“Your word have I hidden in my heart,
that I may not sin against You.”
When I first started following Jesus, I was only 14. I was young and hungry. Jesus' words and ideas were so foreign to me. I longed to be near those words and ideas. I wanted them to be a part of me, to be deep down and to remake me. I wondered if it was possible to quote Him the way I used to quote movies.
But how? The answer came quickly. Memorize the words. Learn them, and put them into your heart forever. They were like fertilizer for the soil of my life. Take all that beauty and truth and hope and hold onto it. So I did. In those first 5 years of following Jesus, I must have memorized 50 verses of God’s truth. Some about doctrine. Some that just struck me as wonderful. Some that could answer questions of those I met walking around in the world.
So, I grew up. I kept reading. I kept learning. But I walked past that season of memorization. I started memorizing the ideas, not the words. I knew what certain parts of certain books said, but I couldn’t say them. It was weird. I still had that love for the truth, and I still drank deeply from it, but I didn’t hide it down in my heart anymore.
Recently, a friend encouraged me to read a book. The book was about this very idea of memorizing the Bible. I read it quickly and with derision. I felt this was something I had done and was over with. But the simple pamphlet reminded me of the strength that came from hiding the word down deep. The book invited me to put some more words down in there.
So, beginning last week, I have begun to memorize a passage that had a profound impact on my life. I am memorizing the Sermon on the Mount. With one verse a day, this will probably take me over 4 months to memorize fully. But only 6 days in, I am already seeing the joy of this. These are ideas I have based my life upon. And now I have more than just the frame, but the center as well.
The book is called “An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture” by Andrew M Davis. There is also a great topical memorization tool available from The Navigators. These are just tools to get the Word of God down deep in our hearts. I hope they are a help to you as much as they have been to me.