This Sunday will mark a significant milestone for me. With my recitation of Titus 3:1-15 I will have finally completed memorizing Paul’s pastoral epistles! It has taken me over two years to get the task done, but I have managed, by God’s grace, to stick with it. Perhaps more significantly I have kept up my review of all thirteen chapters so as to retain them.
It is difficult to express just how valuable this spiritual discipline is to one’s walk with God. As a result I feel more armed with the precious promises of God’s word for my spiritual life. I feel more equipped to fight temptation in my walk. I enjoy increased knowledge of God by seeing things I have never seen before. I find wisdom from these pages particularly for me as a pastor of a local church. I experience conviction of sin in different ways. I enjoy more of the Spirit in my life by letting this word of Christ dwell richly within me. And these reasons don’t begin to tell the manifold benefits of memorizing especially extended portions of Scripture.
Dr. Andrew Davis has written an extremely helpful booklet for equipping believers for memorizing whole chapters and books of the Bible. Among other things, he makes this plea for committing to memory more than just isolated verses here and there:
Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Paul said “All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16) Memorizing individual verses tends to miss intervening verses that the individual does not feel are as significant. Furthermore, most of Scripture is written to make a case… there is a flow of argumentation that is missed if individual verses are memorized. Furthermore, there is also a greater likelihood of taking verses out of context by focusing on individual verses.
We have copies of this booklet available at our resource table on Sunday mornings or you may access the text online here. I commend it to you in hopes that 2010 may see you commit more Scripture to memory than at any time in the past.