Monday, May 31, 2010

03 Why Memorize Scripture?

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For use in personal witnessing, one of the quickest and most effective ways to gain a working knowledge of the Bible is to commit Scripture verses to memory. Remember also that when we are witnessing for Christ, it is not our arguments which God has promised to bless, but His Word. Proof of this is found in John 3:34. It says, "For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God." This was spoken of Christ, but it applies to us when witnessing. If God sends us to a neighbor or to a friend to speak to that person about His Son, we should speak the words of God. How can we speak them, however, if we do not know them? By memorizing Scripture portions we will have something on our heart which we will want to share with someone else.

A friend of mine who went to India a few years ago tells of a conversation he had with some missionaries there. They told him in the course of their talk that they were unable to get the Christians of India, at least in their locality, to witness. This friend of mine said to them: "Have you ever tried getting them to memorize Scripture?"

"No," they answered, "we have not."

My friend then asked: "Would you try?"

This they agreed to do, and happy results followed. After a few weeks, when time was given in a meeting for testimonies, the young national believers got up and quoted one of the verses of Scripture which they had recently committed to memory. As the weeks went by, they not only stood up and repeated verses, but they also shared with those in the service the message God had given from those particular portions of Scripture. It was not long after that until these same Christians were witnessing to their friends and neighbors. Having the Scriptures on the tables of their hearts, they had something to say.

One reason so many Christians do not witness is that they are frustrated. They do not know what to say. But when we memorize Scripture we are able to say "Thus saith the Lord," and say it with confidence. David said in Psalm 119:42, "So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word." The Word of God through our lips will be like an arrow which will pierce the heart of a person for Christ.

Let me give a personal word at this point. For me, the memorizing of Scripture has paid greater dividends for the time spent than any other form of Scripture instruction. It may be difficult at first for some to memorize, but it can be done.


We must memorize Scripture so that we can have victory over Satan. This was clearly demonstrated by the Lord Jesus in the way He used Bible passages to meet the attacks of the enemy. We saw this in the preceding lesson. The record as found in Matthew is, "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:3,4). The Lord Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3.

Defeated at one point, Satan attacked at another. "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple" (Matt. 4:5). And in this case the enemy himself quoted Scripture, but there are at least two things wrong with what he did. In the first place, he misquoted. He left out the phrase from Psalm 91:11,12 (the part from which he quoted), and in so doing changed the meaning of the passage. In the second place, remember that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, and Satan has no part in the work of the Holy Spirit. It makes a difference who uses the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus in reply to the Devil, quoted Deuteronomy 6:16: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve," again quoting from the book of Deuteronomy.

By His example, our Saviour taught us that in order to meet the attacks of Satan, we must use Scripture.

In the little book called, "Beginning with Christ" there is a part to be read and studied, and in the back four verses of Scripture to be memorized. The first three of those verses are calculated to help you meet the three most common of the evil one on a young Christian.

The first attack is an attempt to get the believer to doubt his salvation. Victory comes in committing I John 5:11,12 to memory. The Spirit of God will recall this to your mind to give you confidence and assurance. The second attack of Satan is to bring temptation. If you have already memorized I Corinthians 10:13, that verse will be like a sword which the Holy Spirit can use in your heart to give you victory over sin. In the third place, in the event that Satan should trip us up there is I John 1:9 which says: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."


By carefully fulfilling the assignments which conclude each lesson you will soon have a number of such verses committed to memory. Furthermore, you will soon see demonstrated in your own life how these verses will be brought to your mind by the Holy Spirit to meet the attacks of Satan. The Psalmist said, "Thy Word have i hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee."

When I was a young Christian, I desired to have victory in my own life and prayed for victory, but somehow or other it did not come. Then a man by the name of Dawson Trotman, who founded the Navigators' work, got me started hiding the Word of God in the tables of my heart. As the months and the years passed, I saw that the Spirit of God used the Word to give me victory. Since that time, it has been my privilege to teach a large number of people in personal work and personal counseling (I have been in the Lord's work full-time for 15 years), and in all that time I have yet to meet a Christian who is living a consistent, victorious life who is not getting into the Word of God. Victory cannot be had without the Word.

The Word hidden in our hearts will not in itself give us victory, but we will make that Word available to the Holy Spirit. Then when our lives and the hidden Word are energized by prayer, we will find that we have increasing victory.


I know of nothing that will enable us to be always ready to give an answer to every man, more than committing Scripture verses to memory.

Read what Proverbs 22:20,21 says. "Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that though mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?" Persons who will want spiritual help or advice from us will want to be answered by the words of truth - the Bible. We will find that as we commit Scripture passages to memory, the Holy Spirit will call to our remembrance just the verse or verses needed.

A few years ago a business man came to see me. In telling me about himself, he said, "I tried this and it failed. I tried that and it did not succeed, then I tried something else and that didn't prosper."

After he had talked for a little while, the Spirit of God brought a verse of Scripture to my mind which I read to him.

He then asked me, "Where did you find that verse? I've been looking for twenty years for a verse like that."

Here is what I read to him. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Josh. 1:8). The Spirit of God will call such verses to our minds; we will not quote them indiscriminately but selectively.


1. Reread "Beginning With Christ."

2. Memorize I Corinthians 10:13. Review it until it becomes a part of you.

3. According to "Beginning With Christ" what are the three main attacks of Satan on a young Christian?

4. According to I Corinthians 10:13 of what four things may we always be sure when we are tempted?

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