Why should you memorize scripture? We have ample access to bibles and with the internet we can always “google” it and find the scripture. So why memorize scripture?
My boys have inherited from me the skill of memorizing movie lines. Perhaps it comes from the fact that they watch the same movies over and over. All it takes is one word that references their favorite movie or favorite saying and you will receive not only a complete play by play of the scene and movie but also numerous variations of the saying for hours. My boys also have inherited from their mother a love for music. Again, all it takes is one word or even just one hummed note and singing will erupt and continue for a week. Sometimes songs burst out of nowhere and dinner spontaneously because a Yoda impersonation contest. These movie quotes remind them of the story and the songs change their mood instantly. By memorizing the movie quotes and songs have become part of who they are.
Recently in worship while saying the Apostles Creed together the screen froze. Yet, I was able to continue leading the creed and the congregation was able to follow along. Having said the creed multiple weeks in a row either reminded those who memorized it or made it familiar enough that with a little guidance we were able to recite it. The creed is become part of who we are.
When we memorize scripture we internalize scripture that makes it more than something to study, to understand, or analyze. It becomes part of us, living with us. What God speaks to us through the scripture grows and develops as we do. For me, the 23rd Psalm, the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40), Romans 8:39 are scripture that I learned for different reasons but continue to be revealed as they lived with me.
Tips for how to memorize scripture:
1) Start small. One verse or one saying such as “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” from Joshua or “I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith” from 2 Timothy 4:7 or “For God so loved the world that we gave his one and only son so that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 3:16
2) Choose something that has meaning to you. The scriptures I have lifted up already are a place to start but you should find scripture and stories that are already meaningful to you. The point of memorizing is more than just knowing but to be a point that helps the story to continue to live in you.
3) Recite the verse to yourself again and again. Write in on pieces of paper. In prayer, pray the verse out loud. Find a friend that you can share the verse with.
May scripture be more than a book but part of who you are this Lent.