The older I get, the more forgetful I seem to become. One day last fall I stood at the pharmacy counter and went completely blank when the pharmacist asked for my phone number to confirm my prescription. I’ve also learned I must consciously repeat a new acquaintance’s name several times to ensure that I will remember it the next time I see them (and even that is no guarantee). And let’s not talk about the grocery list I regularly manage to leave on the kitchen counter. I’ve learned that my memory is not as reliable as I’d like it to be, and the struggle isn’t limited to people’s names, phone numbers, or grocery lists.
Have you ever had days when you finished your Bible reading but later can’t remember what you studied? Or maybe you enjoyed an encouraging time of prayer and meditation on Scripture when you woke up this morning but the cares of work and family and life have pushed that sweet time of intimacy with Christ to the periphery of your mind. It’s easy to get so caught up in daily living that you forget to remain in communion with Christ. You forget that you’re supposed to be praying without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17), taking your thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5), and seeking wisdom from the Lord (James 1:5–8). You get busy with work or grocery shopping or driving kids to various activities, and you just forget about the commands and encouragements from Scripture you read in the morning. It slips your mind that you should pray for wisdom before walking into that meeting. You forget to weave that verse you studied this morning into your conversation with your lost neighbor like you planned to earlier when your mind wasn’t so saturated with to-do lists. You’re not alone in this!
Scripture Helps Us Remember
God knew that we would be a forgetful people, so He gave us His Word to help us remember what is true. When He gave His law to the people of Israel, He commanded them:
You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut. 11:18–19 ESV)
This is a command to remember God’s Word throughout the entire day! While we are not living under the old covenant as Israel did, the principle of keeping God’s Word ever before us is applicable and helpful. Paul tells us that all Scripture is breathed out by God and useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). God’s Word aids us in living as God’s people, so keeping it before our eyes at all times will keep us connected to Christ and help us discern what is true in this life.
As forgetful as we might be, hiding God’s Word in our hearts through Scripture memory is a valuable tool for remaining tethered to Christ and His kingdom throughout our busy days. You might think that having a poor memory would prevent you from this very practice, but I’ve learned that Scripture memorization can keep my forgetful mind on Jesus long after I’ve closed my Bible. God has supplied us with everything we need for life and godliness, and He gave us minds that can store up the treasures of His Word.
The Point of Memorization
The Bible contains many exhortations to memorize Scripture. We’re called to meditate on it day and night (Psalm 1:2), to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16), and to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Col. 3:10). We even have an entire psalm—Psalm 119—dedicated to the celebration of God’s Word and its usefulness in our daily living and thinking! We will never outgrow our need for Scripture, and memorization helps us work God’s Word down deep into our hearts. While you may never stand and recite a passage before your church, recitation isn’t the point of memorization. Remembering is. The process of repeating and rehearsing Scripture throughout the day keeps God’s good, true, applicable words before our eyes so we don’t forget who He is, how He has sent Christ to pay for our sins at the cross, and how we are to live as loved, redeemed children of God. Scripture memorization helps us remember what’s true, tethering our thoughts to God and His Word.
Redeem Your Day to Remember God’s Word
It might seem daunting to find time to memorize Scripture when your calendar is already full, so look for ways to make the best use of the time you already have.
- Rather than closing your Bible when you’re done reading it for the day, consider leaving it open to your desired passage, placing it on the kitchen counter or the dining room table. Every time you walk past it, take a moment to read a section aloud. Start with the first phrase and recite it ten times. In a few days, move on to the next phrase, reciting aloud what you’ve learned so far.
- If you commute to work each morning, take advantage of audio Bible apps and listen to a passage on repeat, reciting aloud with the narrator.
- Stick index cards in your purse that you can whip out while standing in line or sitting in the doctor’s office.
- Use the time when you would ordinarily scroll social media to meditate on God’s Word. As you work on remembering God’s Word, think deeply about it—this is the meditation part. Rather than emptying our minds, we want to fill them to the very brim with Scripture!
Not only will you find that memorization is more doable than you imagined, you’ll also grow in affection for the Lord and find your thoughts moving toward Him over and over again throughout your day. His words will come out in your speech, encouraging fellow believers, and more readily sharing Christ with the lost. You’ll stop to consider the Lord when your mind is regularly feasting upon the sweet words of Scripture. You’ll become a doer of the word instead of just a hearer (James 1:22–25).
You might be just as forgetful as I am about phone numbers and grocery lists, but God has given you a mind that He designed for remembering Scripture. The more you hide His Word in your heart, the more you will think like Him, speak like Him, respond like Him, love like Him. Keeping the living and active Word of God ever before your eyes will tether your heart to His.