“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
Jesus had a vast knowledge of His Father’s Word, and this is another reason why we as Christians should make an effort to memorize Scripture. In the second chapter of his Gospel, Luke records an incredible time early in Jesus’ life when the young boy lingered in Jerusalem after celebrating the Passover feast. When His mother Mary came back for Him, Jesus was seated in the temple among the teachers, both asking and answering questions. Verse 47 says that the people were “astonished” at His answers. How could Jesus have reached this point of Spiritual maturity without an understanding of the Scriptures? During the time that Jesus grew up in, Scripture memorization was a key part in the education of every Jewish child. Though metaphorically instructed in the Old Testament, the Jews would literally bind verses from the Hebrew Scriptures around themselves as a reminder of Whose they were. In addition, they would quote a short statement of faith in the morning and at night. Many of the children memorized the Torah and the Hebrew Scriptures in their entirety. This foundation in His upbringing paved the way for Jesus’ knowledge of the Bible. By reading the New Testament, we see that Jesus quoted from 24 of the Old Testament books close to 180 times! This could only be accomplished by his outstanding memory and knowledge of the Scriptures.
A final reason to spend time absorbing God’s Word through memorization is that it helps us as we fight sin and temptation. Psalms 119:11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Just as knowing God’s Word helps us to discern between truth and lie, it also aids us as we discern between right and wrong. Again with Jesus as an example, we can learn much from His time of temptation in the desert. How did the Son of God thwart Satan’s lies and best attempts to exploit Him at His weakest moments? Jesus returned each verbal thrust by Satan with a skillful parry of Scripture. With three challenges, Jesus combated His enemy with three direct quotes from Deuteronomy. In Ephesians 6, Paul emphasizes the same point in his passage on spiritual warfare and the armor of a believer. Earlier in the chapter, Paul exhorts us to use the armor to stand against the devil’s schemes. The only offensive weapon listed is the Sword of the Spirit, also labeled as the Word of God (v. 17). We are to use God’s Word to repel the attacks of the enemy, and this has been demonstrated for us already by what Christ has done. However, how can we accomplish this without having God’s Word stored in our minds? We must make an effort to invest in His Word, because in God’s timing, His Word will grant a “return on investment” greater than what we could have hoped for.