When I was a kid growing up in Michigan, my parents enrolled me in a program called, AWANA. It's a church-club sort of thing–think Boy Scouts for Christians. There were a couple of key differences, of course. First, AWANA was open to both girls and boys (now that I think of it, so are the Boy Scouts). But more importantly, the main point behind AWANA was to help kids memorize the Bible.
I'll admit, Bible memorization seems like a thing of the past, but why? Is it possible that we use our reliance on technology as a crutch, no longer needing to know sections of the Bible by heart? Or, are we too distracted (or dare I say lazy) to commit a part of scripture to memory?
Recently, I took an informal poll on Facebook, asking whether it was important to memorize the Bible. 94% of the people who responded said yes, while only a few admitted knowing more than a couple of Bible verses.
Perhaps the reason so few people are currently memorizing the Bible is that they don't know why it's so important. So, here are three valid reasons why you should commit the Bible to memory.
God Asked You To
When Moses was delivering one of his famous Deuteronomical sermons to the Israelites, he said, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” (Deut 11:18). The words he spoke of were the Old Testament commandments and laws.
God wanted the people to be more than familiar with the concepts of His word. He wanted the words to be close to them–in their minds and their hearts.
King David followed suit when he wrote, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
It's clear that there is a correlation between knowing the Bible “by heart” and pleasing God. The more you have committed God's Word to heart, the better you'll know how to serve Him.
It Will Help You Fight Temptation
Jesus began his ministry with a 40 day fast in the desert. During this time he was tempted by Satan on three separate occasions.
On Satan's first attempt, he chided Jesus saying, “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones to bread” (Matt 4:3).
Satan knew that Jesus was the Son of God, but he tried to coax Jesus into a miracle. The reply of Jesus is straight from the book of Deuteronomy (see point 1), and he said back to Satan, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'” (4:4).
Jesus avoided temptation by quoting the Bible. At that moment, Satan was thwarted, and Jesus prevailed over temptation.
Satan tried to tempt Jesus two more times, and each time Jesus used the power of God's word to stop the Devil.
You and I face temptation every single day. In this world, it's impossible to avoid lurid images, invitations to gossip, and the pressure to put our interests ahead of others. When you know the words of the Bible intimately, you'll be equipped to fight against temptation.
It Will Help You Encourage Other People
When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to his friends in Colosse, one of the things he said was, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” (Col 3:16). His point is that God's Word is something that lives INSIDE of you, and the result should be an outpouring of encouragement to fellow believers.
When you are familiar with God's word, it helps you know what to say to someone who needs encouragement and support. Now, I'm not talking about quoting Bible verses at someone who is hurting. That's never a good idea. Instead, using the scripture as a base of knowledge, you'll have the wisdom to say the right thing at the right time.
OK, so what's next?
If you're interested in starting to learn some important Bible verses, here is a list that you can work through. I encourage you to memorize one Bible verse each week, or even just one each month. Commit the verse to perfect memory–word for word–and remember the book and verse number too.
In my opinion, here are the best 10 Bible verses to memorize, five from the Old Testament, and five from the New Testament:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.Deuteronomy 6:5
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:9
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.Proverbs 18:10
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of every human being.Ecclesiastes 12:13
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.Isaiah 26:3
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.Matthew 6:33
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.Acts 4:12
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.1 Corinthians 10:13
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:9
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