Some friends and I were visiting a sick woman. She pulled out her Bible and said, “I’ve been trying to read this but don’t know where to start. Can you mark some verses for me? So, I know where to begin.”
One of my friends answered, “I can’t, but Nancy can.”
Talk about being put on the spot! I could have easily provided the woman that information from my home surrounded by my copious resource materials. But standing there in the hospital room, I felt naked. I had only recently begun memorizing scriptures and was grossly unprepared.
I could have been angry with my friend for throwing me under the bus. But I wasn’t. I was angry with myself. My friend showed utter confidence in me. As a women’s ministry and small group leader, she expected that I would know these things. And it was right for her to have that expectation. A teacher of the Word should be able to stand in a hospital room and answer simple questions about our faith.
Out of Season
It’s easy to answer questions about Christianity when you can google the answer or look it up in a commentary. What about the times like the one I described where you don’t have access to those helpful tools? As Paul encourages us in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” Scripture memorization boosts my ability to be ready even when I’m not prepared, when I am “out of season.”
“…the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (John 14:26b) The Holy Spirit is our teacher. When we read the Bible, we understand because the Holy Spirit guides us. However, it’s the “remind you of everything” part I want to focus on. Those times when we are out of season, the Holy Spirit does remind us of what we have learned. He draws on sermons we’ve heard, concepts we have read, and many other sources. Before I began scripture memorization, the HS would bring things to mind, but, due to my lack of knowledge, they were vague and incomplete. I’d find myself saying, “There’s a verse about this but I’m not sure exactly how it goes,” or, “I know it’s in the Bible; I’m not sure where.”
Now, the HS reminds me of whole verses and passages I’ve memorized. I can speak God’s word with more confidence. By memorizing scripture, I’ve given the HS a larger reserve of material from which to draw.
It Doesn’t Matter What I Think
I’ve noticed a growing trend in Christian blogs and speakers. Much of their writings or speeches contain a lot of, “I believe, I think,” but very little, “God says.” Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. When I am writing or counseling someone, it doesn’t matter what I think; It matters what God thinks. I never want to lead someone astray because of my words. When I counsel or teach, I need to be sure I am directing people to Christ. Memorizing scripture helps me to accomplish that goal.
Memorizing scripture has improved my faith life in multiple ways. Perhaps the most important benefit has been my ability to be instant in season and out. “But Micaiah replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say.”
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