Not One of the Commandments!


During the first few years that I memorized passages, my enthusiasm caused me to wonder why every Christian didn’t memorize books and passages. Maybe God left it optional. I investigated. I went to the Bible first. Was there a command to memorize Scripture? I couldn’t locate one. I couldn’t even find the word memorize. I searched even the Greek and the Hebrew and couldn’t find a word that meant to memorize. The Bible does NOT command us to memorize Scripture.

Do I hear a sigh of relief out there?

Having said that, these commands and exhortations are what we find:
• Know God’s Word
• Remember God’s Word
• Do not forget His commandments
• Have His Word ready on your lips
• Meditate on His Word day and night
• Let Christ’s Words dwell in you
• Store up God’s Word
• Keep God’s Word within your heart.
• Handle God’s Word correctly
• Hold out the Word of life to others

For me, memorizing passages provides a way to accomplish those objectives. God desires for us to know Him intimately and to follow Him correctly—that’s why He gave us His written Word. The Bible, God’s revelation of Himself, leaves nothing out that He wants us to know. Spending quality time in God’s Word leads us to a greater knowledge of God, and memorizing is one productive way to achieve that. The goal of memorizing should not be confused with the goal of knowing God and loving Him.

Consider these words of Moses: “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” (Deuteronomy 11:18). Moses exhorts us to make sure God’s words are written on our hearts and minds. We must impress them into the very core of our lives and make them as permanent as possible.

The reference to binding words to the hands and forehead symbolically refers to all of your actions (your hands) and all of your thoughts (your forehead). God’s Word must be central in all that we are, all that we do, and all that we think about. We must do whatever it takes to keep God’s Word foremost in our lives.

The daily practice of memorizing helps me keep God’s Word at the center of my life. Since memorizing is not commanded, why do YOU memorize? Tell us!

4 comments to Not One of the Commandments!

  • Cherie

    Thank you Janet for graciusly giving us a mini-Bible study. What a blessing! Memorizing is something I do to fill my mind when it is free. I’m a born worrywart. When my mind is free—I worry. I tried everything to stop, but for 47 years nothing worked, not even medication. I stumbled upon memorizing chapters and books four years ago, while teaching AWANA. Now, when I catch myself worrying, I instantly start reciting one of my chapters or books. Worry doesn’t stand a chance against God’s Word. I’m learning so much about God, and the plan He had in place from Gen 1:1. It is so worth turning off the TV and radio, and turning on the dedication and effort it takes to memorize scripture. 

  • Why do I memorize? To love God better.

  • Joe Davidson

    We can all do good things in wrong ways and commit sin in the best of endevors, however, I was raised in a beleiving home and hav spent all my life in some fellowship somewhere. There is something in me that greives for the lack of scripture that is typical of us who have so much of G-ds word. I wished I had been taught to commit long passages to memory as a child instead of a verse here or there. What Janet has done should be our norm. The more you memorize the more you want to memorize. There develops a hunger for it. I memorized Rom 6&8 years ago and wonder about redoing it in a less KJV version but wonder what kind of problems I might encounter. Has any one tried that on an old passage that you have down deep? Shalom

  • Susan Turner

    Yes!! To love God better and to know Him better!!
    “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.” John 17:3