The Benefits of Memorizing Scripture

November 5th, 2011 Post by

I know this is not a lutheran source, but I found this on facebook from EnglishStandardVersion. Is anyone else confused about these pages popping up, and wish you could figure out who is behind them? Seems like there should be a list of admins for any page on facebook.

Posted originally here:

 

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. ~ Ps. 119:11
Consider the benefits of Bible memorization:

  1. Helps to renew your mind and change your thought life, establishing permanent change in your entire manner of life and conduct (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2-3).
  2. Follows the example of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-10).
  3. Equips you to use Scripture in everyday situations (for example: Acts 2:16-21, 25-28; 3:22-23; 13:40-41, 47).
  4. Allows God’s Word to be the foundation of your life (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).
  5. Provides guidance (Psalm 119:24, 105).
  6. Develops confidence in witnessing (Isaiah 55:11).
  7. Establishes a fountain to conquer temptation (for example: Matthew 4:1-10) and to gain victory over sin (Psalm 119:9-11).
  8. Becomes an integral part of your prayer life (for example: Acts 4:24-31).
  9. Enables you to teach, counsel, encourage, and build up others in the Body of Christ (Colossians 3:16).
  10. Provides a basis for meditation On God’s Word (Psalm 119:15-16, 97).
  11. Makes the Word of God readily available for comfort (Psalm 119:52).
  12. Keeps God’s Word ready to refresh or revive (Psalm 119:93).
  13. Provides stability in your spiritual life (Psalm 37:31; 40:8).
  14. Gives you the truth so that, at times of need, you are ready to answer others concerning your source of hope (Proverbs 22:17-21; 1 Peter 3:15).





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  1. David Rosenkoetter
    November 7th, 2011 at 08:06 | #1

    That memorizing Scriptures gives us confidence in witnessing is ironic here. Is. 55:11 speaks of the Word not returning to our Lord voicd or empty. It accomplishes that for which He sends it.

    There’s an irony because we don’t gain confidence in ourselves per se in witnessing. We grow in the assurance of Christ crucified. (1 Cor. 2:5) That’s the Word of the cross goes out, not our Word but Christ’s Word. He uses us and often produces good despite our stumbling or gaffs or trembling knees. We don’t proclaim ourselves but Jesus Christ as our crucified and risen Lord and Savior. (2 Cor. 4:4-5)

    Our confidence does not grow in ourselves based on this verse, Is. 55:11. Rather, such assurance emboldens our trust in Him who has saved us and now sends us into our daily vocations.

  2. backinthefold
    November 7th, 2011 at 09:49 | #2

    I am sold on the premise that memorization of Holy Scripture is a good thing. Just about all of the reasons and occasions cited by the writer have worked for me.

    I do wish, though, that our Synod could come to some kind of agreement about which version of Scripture would be the best for us to use and to memorize on a consistent basis. I understand that, unless we are reading Scripture in the original languages, there will always be points of contention about the translation. Still, it would be good if we had some kind of general agreement on the version that we could read, study, and memorize.

    Occasionally, variant translations lead to good discussion in Bible classes. Pastors sometimes find teaching moments in these variations. But, too often, Bible classes just get sidetracked when people have three or four versions of Scripture around the study table.

  3. Concerned Seminarian
    November 7th, 2011 at 11:53 | #3

    That list is very helpful. I’ll be sure to share it with my Confirmation students at some point this year.

  4. James
    November 7th, 2011 at 22:37 | #4

    In 8th grade, I recall having to memorize the answers to 200 questions out of Luthers Small Catechism. It was something we absolutely had to do prior to Questioning Sunday. We had to stand up in front of the altar in our robes and face the entire congregation. The pastor would read one of Luther’s questions and randomly call on one of us to respond. If you didn’t know the answer, the microphone would be passed to someone else and you would be asked a different question later. That was many years ago.

    I hope that LCMS pastors everywhere are still teaching junior high confirmation in the same way. If not, then I would argue that pastors who do not teach this way are not giving our youth a Lutheran identity. I saw immense value in studying and memorizing the small catechism over a period of several months. Without this kind of rigorous study, I would not know why being Lutheran made any difference.

    I would rather go through 8th grade confirmation again than be subject to a perverse form of torture I experienced several years earlier. In 3rd and in 4th grade in our LCMS grade school, everyone had to memorize a unique bible verse for the next day. A random verse was arbitrarily assigned to each one of us. No one had the same verse. We were NOT taught what the verses meant in any form of context. The following day, we were required to go up to the teachers desk and recite our bible verse to the teachers perfectly…..OR ELSE. No second chances, either. Now *that* was as meaningful to me as writing 100 times “I will not throw spitballs in class.” To this day, I refuse to memorize any scripture.

    In all seriousness Steadfast Lutherans should have saved this article for April Fools day.

  5. November 8th, 2011 at 09:06 | #5

    James,

    Here at Bethany, Naperville, Illinois we still have children learning the answers to 200 questions out of the Explanation to the Small Catechism and have them stand before the congregation and give the answers much as you described.

    Concerning memorization, I was never good at memorizing (not patient enough) but in jr. high I began reading the Bible on my own and started memorizing passages on my own. I still use those memorized passages in the pastoral care that I do today. Memorization is not mandatory but contrary to what you say, it is no April Fools joke but is a godly spiritual exercise.

