Life is?? #251 Seven Immediate Benefits of Scripture Memory
Seven Immediate Benefits of Scripture Memory, Part 1
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart.
(Matthew 12:35 NLT)
A woman caught in the Pacific conflicts of World War II was imprisoned by the Japanese in China and placed in a concentration camp where copies of the Bible were forbidden, punishable by pain of death.
Somehow, however, she acquired a small copy of the Gospel of John, and every night she pulled her head beneath the covers and, using a small flashlight, began memorizing the book. As she memorized a page, she would tear it out, take it with her to the waterspout, dissolve it with soap, and flush it down the drain. In this way she later said, “John and I parted company.”
Just before the prisoners were released, a reporter for Time Magazine entered the camp to interview some of the detainees. Later this reporter was standing at the gates as the prisoners came out. Most of them shuffled along, eyes downcast, looking like zombies. This little lady, however, was beaming and bright as a button.
“I wonder if they managed to brainwash her?” someone asked.
“No,” said the reporter. “God washed her brain.”
The reporter was simply observing what Jesus had said just before He was seized by the Roman soldiers who crucified Him. In His great, final high-priestly prayer in John 17, He prayed for His disciples, saying, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth” (v. 17 NKJV). The word sanctify means “make them Your holy, happy people, a people consecrated wholly to You, Your representatives in this world.”
It’s the Word—the Truth—that accomplishes this as we hear it, learn it, believe it, and heed it.
Scripture memory gives us clearer thoughts. Internalized Scripture keeps our minds in good working order.
John Ruskin, the brilliant British social critic whose views about art and architecture were influential during the Victorian and Edwardian periods of English history, testifies to this. Ruskin was an author, poet, and creative thinker; and today Ruskin College in Oxford is named for him. Leo Tolstoy described him as “one of those rare men who think with their heart.”
When he was young, Ruskin’s mother insisted that he memorize seventeen different chapters of the Bible, word perfect, six of them from the Old Testament. She also assigned an additional eight psalms.
When he was fifty-five, Ruskin said that memorizing these chapters had “established my soul in life.” He said that though afterward he learned many things from many teachers, the “installation” of the Bible into his brain became “the most precious and on the whole the one essential part of all my education. For the chapters became indeed strictly conclusive and productive to me in all modes of thought.”
All truth is God’s truth, but Scripture is His revealed truth and provides the intellectual foundation for all the rest. It provides the historical, philosophical, theological, and psychological scaffolding within which all other facts become cohesive. It reveals the wisdom of God regarding everything from daily life to eternal life. Without the engraving of Scripture in our minds, we’re left with a brain filled with the rantings and ravings of a confused intellect.
At the beginning of His ministry, when Jesus faced satanic temptation in the wilderness, He quoted verses He’d learned from the Old Testament. Throughout His ministry Jesus recited extensively from the Hebrew Scriptures. And in the last, stress-filled, anguished, painful moments of His life, Jesus again quoted Old Testament Scriptures He’d previously memorized, such as:
“Into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46 NKJV) and “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46 KJV). These are direct quotes from Psalm 31 and Psalm 22. Our Lord was quoting memorized Scripture on the cross, taking the Old Testament prayers of the psalmist David and making them His own.
If memorized Bible verses enabled Jesus to think clearly during six torturous hours on the cross, think of how they can help us through the stress and strain of each day. When we recall Scriptures, they become like sanitizers of the brain, washing our minds in a bath of praise.
Scripture memory gives us steadier nerves. Specific Bible verses stored away in our minds serve as the shock absorbers of life, giving us steadier nerves and calmer spirits.
As I’m preparing this chapter, I’m grappling with a deep disappointment in my own life, one I had not expected to face. It’s threatened to preoccupy my thoughts, rob my joy, and disrupt my peace. But the Lord has given me a verse to memorize, and I have it posted on the dashboard of my car.
Since I’m in and out of my car several times a day, I’m reviewing it constantly; and I’ve even created a little song that helps me remember it.
This verse, now so precious to me, is Ephesians 1:11: “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (NIV).
It seems to me that this verse is a duplication of Romans 8:28 NKJV (“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God”), only from an “above” perspective.
Romans 8:28 is from a below perspective, telling us that here on earth all things work for our good. Ephesians 1:11 is from God’s perspective, telling us that all things work together in conformity with the purpose of His will in order that we might be for the praise of His glory
I don’t think I’ll ever forget this week with its unexpected heartache and my wonderful discovery of Ephesians 1:11, which I’m committing to memory.
Some time ago I read the story of Dwayne and Bonnie Wheat, whose lives changed forever on February 22, 1991, when a police officer awoke them in the early hours with the tragic news that their daughter, Charla, had been murdered.
Bonnie later testified that it was the power of memorized Scripture that kept her from going insane during the days that followed. “In those days I could not read the Bible and focus on it long enough for it to make sense,” she said, “but it was God’s Word that was already in my heart that ministered to me. I am so thankful for that. It was things like, ‘Be still and know that I am God,’ and ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee....’ God used those Scriptures to show me that we just had to be still and let God be God.”
If you want steadier nerves, learn the power of inscribing on your heart those Bible verses God gives you in moments of need.
“The Scriptures were written to teach and encourage us by giving us hope. God is the one who makes us patient and cheerful” (Rom. 15:4-5 CEV).
100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.