Over the years, I have heard many people give reasons (excuses) for not memorizing scripture. People of every age tell me they cannot memorize. Others simply say it is hard. Some say they don’t have time. Some have no understanding of the benefits.
If I had to boil down the underlying reasons for not memorizing scripture, I would give two: laziness and lack of understanding of what the Bible says about memorizing. Allow me to share some verses that lay out the importance of memorization:
Passages about Memorizing Scripture
- “Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads” (Deuteronomy 11:18, CSB).
- “I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11, CSB).
- “The instruction of his God is in his heart; his steps do not falter” (Psalm 37:31, CSB).
- “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do” (Joshua 1:8, CSB).
- “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you” (John 15:7, 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).
Jesus Memorized Scripture
When you examine the life of Jesus, it is easy to see that He had memorized much Old Testament scripture. You can see this is in His responses to Satan when tested after 40 days in the desert before starting His ministry. You can see this in response to the teachers of the Law and in His teaching of the disciples. His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well showed his understanding and memorization of scripture.
When we ask Him to forgive our sins and be our Lord, we seek to follow His life and teachings. He memorized and so should we. He lived out His understanding of God’s Word and so should we.
When we fail to memorize, we put our discipleship to daily tests where we are more likely to fail. Yes, memorizing is hard work. It takes time. But the fruit of that hard work is a deeper understanding of God, His ways, and His will. We will be more likely to walk in the ways of Jesus when we know Him, his life, and his teachings.
Start with one verse. Don’t rush. Repeat it. Work to understand it in context. Say it aloud. Check that you are saying it correctly. Then go on to a second verse. Repeat the first one (so you don’t forget it) every time you work on the second one. Then do the same for the third, fourth, etc.
Use the verses as God gives you opportunity–not to point out what you did but to point out what God’s Word says. When you begin to use what you have memorized in daily interactions and scripture conversations, this will encourage you to memorize even more verses and passages.
Start small. Do it right. And watch what God does in your life and the lives of others as you share the fruit of memorizing. Grow as a disciple. Make disciples!