Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Scripture Memorization - A Neglected Discipline - Part 1

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. - Joshua 1:7-8

I have often heard people say, "Oh, I can't memorize scripture. I can't remember things like I used to." Or, "I just don't have time to memorize." Or, "I don't need to memorize scripture. I have my Bible here with me." In our day and age, these may sound like valid excuses (we all can be busy living our lives), but they are only valid if the Bible carries no weight in our lives, and isn't the Word of the very God whom we serve.

Hebrews 1:1-2 speaks of two ways in which the words of the Bible are our guide. "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world..." The Word of God was spoken by the prophets, and the Word of God was spoken to us through Jesus Christ. How else do we know the words of God except through the scriptures he has given? How else do we know his truths except through his words contained within scripture? Shouldn't scripture then be the one thing that we, as his people, turn to constantly and consistently through every moment in our lives?

June and I have been memorizing Romans chapter 3 this year and we have almost completed the entire chapter (we are on verse 28 this week). It has been so rewarding to have the words of the Bible running through and camping in my mind every day, and then to be able to use that scripture in conversation and in my daily meditations has given me both encouragement and courage as I go about my daily life.

I would like to encourage everyone reading this post to take a good look at where you are with the Word of God. Do you desire his words more than riches; more than your evening television shows; more than food; more than life itself? I know, that sounds rather radical, but I challenge you to think of something more important than the words of the living God. How can you make the words of God more important in your life today?

Scripture memorization is one of the most neglected disciplines of the Christian faith. It is also one of the most rewarding. It involves more than selecting passages from the Bible and committing them to memory so that you can recite them word for word. The memorization of scripture is intimately tied into meditation on that same scripture. We memorize God's word so we can meditate on it as we go about our daily activities, having an attitude of submission to God, and thus be transformed in mind and spirit to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 12:2).

In my next post, I will go into reasons why (from scripture) we should be memorizing God's word. Hopefully, this will encourage you to turn again to hiding God's word into your heart.

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
Psalm 119:14-16

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