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You’ve heard the pitch for Scripture memory a thousand times. You’re persuaded the benefits would be incalculable, and that there may be no better use of your time than to hide God’s word in your heart and store it away for future use. But you’ve tried your hand at it again and again, and just never got the magic working.

Perhaps it brought back some sentiment you couldn’t shake from rote memorization in grade school, or eventually you threw up your hands and blamed it on a bad memory. You knew it would be wonderful to have a store of Scripture treasured up, or an arsenal of weapons stockpiled for the Spirit’s use. But if it was all oriented on saving up for some uncertain future time, and had little to do with today, you likely didn’t feel much urgency about it.

But maybe the breakthrough could come with some simple change in perspective. What if Scripture memory really was about today? At least for a minute, forget decades from now; throw aside the litany of daily reviews of previously memorized texts; abandon the mentality of building the store and stocking the pile, at least as the driving motivation. Instead, focus on the present. Scripture memory, at its best, is about feeding your soul today and mapping your life and mind onto the very life and mind of God.

Mold Your Mind for Today

It’s all well and good to store up bright treasures and sharp weapons for future use, but if you’re cut from the cloth I am, you find it all too easy to put it off when every today seems to already have enough trouble of its own (Matthew [6:34]). Maybe the discovery you’ve needed to finally make some tracks is simply applying this line from the Lord’s Prayer to Bible memorization: Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew [6:11]).

When we learn the Scriptures by heart, we’re not just memorizing ancient, enduringly relevant texts, but we’re listening to and learning the voice of our Creator and Redeemer himself. When we memorize lines from the Bible, we are shaping our minds in the moment to mimic the structure and mindset of the mind of God.

Good theology forms our minds in a general way to think God’s thoughts after him. But memorized Scripture molds our minds, with as much specificity as is humanly possible, to mimic the folds and creases in the mind of God. Theology gets us to the ballpark; memorized Scripture, into the clubhouse.

And so Bible memory not only prepares us for the someday-maybes when we use a memorized verse in counseling or witnessing or fighting sin, but it contributes powerfully in the present to making us the kind of person who walks in the Spirit today. It contributes right now to your being “renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Ephesians [4:23]), and being “transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Not only is it then accessible to us for future decision-making and temptation-battling in varying contexts, but the very act of memorizing Scripture, as we understand and engage with the meaning of the text, changes our minds in the present to make us the kind of people who “discern what is the will of God.”

Memorizing God’s words today, then, is not just a deposit into an account for tomorrow, but assets working for us right now.

Written by David Mathis
Read more at Desiring God

3 thoughts on “Memorize the Mind of God”
  1. Absolutely my friend. If you were to ask me to repeat for you a list of Scripture that I had memorized at some time in the past, I think it would be a pretty short list. Yet, I can’t begin to count the number of times that when faced with a particular, specific problem in my life, a certain Scripture, or even a paragraph of Scripture has not suddenly presented itself to my mind, sometimes word-for-word from the NIV (my favorite Study Bible), and sometimes no more than a feeling of a particular passage that just feels like a passage that I should be reading at that time. and even at other times, as simply as what seems like a totally unrelated encounter with a particular passage of Scripture, eg. it just happens to be the next verse or two in my daily readings, or it happens to be that day’s passage on my devotional calender, etc. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that owing to the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, a Christian’s Scripture memorization may not even seem like memorization at the time, and the harder we try to make that memorization conform to the world’s pattern of such a practice, the less we might perceive ourselves as achieving. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot more that when it comes to memorization, I should simply rely on that old adage, “Let go, and let God.” For myself at least, it is this that tends to work the best. Thanks for a great article.

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