If there is one thing preserved in the text of Scripture, it is the injunction to record God’s words upon the tablet of your heart.
One of the best things that happened to me as a new believer was being told that all Christians memorize Scripture. By the time I found out that not all of them do, I was already hooked. Now, as I look back, I can truthfully say that nothing compares with the excitement of memorizing Scripture. Charles Swindoll summed up my sentiments in this regard when he wrote:
I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. That’s right. No other single discipline is more useful and rewarding than this. No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your counseling will be in demand. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified. (Charles R. Swindoll, Seasons of Life [Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1983], 53, emphasis in original)
Despite such marvelous benefits, far too few Christians have made Scripture memorization a lifestyle. For the most part, it is not because they don’t want to, but because they have never been taught how to. While they may think they have bad memories, the reality is they simply have untrained memories.
I am convinced that anyone, regardless of age or acumen, can memorize Scripture. God has called us to write His Word upon the tablet of our hearts (Proverbs 7:1-3; cf. Deuteronomy 6:6), and with the call He has also provided the ability to do so. Your mind is like a muscle. If you exercise it, you will increase its capacity to remember and recall information. If you don’t, it will atrophy. Here are a few practical tips to get you started:
• Set goals. He who aims at nothing invariably hits it.
• Make goals attainable. If your goals are unrealistic, you will undoubtedly become discouraged and give up.
• Memorize with a family member or friend. One of my treasured experiences was swinging back and forth on a hammock, memorizing Proverbs 2 with one of my children. Memorizing with someone else is enjoyable and will also make you accountable.
• Use normally unproductive time to review what you have memorized, such as while waiting in lines, or falling asleep. Remember, there’s no time like the present to get started! A good place to begin is Psalm 119. In fact, committing verse 11 of that passage—”I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you”—to memory may well encourage you to make Scripture memorization part of your lifestyle.
While you’re at it, you may also wish to consider memorizing Joshua 1:8. These wonderful words remind us that memorization facilitates meditation: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” If you want the formula for genuine prosperity, there it is!