went to grab our phones?
I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You. Lord, help us.
By Melissa Emma
Originally published in Be Still Magazine, Issue 1.