About forty years ago, an older pastor encouraged me saying, “Memorize scriptures while you’re young and you’ll have them for the rest of your life.” Now, at 67, it’s my turn to pass on that wonderful wisdom to you. I did take his advice, memorized certain chapters, many verses, and a good number of my favorite Psalms. My only regret is that I wish I had memorized more. As I get older committing things to memory is an almost impossible challenge. But I am grateful for the blessing of having God’s Word in my heart.
Here’s why every Christian, especially you younger believers, should memorize the Bible. Of course, I don’t mean the entire Bible, though that would be absolutely amazing, but rather select verses and passages that minister to your own heart.
1. It’s God’s Word.
Don’t merely gloss over this incredible truth. You have a book from God, and he has granted you the ability to read and understand it. Here in the West, we have abundant access to the Bible and for that reason we often take it for granted. I encourage you to purposely treat your Bible for what it is: the very Word of God!
2. It’s what Jesus did.
As a Jewish boy, our Lord was brought up learning the Torah and later used it in resisting Satan’s temptations. As a man, he set the perfect example for us: He often quoted from the Old Testament when challenged by opponents and used memorized Scriptures to convince people of the truth.
3. It protects your heart.
On this point I simply point you to Psalm 119:9-11. This passage has often come to mind when facing temptation.
4. It renews your mind.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus, declared that God’s Word has a cleansing effect in our lives (see Eph 5:23-26). A.W. Tozer once said, “To be right we must think right.” Right thinking is biblical thinking, and the more your mind is saturated by God’s truth the more it will shape your behavior. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2).
In the Old Testament, we are often given instructions to ponder the holy as preparation for living in this world. The Psalmist confessed, “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies” (Ps 119:59). Jesus prayed for us saying, “Father, sanctify them by your truth, your word is truth” (John 17:17).
5. It equips you for ministry and missions.
Having God’s Word in your heart enhances your ability to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ. Solomon wrote, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Prov 25:11). This means speaking the right words at the right time is not only beautiful but valuable as well. Sharing God’s Word from your heart has the power to encourage, admonish, comfort, and instruct. It also enhances your witness by equipping you to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet 3:15).
6. It can’t be confiscated.
For some Christians around the world, Bibles are confiscated and owning them is illegal. Even now, there are places where many believers have no Bible of their own. Underground churches in China operate with only portions of the Scriptures. If the Bible was suddenly ripped away from you, how much of it could you recover from memory? How much would you retain?
7. It deepens your communion with Christ.
A great way to develop your prayer life is learning to pray the scriptures. If you’ve never done this, try praying the 23rd Psalm. Verse 1 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” You might pray, “Heavenly Father, I am so grateful that you are my Shepherd. You care about me as a Shepherd cares about his sheep. You faithfully provide for me, protect me, and guide me when I feel lost.” As God’s truth grows in your heart, you’ll discover that your faith is growing.
So, how do you regard your Bible? Because how you treat Jesus is reflected by how you handle his Word. What value do you attach to it? The suffering Job prayed, “I have esteemed the words of your mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12) Such an assessment was born out of much suffering. Hopefully, it won’t take that to get you into the Word.