Memorizing Scripture- The Importance Of Retaining God’s Word
By Brad Hewey
What is the importance of memorizing scripture? Brad shares why it’s so crucial to have “the power of God’s word firmly embedded, serving as the lamp unto our feet, and the light unto our path.”
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Do you ever get frustrated at your seeming lack of ability to retain Gods word? The Psalmist says, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”
But it seems so often, that we do forget God’s word, or are ineffective at recalling it. We want to draw on a particular scripture reference, and it for the moment eludes us.
Did you know that Jewish boys and girls in Jesus’ day began study of the scriptures at the ages of six through twelve? The students would begin their education in the synagogue school, learning how to read and write. The textbook was the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) and the goal was to memorize the Torah by the age of twelve?! That’s incredible
Sometimes, while reading and meditating upon a wonderful passage of scripture that resonates with us fully, our intent is to recall even but one of the verses that speaks to us in particular, but then our brain seems to go into a mode of disconnect, and the ability to remember disappointedly becomes inability.
Learning About Memory
The total capacity of short-term memory is fairly limited. Experts believe that you can hold approximately seven items in short-term memory for about 20 to 0 seconds. The brain’s “Post-it note” or short term memory quickly disappears, new content. gradually competes…pushes out older content … unless we make conscious effort to retain it. The ability to retain ore detailed information, like passages of scripture, is related to long term memory, and the importance we place on it. There are ways to transfer thoughts from the short term, into something more permanent.
Several years ago, while in my late 30’s, in hopes of enhancing my ability to “retain information”, I purchased a memory course, which included an instruction manual, and a series of CD’s that were progressive in nature. I was quite pleased with my progress, and to this day there are particular bible verses I quote, that upon recall, I can attribute them to being held in my memory, in part, as a result of that course. About mid-way through my course, I was travelling through an airport, the CD’s in my carry-on. During our layover, I put on my headphones and listened to some of the memory course instruction. Later, I boarded the plane, forgetting my carry-on…including the CD’s in the waiting area. Unfortunately, they were never seen again.
That frustrating, but somewhat amusing story reminds us that even when we set our minds to a task, there can often be setbacks, errors, and disappointments. And our earnest desire to seer Gods word into our brains, is itself, succumb to the limits of our fallible minds. There will be memory lapses, there will be days where we feel particularly thick in the head.
We Must Make Time For Memorizing Scripture
Life in this 21st century, can be extremely busy and demanding. The time to set aside for memorizing verses doesn’t just present itself, we have to grab it, reach for it, pull it out of our busy day.
David says, “in the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul.”
Even at our busiest, it’s key to be reminded that HIS comforts, are truly what our souls desire. Having the ability to recall, and rest in a verse of scripture, is like water to a thirsty soul.
So lets not allow time, and setback steer us off course. “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
That advice from God’s Word has stood the test of time.
WE must not allow ourselves to be bogged down by our past failures; not dwell on our past so that it stops us moving forward into the future that God has for us.
When we’re focused on OUR FAILURES, we’re failing to see CHRIST IN US. LESS OF ME and more of thee. LET GO, and LET GOD.
We Must Work At Memorizing Scripture
Peter tells us to “gird up the loins of our mind” to pick up your robe, gather up your strength for the task at hand. To “literally” work at all the aspects that encompass our faith walk.
For most, memorizing scripture does take real effort. Unless we’re blessed with a photographic memory, we can’t retain passages from the bible, just from reading over them. We need to “work” to commit them into our long-term memory. The common term “grocery list”, instantly brings an image to our minds. Some studies show approximately 65% use of shoppers use lists. When we commit the time and energy to put something to paper, for a future reference, we are validating it, we are attaching a sense of real importance to it.
How much more important, is the instruction from God, to place his word in our hearts and minds. Little pieces of paper are a great way to commit verses to our memories. We can carry them, we can post them on our fridge, we can travel with them in our car. Technology as well, provides many aides, a great bible app, a verse of the day popping in front of you. There are many ways of “attaining” the verses, but really only one way of “retaining” them…and that’s through a focused, prayerful approach, a real work effort to commit them to our long-term memory. Girding up the loins of our mind, and setting to the task at hand.
Trust And Obey
I often use the title of the dear old hymn “trust and obey” as a reminder that much of our faith walk is twofold. We can often become relaxed, and lazy, content resting in the knowledge that we have fully placed our trust in our Savior. And we know that fundamentally, apart from God, we can do nothing…and certainly nothing in terms of securing our salvation. But there’s much to do, in terms of the ministerial work.
God’s word is clear as well, that we are to bear fruit, we are to work, not that we are justified by our works, but our work is something that bears itself out, in obedience to the one we’ve placed our trust in. Trust and Obey. Memorizing scripture, is obedience, and it will be blessed.
Renewing Our Minds
In Pauls letter to the Romans, he instructs that we are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed, by the renewing of our minds. It’s an easy concept to grasp, renewing our minds. It shows clearly, that our minds should not be stagnant, that they are in need of stimulation, of nutrients, and that God gives us the power to be renewed daily, weekly, a continual process.
I recently used a glass of water, in an object lesson, to demonstrate the renewal process that can take place in our minds. Take a glass of water, and add to it some chocolate syrup. The water becomes clouded and dark, representing sin that has wormed its way in, tainting us. As we begin to pour fresh water, representing Gods word into the glass, we can imagine that the very first drop actually begins the transformation process, although it’s not immediately visible. But continue to pour in the fresh water, and we see the glass begin to overflow, the dark and clouded, being replaced with clear, and clean. As we continue to pour, the glass transforms into a sparkling new reservoir, bubbling over…being filled with a fountain of goodness. Purging, and replacing. Out with the old, in with the new. Filling our minds, renewing them. That’s exactly what takes place when we set to the task of memorizing scripture, feeding ourselves on, and retaining the word, that is bread, manna, giving us spiritual sustenance and the ability to transform.
The Importance Of Memorizing Scripture
How important, that we seek to fill our minds with the living, breathing word of God. To set out to commit scripture to our memory, that will surely serve as a testimony to others, but just as importantly, be an immense blessing to us. As we continue on in our lives in this dizzying world, that is in a constant state of moral decline, it is so important to have the power of God’s word firmly embedded, serving as the lamp unto our feet, and the light unto our path.
May he place it upon your heart today the sword of the spirit, to grab pen and paper, or set that app on your phone, that his word will be ever before you, that you might commit it into long term memory for your benefit, and for his Glory.
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder.
Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter, and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
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