An Introduction to Christian Meditation and Memorization
We have spent the last nine posts looking at various aspects of Christian Meditation. Now it’s time to spend some time exploring the discipline of Scriptural Memorization.
Why Is Scriptural Memorization Important?
As I indicated in The Chicken and the Egg? post, the English word ‘memorize’ is not utilized by most modern translators. However, the concept is clearly established that we are to keep God’s Word on our lips and in our hearts. “Yes, keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed” ~ Joshua 1:8. “I treasure your word in my heart, so that I won’t sin against you” ~ Psalm 119:11. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living; thus anyone who belongs to God may be fully equipped for every good work” ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
We live in a world where most of us – certainly those who are reading this – have almost unlimited access to the Word of God. I have a Bible app on my smartphone and tablet. I have an extensive library on my laptop. I have numerous sources to hear Christian music, most of which is scripturally based. BUT, that has not always been the norm. Before the 1500’s, the Bible was not readily available to the masses. I’m reminded of stories from prisoners of war during my lifetime that they only had those portions of the Bible that they had been able to previously memorize to comfort them. That’s one of the prime reasons I believe it is important for us to make scriptural memorization a key part of our discipline as talmidim of Yeshua. Let me expound on that thought:
We Are Commanded to Memorize Scripture
- “These words, which I am ordering you today, are to be on your heart; and you are to teach them carefully to your children. You are to talk about them when you sit at home, when you are traveling on the road, when you lie down and when you get up” ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
- “How blessed are those who reject the advice of the wicked, don’t stand on the way of sinners or sit where scoffers sit! Their delight is in Adonai’s Torah; on his Torah they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams — they bear their fruit in season, their leaves never wither, everything they do succeeds” ~ Psalm 1:1-3.
- “I treasure your word in my heart, so that I won’t sin against you” ~ Psalm 119:11.
- “My son, if you will receive my words and store my commands inside you, paying attention to wisdom inclining your mind toward understanding — yes, if you will call for insight and raise your voice for discernment, if you seek it as you would silver and search for it as for hidden treasure — then you will understand the fear of Adonai and find knowledge of God. For Adonai gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding” ~ Proverbs 2:1-6.
- “My son, keep my words, store up my commands with you. Obey my commands, and live; guard my teaching like the pupil of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart” ~ Proverbs 7:1-3.
- “If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you. This is how my Father is glorified — in your bearing much fruit; this is how you will prove to be my talmidim” ~ John 15:7-8.
- “Let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you, as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude to God in your hearts” ~ Colossians 3:16.
- “Don’t deceive yourselves by only hearing what the Word says, but do it! For whoever hears the Word but doesn’t do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, who looks at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But if a person looks closely into the perfect Torah, which gives freedom, and continues, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work it requires, then he will be blessed in what he does” ~ James 1:22-25.
We Need to Put on the Full Armor of God
Rabbi Sha’ul wrote to the church in Ephesus to put on the full armor of God to be able to stand against the schemes of the Adversary. (See Ephesians 6:10-20.) In verse 17, he states that we are to “take … the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of God.”
In his “Devotions from the Every Day with Jesus Daily Bible,” Selwyn Hughes writes:
“In Matthew 4:4 and 4:7, we see a perfect illustration of how Jesus used the sword of the Spirit when rebutting the temptations of the Devil when He begins His response, “It is written …” and “It is also written …” Notice how, prior to the temptation, Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:13-17). Next we are informed that Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil” (Matthew 4:1).
During the temptation, our Lord, filled with the Spirit, resisted every one of the Devil’s statements by using the precise words of Scripture. Follow me closely, for this is extremely important: Christ did not merely utter a newly formed statement or something that came to Him on the spur of the moment, but quoted a text which had already been given by God and written down. The weapon used by our Lord was the Word of God, the Scriptures.
Can you see the point I am making? Satan is not rebuffed by clever phrases that are made up on the spur of the moment and sound theologically sophisticated and refined. He is defeated only when we quote to him the precise words of Scripture. If this was the strategy Jesus had to use, then how much more you and I.
Nothing defeats Satan more thoroughly and effectively than the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Emphasis added.)
In my next post, we will transition into exploring the concept of and techniques for memorizing actual verses and passages.