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Why Memorize Scripture

Scripture memory is one of those things that is good for children, right? Each Wednesday, my sons find their AWANA books and start frantically committing verses to their short term memory in order to get AWANA bucks. I’m not blaming the program or my sons, but it seems that every week goes by quickly, and suddenly it is Wednesday again and time to learn verses. When I was growing up, I attended a Christian school. Scripture memory quizzes were a regular part of my Bible classes.

But I think there is a temptation for teens and adults to think that memorizing God’s Word is just something for children. If you were to ask me what method of Bible study has been the most beneficial for my devotional life, Scripture memory would easily be my first answer. But that doesn’t mean that I always do it. It takes discipline and hard work, and it is very easy to drift away from it. The past couple years, I have memorized very little of God’s Word. So I decided to be ambitious and I’m working on memorizing the book of Hebrews.

I was helped very much by a couple articles that Andy Naselli wrote about memorizing entire books of the Bible. The first one gives “14 Reasons to Memorize an Entire Book of the Bible.” I think this would be helpful for you to read. Psalm 119:11 says “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” You can’t read Psalm 119 without being gripped with the importance of memorizing and meditating on God’s Word. When you commit God’s words to memory, you are able to take them with you and meditate on them day and night.

A few people have asked me what methods I am using to memorize. Some of what Andy says here, I have done. But I think the most helpful things for me are to 1) to internalize what I read and 2) to read it out loud. I’m not focused on simply trying to recite words. I try to understand what I’m reading and ask God to help me to rightly internalize and “feel” the passage. Then I try to read it out loud with emotion as if I were “preaching the passage” to myself or to others or praying it to God, etc. I usually read through a whole paragraph or even a couple paragraphs in this way a few times. Then I might focus on a sentence or two at a time before going back and reading through all of it again. I think you would be surprised how much of a paragraph you could memorize if you took 30 minutes to read it out loud with emotion over and over and...over. Another thing that has kept me motivated is accountability. It will help you if you find someone who will listen to you recite what you are memorizing. I told the youth group that my goal was to recite for them a chapter of Hebrews per week. And now, just like for my boys, Wednesday nights seem to come around very quickly.