Recently, I ran across this post about Vern Poythress’ Scripture memory habits. While I had been faithful in my own personal Scripture memory the last couple of years, late last year I started slacking on reviewing the verses I had memorized and this post provided me with the example I needed to get going again.
I doubt that I am the only person who struggles to be consistent in his Scripture memory. Scripture memory has no deadline and rarely does anyone ask us how we are doing in our Scripture memory. It doesn’t feel urgent in the way that many other things in our lives do. Scripture memory falls into what Stephen Covey would call the “important but not urgent” category. We need to memorize Scripture. We must memorize Scripture, but we fail to grasp the importance of it until we are in a situation where knowing God’s word by heart would be helpful.
We need to remember why Scripture memory is so vitally important for our walk with the Lord, so here are seven reasons that you need to store God’s word up in your heart.
To continue reading Scott Slayton’s article, click here.
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In June I wrote about eight passages of Scripture every Christian needs to commit to memory. The response to the post has been great and I have been encouraged at the hunger to memorize Scripture I have seen. At the end of the post I asked what passages people would add to the list. If you look back at the original post, every passage contains at least six verses and some close to twenty. My aim in that post was to point to longer foundational passages for Christians to commit to memory. Most of the feedback I received listed single verses, and realized that new Christians following my advice would miss many well-known verses that Christians usually memorize early in their Christian life.
In light of this, I put together a list of passages for young or new Christians to memorize so they would grow in their understanding of the character of God, the work of Jesus, salvation by faith alone, and the basics of the Christian life. We need to focus on these issues early in the Christian life because if we just start learning Scripture’s commands without understanding who God has revealed himself to be and the heart of the Christian message we will develop an unhealthy view of what it means to live as a Christian.
When memorizing these verses, work on learning them for the long haul and not just to check them off of a list. Learn them thoroughly and accurately, then develop a system for reviewing them so they stay fresh in your mind. As you learn and review these verses, meditate on them, take notes on them, and pray through them. You will find that committing Scripture to memory, studying it, meditating on it, and praying through it will give you aid in trial, temptation, discouragement, and evangelism opportunities. (If you need help memorizing Scripture and developing a system for review, I recommend the ScriptureTyper app. It has been a great aid to my Scripture memory over the last two years.)
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Though I didn’t come to faith in Christ until I was in college, I grew up going to church multiple times a week. One of the things that stands out from the Sunday School teachers I had and conversations I overheard was the amount of Scripture many of these faithful Christians had memorized. As I started out in my Christian life I didn’t see the importance of Scripture memory and therefore didn’t learn many basic passages of Scripture Christians need to know. It took a few years after becoming a believer to realize I didn’t know many of the passages of Scripture more mature believers referred to most often.
The Psalmist said , “Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Memorizing and meditating on God’s word provides fuel for our growth as Christians. Sometimes when we face discouragement or temptation we remember a word we have memorized and it is exactly what we need in that moment to encourage us or give us strength. In evangelistic conversations or times when you are discipling another believer you often don’t have time to flip around and try to find a passage of Scripture. When you have devoted yourself to scripture memory, you already have it and are able to speak it as part of normal conversation.
Many believers don’t know where to start when they are memorizing the Bible, so here are eight passages that are central to understanding the message of the Bible and the basics of the Christian life. While there are many more Bible verses to memorize, these eight provide a great starting point.
The Ten Commandments
For most of my childhood I saw plaques of the Ten Commandments on people’s walls next to their pictures of Jesus and Bear Bryant. The plaque always looked the same. They had to tablets on each side and the commandments were listed with Roman numerals. When we turn to Exodus 20:1-17 in our Bibles though we don’t see the commandments listed in this way. They begin with a word about God’s redemptive act of rescuing them from slavery in Egypt and then tells them what it looks like to live as his people in the world. Memorizing the Ten Commandments will remind us of our need for the grace found in Jesus Christ and give us guidance for living the Christian life.
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