Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Note - October 19

I once sat in a class with Dr. Robert Smith Jr., an incredible preacher and professor of preaching at Beeson Divinity School. At the beginning of the class, Dr. Smith rattled off a number of different definitions of preaching, as given by various authors and preachers throughout history. He quoted these definitions at length, from memory. Then, as he continued to teach and converse, he consistently quoted various Scriptures from memory. All of us were awed by his memorization and recall. Someone eventually asked if he had a photographic memory, and I’ll never forget his response. He said; “No. I have a work-ographic memory.” His great memory was the product of effort. He had spent years committing Scripture and biblical truths to memory. Is that kind of memorization worth it? I believe it is. Consider what Scripture itself says about memorization. Deuteronomy 11:18 calls us to “lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul.” In Psalm 119:11, David says; “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Or Psalm 37:31; “The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.” Of course, Jesus Himself quotes Scripture from memory as He resists Satan, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3; “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God…” One thing that strikes me about these texts is that memorization is not seen as beneficial simply and only for head knowledge. Memorizing and internalizing the Word of God is tied to sanctification. Having God’s Word within us is a tool for resisting sin and walking in holiness. This is why ministries like Awana emphasize Scripture memorization – it is good for our souls. Of course, we need to know what the passages that we memorize actually mean. So I would encourage us not only to memorize Scripture, but also to think about what it actually means in context. And I would encourage parents to discuss the meaning of Awana memorization verses with their children. But maybe that’s a matter for another note. Here, I simply want us to see that there is great value in memorizing and internalizing Scripture! As Dr. Roberth Smith Jr. noted, it takes work. But the effort is worth it, inasmuch as our souls are sanctified by God’s Word.

Share this post