    TR

  6. backinthefold
    November 8th, 2011 at 12:08 | #6

    @James #4
    Yes, I can remember what seemed like endless memorization of Scripture, but the verses came each week from the particular portion of the Small Catechism where we were working at that point. So we did have some context then.

    But the thing about context is that today, fifty years after Confirmation, I am still learning context. And I will probably continue to learn context until I join the Communion of Saints. Those verses memorized long ago are my anchors for that context. They were not random. Indeed, they were selected specifically to teach a point that would epitomize that context.

  7. James
    November 8th, 2011 at 12:55 | #7

    Context is everything.

    Thanks for listening to my testimony.

  8. Matthew Mills
    November 8th, 2011 at 14:26 | #8

    @backinthefold #6
    I’ve said it before, but this is exactly why my Confirmation pastor referred to memorization as “a doggie-bag for your brain.”

    Some of the individual items on this list look a bit “Baptist-ish” for me. (The purpose of the law isn’t to clean up our act, and no amount of memorization will kill the old Adam.) Still, memorization is certainly much more valuable than today’s “Google-culture” is willing to admit, and we are poorer catechists for our institutional abandonment of it.

  9. Kelly
    November 9th, 2011 at 01:57 | #9

    I’m a big fan of memorization, but I’m with #8 on the “Baptist-ish” nature of some of the listed items, particularly the verses cited. Having been a Baptist myself for most of my life, I can pretty confidently say that most of what I was given to memorize was Law-related, and this Law was supposed to be the focus and source of my changed life. What was nice about becoming a Lutheran was that Bible memorization focused on learning specific doctrine, not primarily a list of (supposedly) highly-keepable rules about morality or Bible trivia. That, and having a regular liturgy actually helps you memorize a ton of Scripture.

  10. November 9th, 2011 at 11:17 | #10

    In schools memorizing Bible verses has a side benefit. It helps with learning in other subjects. The students get really good at remembering information.

    Besides, it helps them when the pastor gets them for confirmation. :)

  11. James
    November 9th, 2011 at 14:05 | #11

    Kelly :
    What was nice about becoming a Lutheran was that Bible memorization focused on learning specific doctrine, not primarily a list of (supposedly) highly-keepable rules about morality or Bible trivia. That, and having a regular liturgy actually helps you memorize a ton of Scripture.

    Older Lutherans can recall having memorized large sections of the bible without even realizing it. I do believe these verses were taken from the Psalms:

    http://www.lutheran-hymnal.com/online/matins.html

    My LCMS congregation has not (yet) purchased the new LSB. Are there comparable sections of the liturgy in the LSB that encourage bible literacy?

    How many bible passages can a person learn in a contemporary worship service?

  12. Jason
    November 9th, 2011 at 15:22 | #12

    @James #11

    Many parts of the liturgy have a small note indicating what verses of Scripture are used for the various components. Such as the “Create in Me…” will cite Psalm 51:10…

    IMnsHO, no you don’t get anything even close to Scripture in CoWo. Even if it is supposed to be based on something, the practioners have a tendency to show off how good/cute/creative they are at embellishing the words that often it can go missed. Good luck trying to reverse engineer back and guess where they may or may not have taken something.

  13. James
    November 9th, 2011 at 17:37 | #13

    @Jason #12

    “… a clean heart O God
    and renew a right spirit within me
    Cast me not away from Thy presence
    and take not Thy holy spirit from me
    Restore unto me
    the joy of Thy salvation
    and uphold me with Thy free spirit.”

    I just recited this from memorization. That one was a classic, indeed. Thanks for the fond memories.

    Conclusion: Contemporary worship does not promote Bible literacy.

  14. Matthew Mills
    November 9th, 2011 at 17:49 | #14

    @James #13
    This is why one of the old “Motley Magpie” Pastors called the liturgy the real “children’s sermon.”

  15. Russ Davis
    December 22nd, 2011 at 20:47 | #15

    @Pastor Tim Rossow #5
    If one is legitimately to be called “christian” (= little Christ) I can’t see how one can escape Scripture memorization being not just mandatory but urgently so. One of the ironies of how many of today’s professing “christians” treat their alleged faith is that they often seem to demand that less is required for a serious profession of “the one true faith” than many fervent “antitheists” require for their deranged lie. Of course as 1 John 2 says, “And hereby we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” The knowing Him brings about the commandment keeping, the fruit of grace through faith, never vice versa that rather would be the evil of salvation by works. It seems to me those who seem inclined to oppose memorization are more RE-ACTting against some negative past association rather than actually ACTing according to Scripture, but the problem with using evil as one’s measuring device is that then evil becomes the guide, not God & His Word, and can lead us over a cliff. Soli Deo Gloria!

  16. December 23rd, 2011 at 06:24 | #16

    #14: This is why one of the old “Motley Magpie” Pastors called the liturgy the real “children’s sermon.”

    Beautiful!

    And as Dr. David Scaer liked to remind seminarians, “Gentlemen, after you’ve screwed up the sermon, the people will still hear the Word in the liturgy. DON’T MESS WITH THE LITURGY! There’s a very good chance it will be the only Gospel they hear from you.”

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