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    By Scott McChrystal
    "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace" (Acts 20:24, NIV). ...

     



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Why I Memorize Scripture

By Arlene Lila
Mar. 10, 2013

Like having my cell phone within reach and ready to use in an instant, I store memorized Bible verses in my mind for immediate use. God’s Word is precious to me. I want to have access to His truth at any given moment.

People ask me why I have been memorizing Scripture for so many years. Here are a few of the many reasons.


Our Heavenly Father tells us to hide His Word in our hearts.

God tells us to spend time meditating on His Word. “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it ... ” (Joshua 1:8, NASB).

As we read the Psalms, we see that King David took God’s Word seriously. He wrote, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11, NKJV).

I cannot think of a better way to spend my time than hiding God’s Word in my heart. I make a point to set aside those minutes every day.


God’s Word brings comfort to others.

During my early years in school, Dolores was my best friend. But we attended different high schools, and for the next 20 years did little more than exchange Christmas cards.

When a letter came from Dolores, I was saddened to learn she had suffered from severe depression. Doctors and medication offered no relief.

I pondered what I could do to comfort her. I thought of the many comforting verses I had memorized over the years. In my reply to her letter, I included Psalm 43:5: “O my soul, why be so gloomy and discouraged? Trust in God! I shall again praise him for his wondrous help; he will make me smile again, for he is my God!” (The Living Bible).

In the many letters that followed between us, I always included a comforting verse in my replies. Dolores later told me she read them over and over. Then, Dolores died of a heart attack. I missed her deeply, but cherished memories from our childhood friendship and our renewed correspondence.

Two months after losing Dolores, I received a phone call from her husband. He had been cleaning out Dolores’ things, and found that she had saved all of my letters.

“They must have meant a lot to her,” he said.

I’m convinced God’s Word made those letters valuable to Dolores. If I had not memorized those verses, I would not have written them to her. I’m so grateful for the comfort they provided in her final months.


God’s Word gives confidence in witnessing.

On an airline trip, I sat next to a young woman who started a conversation. As she told me about herself, she talked about living with her boyfriend. I asked her what she thought of that arrangement.

“Oh,” she replied, “I think it’s wonderful to know you can get along before marriage.”

After a long pause, noting my lack of enthusiasm, she asked, “What do you think about it?”

I was determined to be honest, without being vindictive.

“I hate it because God hates it,” I answered.

“How do you know God hates it?” she asked.

“Because it says so in the Bible,” I replied.

“I read the whole Bible, and there is no place where it says you can’t live together,” she insisted.

I explained that the Bible does say a lot about it, but not in those words. Wherever fornication is mentioned in some translations, it’s referring to that kind of intimacy outside of marriage. I suggested she read Ephesians 5 as just one example of God’s views on right and wrong relationships.

Rather than being turned off by my candor, the young woman had many more questions. By the time we landed, she told me she was going to get her life right with God.


God’s Word teaches others.

If you teach a Sunday School class, verses you memorize can help you answer students’ questions without having to look them up. Memorizing an array of answers from Scripture to common questions saves time and keeps the attention of your class.

And you don’t need to be a Sunday School teacher to allow God’s Word to communicate truth through you to others. As a parent, you can connect your knowledge of Scripture with daily guidance of your children. On the job, you can make it known that you find wisdom in the Word to guide your work ethic and business decisions. Among your friends, you can back up your opinions in conversation with biblical truth you have internalized.

There are many ways I find time to memorize Scripture. When I wait at the doctor’s office or in a long line, I study a verse or two. I can listen to Scripture and repeat it when driving. In 30 minutes at a beauty shop, I can review 15 verses!

God’s command in Joshua 1:8 concludes with a wonderful promise.

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

What a promise! I hope you will discover the joy of making God’s Word a treasured part of each day, planting it deeply in your spirit. It will bring abundant blessing to you and to those you love.


ARLENE LILA attends Fountain Hills (Ariz.) Christian Center (Assemblies of God).

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.