By Mark Walz
When I was in college, I heard a man speak about the importance of memorizing scripture. He had a small pouch with over one hundred verses written on small scraps of paper he had memorized over the years. As he began his talk, he quoted verse after verse. An each time he quoted a new one, his face seemed to grow in radiance and joy; and so did the faces of the people listening. It was one of the first times I experienced the joy of the Word of God when it is written not just on a piece of paper in a book but written on a heart. I was moved. Shortly thereafter, I made a commitment to memorize ninety verses in ninety days. It was a small version of what this man had done, but I still have those verses I memorized in my head and heart and they have served me in countless ways ever since.
There are verses, of course, that point to the importance of putting God’s Word to memory. Early in the life of God’s people, they were asked to write them down on their door posts and keep their own scrap of paper on their foreheads. They took it literally when God said through Moses, “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:8). Over time, they became known other nations as ‘the people of the Word.’
However, God wants something even greater for his people. He wants not just for us to have verses hung up on our walls or them even on w wrist band across our arm. He wants them on our hearts. As God said in Jeremiah, “Behold the days are coming when I will make a new covenant… I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:31,33b).
What would that be like for us? For people to know us in part by our passion and commitment to God’s Word? Could we, like that man at my college and like the saints of old take seriously the memorizing of scripture? We would we not be known like them? Would we not find joy like them? And instead of just reading Scripture, could we put it to memory, all the while asking the Holy Spirit to imprint it upon our hearts?
As we begin this season of Lent, I am calling the whole body of St Patrick’s into scripture memory. For the remainder of this year beginning in Lent, I am calling all who are able to memorize 44 different passages of scripture. Would you pray about your own commitment to memorizing God’s Word? And I will pray that God bring you joy from His Word and His presence more and more!