Memorization: A famine of hearing God’s Word

I have recently begun memorizing the whole book of 1 Timothy in response to a challenge given by Phil Walker, who has been championing the memorization of Scripture for some years now. I have found it desirable to memorize Scripture before, but have never had the focus to memorize a whole book before. A challenge with a set pace (5 verses/week) is a great motivator to keep going, and a goal far beyond anything accomplished before is a great way to accomplish more than you thought possible before making progress.

Memorization is an extension of my previous challenge to write out portions of Scripture as the ancient Israelite kings were instructed to do. If I have a portion of Scripture memorized, no one can ever take it away from me (only time and my own inattention to maintaining it, perhaps).

As Amos 8:11 says, one day there will come a famine of hearing the words of God, so as Joseph did with the grain of Egypt, we must store them up in our hearts during this time of plenty. That way, when times become difficult, we will not run out of the bread of life when it is most needed.

Another reason to memorize Scripture is described in Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Understanding God’s Word helps us follow His laws and avoid sin: memorizing it helps us by allowing us to refer to it at any time. In the midst of a temptation, we do not always have direct access to a Bible. If we have encouragement or instruction memorized, we can remind ourselves at the critical time to do the right thing and not give up or give in to temptation.

So I pass along the same challenge given to me: memorize 1 Timothy at the rate of 5 verses per week. It takes dedication to accept a challenge like this, but surely it takes far more dedication to accept God’s calling to His way of life. Memorizing one short book is not too high a goal to set. At the rate of 5 verses per week, 1 Timothy should take less than six months to complete.


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