Here are the top 7 wrong reasons to memorize scripture:
- Because the group does it and demands it. One man I know confessed to his businessmen’s group, “I was memorizing new verses because I knew I’d have to recite one each Friday. I finally just stopped. I felt that was legalism.” He was right. If his only reason was to impress a group of men in his Friday Bible study, he was memorizing for the wrong reason.
- Because I’ll get an award. Awards for children in Pioneer Clubs and Awana groups are strong motivators. But sooner or later you have to move beyond “lollipop motivation.” Whether the lollipop is a little patch to sew on your sleeve or a trip to Paris really doesn’t matter. It’s not the kind of motivation God desires.
- Because someone I respect does it. Maybe you want to be like someone who has memorized a vast amount of Scripture. Fine, but you’d better find stronger reasons or you’ll give up when that person ceases to be an important example for your life.
- Because my pastor said to do it. The pastor may have said such a thing, but why did he say it? You have to get beyond the pastor and back to God’s truth, or it won’t last.
- It’s sort of a family thing. Traditions, family or otherwise, are great. But again, you have to get past them to the foundational reasons for the behavior.
- Because I think it will make me more spiritual. Indeed it will help you grow spiritually. But simply memorizing Scripture isn’t what makes a person spiritual or mature. It’s the application of Scripture to life that matters.
- Because I want to win arguments. Strangely enough, some people memorize Scripture so that they can whip others in theological or evangelistic debates. It’s certainly wise to know what you believe and why, but becoming a “walking Bible concordance” is not the purpose of Scripture memorization.
If you want to memorize Scripture but aren’t sure what to memorize or how, take a look at the Topical Memory System created by the Navigators. It’s the perfect launch point to begin hiding God’s Word in your heart. It’s simple and easy-to-use — and will help you memorize key verses that point to basic truths and important instruction.
The 7 reasons listed above were written by Mark Littleton and originaly published in issue 62 of Discipleship Journal.