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It follows you

December 3, 2009 2 comments

Dallas Willard, in his book The Great Omission, repeatedly points to bible memorization as the most important spiritual discipline a follower of Jesus can engage in.  His words have motivated me to climb a mountain in memorization.  With my son as my coach, I have begun memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It has really put a log on the gospel fire in my heart.

Here are some reasons why I think memorizing the Bible is so powerful:

  • It passively supplies biblical language to your prayers.
  • It causes many life situations to bring specific Scripture to your mind.
  • It empowers the Holy Spirit to nudge you back toward Jesus.
  • It excites your heart–you know that you have locked up treasure when you can repeat Scripture without a Bible.
  • It gives you a tangible spiritual reality when so many spiritual realities are intangible.
  • It brings joy, all by itself.
  • It treasures what God treasures–His words to people.
  • It breeds faith and courage.
  • It follows you (even when you aren’t feeling up for following Jesus.)

Here are some reasons why I believe we don’t memorize the Bible:

  • No one challenges us to.
  • It seems like it will be too hard.
  • We’re not sure it’s any more valuable than merely reading the Bible.
  • We’ve believed lies about what our memory is capable of and so we give excuses: “I’m too old”, “I’m not a good rememberizer”, “I don’t have time to memorize things”.
  • We lack tools or methods that would help us.
  • We’re apathetic or at least haphazard in our commitment to spiritual growth.
  • We’re pretty content with far less than God’s best.
  • We’re intimidated by the scope of the whole Bible so we fail to take a small first step in memorizing it.

So please, let me give you this simple, bite-sized challenge:

  1. read a chapter of the bible today
  2. pick one verse from your reading
  3. write it down on a piece of paper
  4. put it in your pocket
  5. memorize it before you go to bed tonight

(And no, John 11:35 does not qualify for this exercise.)