A Call to Memorization
Shortly before World War II, a Bible distributor by the name of Michael Billester, visited a small settlement in Poland and gave a Bible to one of the men in that settlement. As a result, the man came to faith in Christ and passed the Bible on to others. This led to 200 conversions because of that one Bible!
When Michael Billester returned to that village a few years later to meet with the believers for a worship service, he asked the believers that were present to recite some verses of scripture. The reply was amazing! One man stood and said, “Perhaps we have misunderstood. Did you mean verses or chapters?”
Studies show that our attention spans continue to shrink. An article in the New York Times dated January 22, 2016, states that a survey of Canadian media consumption by Microsoft concluded that the average attention span had fallen to eight seconds, down from 12 in the year 2000. The study concluded we now have a shorter attention span than goldfish.
For the record, I do not believe that a believer cannot memorize Scripture. The biblical evidence is too overwhelming to accept that:
Jos 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Psa 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa. 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Psa 119:97 O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
One of the recreations I treasure is going to Chiefs games with my son. It is a blast! We cheer, high-five and enjoy the energy of Arrowhead. Inevitably though, because he is a growing boy, I will have to make “at least” two trips to the concession stand and then pray for deliverance out of debt afterwards! But this means that I will leave him behind while I go for refreshments. What’s interesting is that we’ve never sat in the same seats. In case you’ve never been to Arrowhead Stadium, the stadium seats nearly 80,000 rabid fans. But even though we’ve never had the same seats, I very quickly “memorize” the section, row and seat numbers we have. Why? Because there is something located in that section, in that row and in those seats, that demand an instant and urgent desire to commit that information to “memory.” The option to wander aimlessly from section to section looking for someone that has an immeasurable value to me is simply not an option.
As some people get older, they quip about not being able to remember things. And in time, they will excuse themselves from the obligation of having to memorize certain things altogether. It’s actually a nice out to have as people can conveniently use that whenever it works to their advantage. But that ultimately breaks down when you consider how many people in their 40’s and well beyond work in professions that call for strong memorization of volumes of facts and details.
Take lawyers for example, they must remember specific details about the cases of their clients, they must remember specific details about past cases, they must know the fine details of federal, state and local laws and this information must be accessed from “memory” on the spot. There’s no time to consult Google or open a legal textbook in a courtroom. Men and women in their 40’s and beyond exhibit the ability to do this daily.
The truth is, memorization has everything to do with what something is worth to you. Whatever means a great deal to you is what you think on often and give quality time to.
As we begin our church-wide discipleship focus this week, I want to remind you that we are very committed to the 2nd goal of Discipleship: Establishing the Believer in the Word of God. The nature of this goal calls for the believer to memorize God’s Word.
If we are to Establish believers in the Word of God, the memorization of Scripture during Discipleship must not be approached as a suggestion or for those who can do so and not for those who say they can’t. It is an essential and necessary practice within the process of being established in the Word of God.
In conclusion, here are 5 reasons why memorizing Scripture is critical:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ memorized Scripture.
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
2. Memorizing Scripture is essential in living a holy life.
Psa 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
3. Memorizing Scripture is essential in being conformed into the image of Christ.
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
4. Memorizing Scripture is essential for winning in spiritual warfare.
Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
5. Memorizing Scripture is essential for edifying other believers.
1 Thes. 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
It is important to point out that the initial hearers of the words in these verses did not have 66 books in one volume called the Bible. Therefore, the meditation on and memorization of what they heard would have been critical for their spiritual growth.
We are blessed to have God’s Word in volume, but that should not quench our conviction to meditate on it and memorize it.
Memorization of Scripture in Discipleship at Midtown is not an elective.