Wrong Reasons to Memorize

stop sign
I should memorize Scripture, I know I should, I really should.
My pastor said I should.
Some of my friends memorize the Bible.
I would be better equipped to counsel someone else.
It might help me in witnessing.
I need more discipline.
I might look and feel more holy.
God might bring an end to this trial I’m stuck in.

Guilt, peer pressure, convincing yourself that someone else will benefit, trying to bargain with God, trying to impress or appease others—all wrong reasons to memorize.

Since memorizing the Bible is not one of the commandments, you’re off the hook, you’re free, you’re under no obligation. No guilt, no ball-and-chain, no albatross. JUST FORGET IT.

Searching for a good reason to memorize?
Do it for you.

Do it because:
• Your soul’s thirst for God remains unquenched after thirty minutes of Bible reading.
• Your heart’s desire to love God cannot be gutted out, mustered up, or forced into place.
• Your mind, dulled by the dross of the world, seeks a higher plane to meditate on.
• You feel the pull of God wooing you, drawing you to unexplored territory in your relationship with him.

Memorizing God’s Word will not make God love you more—it will make you love Him more.

Loving God with all your mind and heart will fill a void that nothing else can fill. And then, a satisfied, replenished soul will naturally overflow with:

• Spiritual discipline
• A joyful, contented heart
• Edifying words for others

These are the by-products of memorizing God’s Word—not the motivation.

Jeremiah says to the Lord,
“When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16)

Does Jeremiah know something we don’t?
Memorize God’s Word for you. Do it for the joy. Do it for your heart’s delight.

I’d love to hear from the community. What are some wrong reasons to memorize God’s Word? And what is your reason for memorizing?

10 comments to Wrong Reasons to Memorize

  • Amy Calvetti

    Such a true and perfect reminder to everyone. I did not become a Christian until I was 27, and I did not start memorizing God’s word until I was 43. Shoulda, coulda, woulda memorized God’s word all those years, but I am now. God has blessed me more than I could have imagined. By memorizing his word it has truly convinced, and erased all doubt, about the power of God and his love for me.

  • Janet and community, I’ve only been at this for a couple of years but already I’ve found out that I can fall into doing it for the wrong reasons. I discover them by their “fruit.” If memorization is producing thoughts that I am somehow holier than other believers, or intlellectually superior to anyone, or preparing my mind to make better judgements of others, I need to repent. When I turn from that thought pattern to the one that is governed by the Holy Spirit, the Word admonishes me first, teaches me first, renews my faith first and melts my heart with a love and desire to know the lover of my soul first, and then He graciously allows me to share this with others. He also is so gracious to allow me to enjoy this practice. I know it does not cause Him to love me more, but He , through memorization, allows me to see more of how much He loves me.

  • Shirley Snoeyink

    If I have a glass of poisoned water, I could pour it out and have an empty glass or I could hold it under the faucet and let fresh water flow into the glass and wash the poisoned water out.
    I memorize God’s Word because it cleanses my mind, washing out wrong thoughts and attitudes and filling my mind with God’s thoughts and instructions. I have been memorizing for years and, as my memorizing husband says, ” Don’t stop memorizing unless you find 7 better things to do.” We never find anything better to do than memorize God’s Word.

  • JaneMB Scott

    Thanks for the post, Janet and each of the comments so far – all have spoken to me and been a blessing/challenge. A real joy I have had these last couple of days is going over Ephesians 1. This was the first thing I memorized many years ago and I thought I had pretty much forgotten it but God took me back there yesterday and what blessing!! Rich feeding indeed.

  • Shelly Larson

    Thanks for starting this conversation, Janet–it’s so encouraging. I, too, memorize God’s Word because I have developed such a taste for it, that when I don’t memorize, even though I’m reading it daily, I experience a hunger for it that nothing else can satisfy. It has become “my joy and my heart’s delight.”

  • Catherine

    Memorized word becomes a guide. This morning I would have reacted to my husband over a situation. I have memorized Titus 1. God spoke to me on the last verse…..” they profess to know God but deny Him with their works…..” I prayed and desired that the profession of God, His word and my works may be congruent and in harmony. God’s grace to handle the situation was all upon me. My approach, response and attitude over the situation changed. Why? His word in my heart- that was the beginning point. And just to confess to you I had not read the Word of God this morning, but I was building myself up with the word in my heart.
    Wrong reason to memorize is to prove one’s spiritual strength.

  • Mark Zinke

    I guess I haven’t thought about why. I mean, it works for me; reminding myself over and over again what God has said about me and about him. I like doing it, saying the bible to myself. Its how I talk with God. The benefits? I guess they’re all benefits. Since I first started saying the bible and experienced that “living and active” words. Then being drawn to more bible, learning and saying more bible more of the day. The bible does that; makes me want more. Now its there, its here, its inside me. My memorization schedule (thanks) keeps it all fresh even as I eagerly dig into Romans; and Romans, what a book, what a clear hopeful explanation of the way. Saying the bible shows me my bad thoughts and pushes me to leave them, to move ahead with God. I know I am with God as I say the bible – its alive. It does seem a bit funny when I realize that I am nearly always reciting some bible. Peace,

    • Hi Mark, To the world it seems totally strange and weird that people would memorize the Bible and say it out loud throughout the day. To those who know the joy of it, we can’t get enough because it feeds our souls and takes us into our Father’s throne room.