We live in a world where we don’t need to remember much. I sometimes refer to my phone as my brain. I put calendar events, tasks to accomplish, and phone numbers into my phone so I don’t need to remember them. I can always look them up at the appropriate time.
Do you remember back in the day when you had to remember people’s phone numbers? I can still remember phone numbers of the friends I called as a kid. They are ingrained into my mind. But I cannot tell you a single phone number of a person I regularly call today. Once I enter the number into the phone, the phone remembers the number for me. Why do I need to remember it?
The same with the Scriptures. I have a computer program where I can search for Bible verses and topics I want to find. Maybe there is a verse where I remember the basic wording but don’t remember exactly where it is located. I can do a search with a few keywords and quickly find the reference in multiple translations.
Then there is Google. What can you not find on Google? The point is that we don’t need to memorize anything because we can always look it up.
These tools are are beneficial in many ways. We don’t need to memorize, but that does not mean we should not memorize. The Bible talks about writing the Word of God on our hearts:
“You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul…” (Deuteronomy 11:18, NASB95)
Writing the Word of God on our hearts is about more than memorization, but memorization is part of the process.
It is easy to take for granted the that we can always look up something. This is a luxury we should not take it for granted. What happens if I were to drop my phone and break it? What happens when my computer’s hard drive goes bad? What happen’s when Google is hacked, and the website goes down? We can’t always rely upon these luxuries.
When Jesus was in the desert and tempted by Satan, he used the Scripture to remain faithful. It was the Word of God written on his heart that combated the temptations that came his way. You can be sure that temptation will come your way, and there are two things you can be certain:
- Temptation will come at an inopportune time.
- Your best defense against temptation is God’s Word.
When temptation comes your way, you are not going to have the luxury of looking up a particular Scripture reference. You will either have it with you or not. When Jesus called upon the Scriptures in the desert, he called upon them from memory.
Ephesians 6 speaks of spiritual warfare. It tells us to “stand fast to withstand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:13). We are to take up the whole armor of God which includes “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). In other words, take it with you. There is no better way of taking it with you than memorizing it.
So here is a challenge. Take one verse a week. That is not much. I am sure you can do it. If you memorized one Bible verse a week, that would be 52 verses you would memorize over the course of the year. A good place to start would be the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. Spend the next ten weeks memorizing the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12.
- Week 1 (Feb 7-13): Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3, ESV)
- Week 2 (Feb 14-20): Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4, ESV)
- Week 3 (Feb 21-27): Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5, ESV)
- Week 4 (Feb 28-March 5): Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6, ESV)
- Week 5 (March 6-12): Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (Matthew 5:7, ESV)
- Week 6 (March 13-19): Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8, ESV)
- Week 7 (March 20-26): Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9, ESV)
- Week 8 (March 27-April 2): Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10, ESV)
- Week 9 (April 3-9): Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matthew 5:11, ESV)
- Week 10 (April 10-16): Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12, ESV)
I will make these the official verses of the week for Greater Things. I am also going to encourage my church to take part in this challenge. I pray that you will accept this challenge and join me on this journey. I will be interested to hear how you go about memorizing these verses. Share in the comments below if you are willing to join this challenge!