Memorizing God’s Word

There are two responses people have to the gospel, they will either accept it or reject it. Only those who accept the gospel are rewarded with eternal life. Everyone else remains under the wrath of God (Rom. 1). This is why it is so critical for us to recognize the word of God for what it really is. If we read God’s word as anything other than God’s word we are hopelessly lost.

Many people read the Bible without ever being changed by it. I had professors in college who regularly read the Bible and taught it to students every week, but they rejected it’s spiritual relevance. They read it as nothing more than a historical book full of myth and error. Whoever reads the word of God in that way does nothing but heap further condemnation upon themselves.

Instead, as believers, we should honor God’s word by giving it many opportunities to work in our lives. We should spend regular time reading it. Psalm 1 informs us that the man who meditates upon the law day and night is blessed. In fact, God’s word is his delight! We should attend worship services, bible studies, and prayer groups as often as we can. We should feel free to talk about Scripture, having spiritual conversation, with our friends. Along with Charles Spurgeon we should desire to bleed bibline like John Bunyan:

Oh, that you and I might get into the very heart of the Word of God, and get that Word into ourselves! As I have seen the silkworm eat into the leaf, and consume it, so ought we to do with the Word of the Lord—not crawl over its surface, but eat right into it till we have taken it into our inmost parts. It is idle merely to let the eye glance over the words, or to recollect the poetical expressions, or the historic facts; but it is blessed to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your very style is fashioned upon Scripture models, and, what is better still, your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord.

I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like the reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress—that sweetest of all prose poems — without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere—his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved.

—”Mr. Spurgeon as a Literary Man,” in The Autobiography of Charles H. Spurgeon, Compiled from His Letters, Diaries, and Records by His Wife and Private Secretary, vol. 4, 1878-1892 (Curtis & Jennings, 1900), p. 268.

One of the ways I would encourage you to spend more time in the word is to memorize it. Find a passage that you want to meditate upon and commit it to memory. That way, wherever you are, you can have God’s word with you. It might be a passage that will help in your fight against temptation. It might be something that encourages you to press on in the faith. Or it might be something that speaks of the character of God.

Dr. Waters, professor of New Testament at RTS Jackson, almost always assigns a passage of Scripture for his students to memorize. In his classes, I have memorized Romans 8, Ephesians 4:1-16, and John 1:1-18. Although we are getting a grade for completing the assignment, it is probably the most fruitful thing we do.

I’m terrible at it. But over the years I have found some helpful resources. Memorize Now is a program that allows you to cut & paste a passage to memorize. After reading through the passage you click the next arrow and the program slowly eliminates words from the passage. This is a good way to memorize larger portions of Scripture. For shorter passages (a verse or two at a time) I recommend the Flashcards Deluxe app for iPhone or iPod Touch. It’s not flashy, but of the several flashcard apps I’ve tried, it was the best.

Here’s some inspiration. John Piper opened this sermon quoting several passages of Scripture.