The Value Bible Memorization

Through technology, modern people have unprecedented access to information. While this is a blessing in many ways, we are constantly bombarded by new information through YouTube videos, Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram photos. It's hard to slow down and truly meditate on what is most important.
The Bible says that a believer who meditates on God’s Word is “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season." (Psalms 1:2-3). The apostle Paul says that we should let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly which leads to a life of worship, thankfulness, and love (Colossians 3:16).
How do we meditate on God's Word and how does it dwell richly in us? Well, this comes primarily through the ordinary means of grace. We sit under the preaching of the Word every Lord's Day. We see the Word visibly displayed through baptism and the Lord's Supper. We develop patterns of personal prayer and Bible reading. Recently, I've seen the value of Bible memorization which I want to encourage you to pursue for several reasons. 

First, Bible memorization forces you to slow down and consider what a passage of Scripture is actually saying. For example, I recently memorized Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  I had read this passage many times in my life.  Yet, when I memorized it, I finally saw the connection between the command not to be anxious and prayer. Paul says, "Do not be anxious about anything." How do you do this? “By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.” Often, anxiety expresses itself through a repeated voice in our hearts and minds. “Will I make a fool of myself?” “Will I have enough money?” “Is this the right decision?” “Will the situation work out OK?” Instead of being anxious, we are commanded to pray and give thanks. Prayer is the antithesis of anxiety.
Second, Bible memorization helps God's Word come to mind when you need it most. For example, a few weeks ago, I was driving to Hope Explored and felt anxious about a few details in the church plant. I had that “anxious-broken-record” on repeat in my mind. Suddenly, I remembered Philippians 4:4-7 and realized that I was disobeying Scripture. I was anxious because I wasn't praying and giving thanks. After repeating the passage several times in my head, I began to pray. The anxiety disappeared and the second part of the Philippians passage proved to be true—I experienced the peace of God that surpasses all understanding and I knew that God was guarding my fickle heart and mind through Jesus Christ.
Third, Bible memorization helps us encourage others more effectively. After memorizing Philippians 4:4-7, I met with a friend who had recently lost his job. I was able to point him to this passage and the impact it had on me. I'm not sure this would have happened without Bible memorization. 
Finally, Bible memorization is an incredible way to think God's thoughts after him. That may sound strange at first but it's true. The great theologian, Herman Bavinck, says that the task of all theology is "to think God’s thoughts after him and to trace their unity. This is a task that must be done in the confidence that God has spoken, in humble submission to the church’s teaching tradition, and for communicating the gospel’s message to the world” (Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 1, pp. 25). The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. It is truthful in everything God intends to teach about himself, the world, and how we are to pursue relationships with God and others. Through Scripture memorization, you have immediate access to the wisdom, truth, artistic beauty, literary structure, and logical flow of God's Word which is sharper than any two-edged sword and profitable for teaching, reproof, and instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be equipped for every good work.
Would you like to add Bible memorization into your daily routine?
If so, here are some ideas that have been helpful to me.

First, consider memorizing large passages or entire books of the Bible. While memorizing isolated verses is certainly helpful and profitable, memorizing consecutive verses or chapters helps you enter into the logical flow of God’s Word. It also forces you to memorize passages of Scripture that may seem irrelevant at first but come to life in rich applications as you meditate on God's Word.
Second, consider using technology to aid your memorization efforts. Some of you are “Luddites" and suspicious of technology. That’s fine. People have memorized for thousands of years without iPhones! You can always write the passage out by hand, read it over a lot, and then get a friend or family member to quiz you. For me, I find technology helpful. Specifically, I highly recommend an app called “Bible Typer”, which gives you a great Bible memorization system. You upload the passage in whatever translation you want and then memorize it. The app then enters your passage into its smart review system where, every time you correctly recite the text, it automatically lengthens the period of time until the next review. Eventually, you will review every passage you've memorized at least once a year.

For more reflection, here's a helpful video on memorization from John Piper.