This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That is where you need it! How does it get into your mouth? By memorisation.” (Dallas Willard, professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California)
Why should we memorise Scripture?
According to respected Christian author, Chuck Swindoll:
• Your prayer life will be strengthened.
• Your witnessing will be sharper and more effective
• Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change.
• Your faith will be solidified
One of the main reasons Martin Luther came to his great discovery in the Bible of justification by faith alone (ie: you can’t earn your salvation – only faith in Jesus saves) was because in his early years as a Professor of Holy Scripture at Wittenberg University, he came to love God’s Word. Memorising Scripture should not be seen as a duty, but rather as a critical building block to our faith. Here are a few more reasons why it is essential:
Conformity to Christ
Bible memorisation has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier and clearer. Paul wrote that “we all…beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” 2 Cor 3:18
If we would be changed into Christ-likeness we must steadily see Him. This happens in the Word. “The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the Word of the Lord.” 1 Sam 3:21
Daily Triumph over Sin
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word…I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Ps 119:9
Daily Triumph over Satan
When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness He recited Scripture from memory and put Satan to flight. Matt 4:1-11
Comfort and Counsel for People You Love
The times when people need you to give them counsel is usually not when you have a Bible handy! Not only that, the very Word of God spoken spontaneously from your heart has unusual power. Prov 25:11 says “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
Communicating the Gospel to Unbelievers
Opportunities to share the Gospel come when we do not have the Bible in hand. We should all be able to sum up the Gospel like this:
• God’s holiness/Law/glory
• Man’s sin/rebellion/disobedience
• Christ’s death for sinners
• The free gift of life by faith.
Learn a verse or two relating to each of these, and be ready in season and out of season to share them.
Communion with God in the Enjoyment of His Person and Ways
The way we commune with (that is, fellowship with) God is by meditating on His attributes and expressing to Him our thanks, admiration and love, and seeking His help to live a life that reflects these attributes. Storing texts in our minds about God helps us to relate to Him as He really is.
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him…” Ps 103: 8-14
Most of us are emotionally crippled. We do not experience God in the fullness of our emotional potential. How will that change? One way is to memorise the emotional expressions of the Bible and speak them to the Lord and to each other until they become part of who we are.
Dr John Piper is the Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in America. He is a prolific author, guest speaker and an authority in the Christian community.
Copyright 2007 John Piper. Used by permission