Memorizing the Bible is important (A-Z Blogging Challenge)

I definitely did not rise to the A-Z Blogging Challenge for April! There are reasons, but they are only big reasons to me, so I won't go into it.  I am still going to finish the challenge, even if it's late.  So . . . on to the letter M!

Memorizing scripture is something I did on occasion before I started college.  It was usually during VBS week in the summer or similar events.  Once in high school, I decided I wanted to memorize the book of Philippians, but only made it through the first chapter.

But in college, memorizing scripture was part of our classwork.  Almost every class had regular quizzes on the verses and passages that we were supposed to remember.  I must admit, I put more time into it early on than I did in my later semesters.  I can still quote some of the verses I memorized in my first few semesters.

The most significant passage of scripture I memorized in college was the Sermon on the Mount.  Three chapters.  One of the classes I took on the Life of Christ had the option of taking a normal final at the end of the semester or memorizing the Sermon on the Mount.  I'm not sure what made me decide that this was a good idea or that I could even do it.  I had memorized large sections before, but not nearly that large and not with as many different sections to keep in order as the Sermon on the Mount.

I dug in and started memorizing.  I memorized verse after verse, piling one on top of the next.  Once I was fairly certain I had each section memorized, I started rehearsing the order of the various topics Jesus touched on in the Sermon on the Mount.

Finals week came, and up to the last moment, I was still going over the chapters.  Finally, it was time to sit down and see what happened.  In the classroom, I sat next to other marathon memorizers as well as those taking the standard final, and I started writing.

It's been several years now since I sat in that room to write out the Sermon on the Mount, so I can't remember exactly how well I did, but I do remember I did a respectable job.  And for a few weeks after that, I could still quote a majority of it, but now, I could paraphrase bits and pieces, but I certainly wouldn't have them in the right order, and I would probably leave out large chunks.

So is memorizing the Bible important? And is it still worthwhile when you don't remember it over time?

I think that familiarity with the contents of the Bible is important.  Memorizing the Sermon on the Mount was an important achievement for me.  Not only do I know that memorizing large chunks is something I can do, but for a significant amount of time, I spoke the words out loud and in my mind, over and over and over.  The act of memorizing allowed me to hold it in my mind, thinking about it and dwelling on it.  And now, even if I don't remember it well, I know it a lot better than if I hadn't ever memorized it.

Devoting time to memorizing scripture is not about memorizing words in a particular order but putting the words in your mind.  Even if you don't always remember a passage for years after, the time spent memorizing is time spent dwelling on the words of God.  And that's never a bad thing.

Do you make an effort to memorize scripture?  What is the largest passage you've memorized?  How has memorizing scripture been useful to you?

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