Did Jesus Memorize Scripture?

Have you ever wondered if Jesus memorized Scripture? We know he frequently quoted Scripture, so did he know it intuitively because he was God, or, since he was human did he have to learn it as a child growing up? It’s an intriguing question but an unproductive debate because we don’t know. We are not told.

What we can ask is, why did Jesus quote Scripture?

• To counteract the lies and enticements of the devil

• To answer a question with truth

• To correct wrong thinking

• To explain why certain events did happen, are happening, and will happen.

• To show the relevance of God’s Word in a given circumstance

Jesus models for us how quoting Scripture brings understanding, comfort, and power into a situation. Here are some sample situations that might be appropriate for us to quote Scripture:

• When someone expresses their distress over all the terrible things going on in the world, you can remind them of Jesus’ words. “In this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

• I was asked recently if it was possible that Jesus forgave Judas. I told my sincere friend that our only authority is God’s Word, and then shared with her the words of Jesus, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” John 17:12. The answer is No, Judas was not forgiven.

• When the enemy of our soul whispers in our ear “your prayers won’t change anything” we can answer with confidence, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

• When sharing the plan of salvation, quoting Scripture clarifies issues like grace vs. works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves—it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

• Advice for a friend who is in a contentious marriage. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

One caveat—Jesus always spoke with perfect insight and timing. We have neither. There have been times that I’ve spoken up only to regret it later. And conversely, there’ve been times I kept silent and wished I’d spoken up. We need the wisdom and discernment to know when the Holy Spirit is prompting us to speak God’s Word. Timing is crucial.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone” Colossians 4:6.

Memorizing Scripture prepares us for opportunities to speak truth into a situation.

6 comments to Did Jesus Memorize Scripture?

  • Rosie

    What a question. Very relevant and tremendous in site. I’m keeping this to refer to often. Thanks, Janet!

  • Susan Jakelsky

    Janet, I really needed to hear this today. Words cannot express how much I look forward to your words of encouragment from this website. This is why I keep memorizing God’s Word, the more I memorize, the more I want to memorize. Thank You so much, Susan

  • Ethan

    Great question – great explanation. On the flip side, think about how satan, false teachers, and immature believers will misquote Scripture. Some with evil intent, others with a pure heart. Both are wrong. Let’s exhort one another to handle “accurately the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 (NASB) I am thankful to be a part of this on-line community.

  • Chérie

    Thanks Janet. Great insight and advice.
    So I have wondered this very thing. I know that Jewish boys went to BET SEFER, —Rabbi school, to memorize the TALMUD, the first five books of the Bible.
    I tell people who ask me about memorizing to “throw your brain a bone” by memorizing out of the version you’ve read and studied the most, and this got me thinking about today’s post. 
    With only a few exceptions, I memorize out of the NIV84, the version I’ve read and studied for 30 years. I have noticed ga-jillions of times that so many of the verses are familiar to me, and it makes the memorization that much easier. 
    Jesus is the Word. So I’ve wondered how that played out when He was in human form. Did He go to Bet Sefer with the other little boys? If so, did memorization come very easy to Him because His spirit knew all of it already? 
    I’m not educated enough to know, but just something I’ve thought about. 🙂 
    The world needs the Word. 

  • Very inspiring! Thank you. I wonder what methods Jesus used to memorize Scripture. Well, I guess since His own Spirit inspired the whole book he did have an advantage. 🙂
    For the rest of us I recommend to use your smart phone for support. It can help you to keep your memory verses with you and study them while you’re waiting for the bus or for the dentist. The Bible memory app Remember Me features quizzes, audio, flash cards, an intelligent review system and some more features to make memorizing God’s Word even more rewarding. See http://www.remem.me for more information.