Taking Scripture to Heart


Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

The one spiritual discipline that has had as much, if not more impact on my own spiritual journey than any other is the discipline of Scripture memorization. About 15 years ago a young friend invited me to join him in memorizing not just some verses of Scripture, but a whole book in Scripture, specifically the book of Revelation! I was in my mid-fifties at the time and discovered that the suggestion that one can be too old to memorize major portions of God’s precious Word is profoundly flawed!

Here are some insights I have learned thus far:

1. Don’t fly solo! Prayerfully seek out a companion with whom you share a common love, trust and love for the Word of God. I can’t stress this one enough.

2. Choose a translation of Scripture with which you are most comfortable. Some are harder for folks to memorize than others.

3. Decide on an appropriate length of passage each week. Take your season of life into consideration. A mom with preschoolers at home is not likely to be as free as a retiree to work on more than one or two verses a week. If you have never memorized extended passages before, don’t begin with a whole book. Choose a chapter or a section. Three I would suggest are Romans 8 (whole chapter), 1 Corinthians 13 or Philippians 2:1-11.

4. As much as possible, in some way meet with your memory companion every week. It needs to be a priority like any other regular commitment.

5. Review every day. This is a discipline and like any other kind—athletic, musical, artistic—it calls for some hard work; however, don’t become legalistic to the point of considering missing a day or three a mortal sin!

Memorized Scripture works its way into our thought processes and even our vocabulary. I have been amazed at how often and effectively the Holy Spirit brings to mind at just the right time Scripture that I have memorized. It can truly change your life!