Not too long ago I watched this sermon by John Piper on Scripture memorization. After a stunning 15 minutes straight(!) of reciting many different Scripture passages, Mr. Piper gave 8 good reasons why a Christian should memorize the Bible.
- Memorizing Scripture makes meditation possible at times when I can’t be reading the Bible, and meditation is the pathway of deeper understanding.
- Memorizing Scripture strengthens my faith because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ, and that happens when I am hearing the word in my head.
- Memorizing Scripture shapes the way I view the world by conforming my mind to God’s viewpoint.
- Memorizing Scripture makes God’s word more readily accessible for overcoming temptation to sin, because God’s warnings and promises are the way we conquer the deceitful promises of sin.
- Memorizing Scripture guards my mind by making it easier to detect error—and the world is filled with error, since the god of this world is a liar.
- Memorizing Scripture enables me to hit the devil in the face with a force he cannot resist, and so protect myself and my family from his assaults.
- Memorizing Scripture provides the strongest and sweetest words for ministering to others in need.
- Memorizing Scripture provides the matrix for fellowship with Jesus because he talks to me through his word, and I talk to him in prayer.
The motive should not be to impress people with our superior brain power ("Oh yeah? Well I just memorized the geneology of the antediluvian patriarchs and the entire book of Leviticus!!"), but rather to know God more, love Him and be conformed to His image more, and minister to others with His love more.
Sadly, this is an area where I need growth in. There was a time where I did indeed have entire books memorized, but due to lack of diligence, I have forgotten them. I think I'm going to bite off smaller chunks--perhaps a 3 to 5 verse passage every month. In a year's time, I should have around 50 verses memorized. I think it's a good start.