We are all at fault for not committing more Bible verses to memory. Myself included. I will readily admit that I have (numerous times) started a weekly memorization schedule that just ended up being pushed to the back of my mind. And I’m very annoyed at myself for doing this.
Scripture memorization is one of the biggest tools in fighting everyday sins. First off, it’s the ‘two-edged sword’ that is talked about in Hebrews 4:12:
“For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
And also, we have the greatest example of fighting temptations WITH Scripture in the Gospel according to Luke - by Jesus Himself.
When Jesus was in the wilderness, fasting for forty days and forty nights, satan came to Him and tempted Him. Only three of the temptations are recorded, but in verse 13, it states that, “When the devil had finished EVERY temptation, he left Him...” But with every temptation that satan hurled at Him, Jesus said nothing else than what? A verse.
“And the devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” (Luke 4:3-4)
“And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is written: You shall worship the LORD Your God and serve Him only.’ ” (Luke 4:5-8)
“And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You’ and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It is said: You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.’ ” (Luke 4:9-11)
Notice that for the third temptation, satan used none other than Jesus’ only weapon to ‘tempt’ Him. Kinda smart, yet kinda stupid at the same time. While trying to use the Son of God’s own strategy against Him, he is also digging himself a deeper hole because nobody can ‘beat’ Jesus, right? Nobody can outsmart God - as we so often try to do ourselves.
And finally, satan gave up. Verse 13 says, “When the devil had finished every temptation...”. The power of knowing Scripture and having it at the tip of your tongue is proven in that small phrase. Every temptation bounced off of the shield of faith. Faith in the Word of God, faith in God Himself. And I think this goes hand in hand with this verse in James 4:7-8a:
“Submit therefore to God. RESIST the devil and he will FLEE from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
And also Proverbs 30:5:
“Every word of God is tested; He is a SHIELD to those who take refuge in Him.”
We have the Word of God so that we can be ready for anything, any time, anywhere. They are His words to us.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
And lastly, Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Scripture is the living and breathing Word of God. And we must remember to treat it as such. We should carry our Bibles around with us as frequently as our phones. But what better way to have it as readily available as in your mind and on your tongue?
I’m sure, like me, you have more of your favorite song lyrics filed in your brain than your favorite Bible verses. If that’s not just me, than I certainly applaud you. I am very guilty of this. No, music isn’t more important to me than the Bible, but am I proving that by not having as many verses memorized as song lyrics? Now that’s a humbling thought...
One of the biggest helps I’ve had in memorizing Scripture (and sticking to it), is to have an accountability partner. One of my best friends and I pick three verses at the beginning of the week, and every day, we ask each other ‘Hey, have you worked on your verses?’ or ‘Hey, get off your phone and do your Bible memorization’. Gentle reminders like that, you know? Honestly, though, it’s been a big help to me, so I would suggest and encourage you to do the same. Find someone who will keep you on your toes about memorizing Scripture, and who would be just as excited as you are TO memorize Scripture.
Learning things takes practice. Memorization takes recitation. But what better thing to learn and memorize than the words God spoke to and for us?