Most people nowadays have easy access to a Bible, be it in print, online or on their phone. Why then would we bother to memorize Bible verses? There are several good reasons to do this:
1. Memorizing Bible verses is a way to obey God’s commandment
In the book of Deuteronomy, God tells the people of Israel that His Word should permeate all of their lives. “These words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). Memorizing Scripture is a great way to do exactly that: giving the Bible a prominent place in your daily life.
2. Memorized Scripture sinks deep into your heart
Reading the Bible is essential. Hearing sermons that explain Scripture portions is great. But memorizing Scripture portions can be a valuable addition to these two ways of interacting with God’s Word. It compels you to focus even more on particular verses, and to give them your full attention. By repeating them over and over, they sink in deeper. By memorizing Bible verses, we hide God’s word in our heart (Psalm 119:11). This will bear fruit in our lives. It will transform us into the image of the Lord (Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
3. Memorized Scripture portions are always at hand in difficult times
There may be various occasions where you don’t have access to a Bible. Some people have experienced this when they were imprisoned for their faith, or otherwise persecuted. Others fall severely ill and are unable to take in any new information. How immensely valuable it is in such situations to have pieces of the Bible in stock, stored in your heart. God can use them to encourage you. He can bring them back into your mind right at the moment when you need his Word most.
4. Scripture quotations are great to encourage or teach others
You are not the only one who needs encouragement or admonition every now and then. You will probably meet fellow believers who go through difficult times as well, or who are confused about certain issues. How great is it then to know suitable Scripture portions by heart, instead of saying: “Wait, I’m sure the Lord has some promise for you that is exactly suitable for the situation you are in. I’ll look it up tonight, and I’ll let you know!” God’s words are the most powerful resource in our conversations with others. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
5. Knowing Scripture by heart is handy in conversations with non-believers
You might also have conversations with non-believers who are interested in God, or who want to attack you about certain aspects of the Christian faith. These people probably won’t be that easily convinced if you just say: “I’m really sure, it’s somewhere in the Bible!” It is much more powerful to recite a Bible verse, including the book and chapter where they can look it up for themselves. God’s own Word has more strength than any of our own arguments. “For the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12).
6. Memorized Scripture portions are powerful against temptation or false teachings
When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He reacted on each of Satan’s temptations by quoting Scripture. “It is written…” (see Matthew 4 or Luke 4). That was the most powerful weapon He could use, and indeed the devil left Him. We are encouraged to do the same as Jesus did. We should take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” […] “that you may be able to withstand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:17 and 13). Sometimes temptations or false teaching are quite subtle. If you only know the main line of the Bible, you might not even notice that a certain teaching is not fully true. Knowing God’s Word well, and having the sword of the Spirit in place, helps you to see through Satan’s lies. It gives you ammunition to fight back by quoting God’s very own words.
Start memorizing Scripture portions yourself!
I could list even more reasons why memorizing Scripture is a good idea. But I think the ones listed above are enough to give it a try! Read the practical guideline for memorizing Scripture to figure out how you could do this in an easy and structured way.