Two brothers were walking on their father’s extensive, wooded acreage when they came upon a young tree heavy with fruit. Both enjoyed as much of the delicious fruit as they wanted. When they started back, one man gathered all the remaining fruit and took it home with him. His brother, however, took the tree itself and planted it on his own property. The tree flourished and regularly produced a bountiful crop so that the second brother often had fruit when the first had none.
The Bible is like the fruit-bearing tree in this story. Merely hearing the Word of God is to be like the first brother. You may gather much fruit from the encounter and even bring home enough to feed on for a few days, but in the long run it doesn’t compare with having your own tree. Through the disciplines of reading and studying, we make the tree our own and enjoy its fruit. Among the spiritual disciplines we also find the tools of memorization, meditation, and application, which bountifully increase our harvest of fruit from the tree.
Why don’t people who claim to follow Christ make Bible memorization a daily and vital part of their life? There isn’t enough time or paper to record all the excuses that are given. No matter the excuse. The issue boils down to one word, unwillingness. People are unwilling and here is the proof. How many verses could you memorize in a week if there was a one-thousand dollar reward for each verse you memorized? Reward determines our willingness or unwillingness to complete a task. So the question should be; what is the reward for memorizing scripture?
Bible memorization supplies the Christ follower with spiritual power. When scripture is stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to take and bring to your attention when you need it most. That’s why Psalm 119:11 tells us; “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” This isn’t just an Old Testament teaching but one lived out by our Savior in the New Testament. Matthew 4 shows us the power of the memorized Word in a person’s life. Jesus used the Word to defeat Satan. He used the verses that he had memorized from the book of Deuteronomy. Spiritual power comes from the memorizing the Word of God and spiritual weakness comes from not or the lack of memorizing the Word of God.
Bible memorization strengthens the Christ follower’s faith. Proverbs 22:17-19, says, “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you.” To “apply your mind” to the “words of the wise” spoken of here and to “keep them within you” certainly pertains to Scripture memory. Notice the reason given here for keeping the wise words of Scripture within you and “ready on your lips.” It’s “so that your trust may be in the Lord.” Memorizing scripture strengthens your faith because repeatedly reinforces the truth, often just when you need to hear it again. Scripture memory is like reinforcing steel to a sagging faith.
Bible memorization makes you ready to give sound counsel and be a prepared witness. Scripture teaches that we are to be ready at all times to give an account of the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). We can’t defend the faith or give counsel based on scripture if scripture isn’t with us. How many times have we found ourselves in conversations where we couldn’t speak clearly due to our lack of scripture knowledge? This is a most unfortunate confession but one that should prod us to a greater commitment.
Bible memorization gives the Christ follower guidance. Psalm 119 says, “That your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Scripture is the road map that we use to navigate our life. It’s our spiritual GPS.
Bible memorization stimulates meditation in the life of a Christ follower. Psalm 119:97 says, “Oh, how I love your law, I meditate on it all day long.” Scripture memorization gives you the opportunity to meditate on Scripture no matter where you are.
The rewards for Bible memorization are greater than any financial remuneration. This very truth should push us from our state of unwillingness. Ready? Set. Go! You can do it!