Posts Tagged memorization

The Why and How of Spiritual Practices

by Roger Severino    

With Bible apps always at our fingertips, is there still a place for memorizing Bible verses? I think there is.
Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (NIV). One of the reasons to memorize Scripture is because it will help you fight spiritual battles. When Jesus faced temptation in the wilderness, He responded by quoting verses from the Bible (see Matthew 4:1-11). We would do well to approach temptation in the same way. Romans 12:2 instructs us to “not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” [1] What better way to renew our mind than to have it meditate and dwell on Scripture? When I am tempted with an impure thought that dishonors God, I can remind myself of Philippians 4:8: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.”[2] When I am tempted to be discouraged by various circumstances I am facing, I can reflect on Philippians 4:13: “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”[3] When I want to dwell on Jesus’ instructions about prayer, I can recite the Lord’s Prayer in my mind (Matthew 6:9-13). When I am fearful and need to be reminded of God’s care, I might meditate on Psalm 23.

  1. One trusted way to memorize Scripture is to write it out, perhaps on a 3 x 5 notecard. Read and re-read the verse(s). On one side write the reference (i.e. Philippians 4:8) and on the other side write out what the verse says. There’s probably even an app for that. Test yourself. Better yet, find a partner and call out the verse reference to each other and have the other person quote it.
  2. Write the verse(s) on your mirror, or on a sticky note and place it somewhere where you will see it. Internalize the truth and meaning of the verse so that you are imagining how you will live it out. And then seek to obey those verses in your life. Spiritual transformation occurs when we begin to replace the lies of the world with the truth of Scripture.

Do you need a place to start? Try one of these: the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17), the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), Psalm 23, Isaiah 40:28-31, Lamentations 3:22-24, John 3:16-18, Romans 8:31-39, or 1 Corinthians 13.
[1] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Ro 12:2.
[2] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Php 4:8.
[3] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), Php 4:13.