Why Memorize Scripture?

In the above video, John Piper recites Psalm 1, Psalm 16, Psalm 103 and Romans 5:1-8 in their entirety.

From memory.

There’s something powerful about seeing someone live out the command that we should abide in God’s Word (cf. John 8:31, 15:7). Yet, it seems that memorizing Scripture is one of the most difficult things to do, and one of the most neglected disciplines.

Why should we do it, then?

In the following video, Piper gives eight reasons from his own experience why memorizing Scripture is so valuable:

  1. Memorizing Scripture makes meditation possible at times when I can’t be reading the Bible, and meditation is the pathway of deeper understanding.
  2. Memorizing Scripture strengthens my faith because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ, and that happens when I am hearing the word in my head.
  3. Memorizing Scripture shapes the way I view the world by conforming my mind to God’s viewpoint.
  4. Memorizing Scripture makes God’s word more readily accessible for overcoming temptation to sin, because God’s warnings and promises are the way we conquer the deceitful promises of sin.
  5. Memorizing Scripture guards my mind by making it easier to detect error—and the world is filled with error, since the god of this world is a liar.
  6. Memorizing Scripture enables me to hit the devil in the face with a force he cannot resist, and so protect myself and my family from his assaults.
  7. Memorizing Scripture provides the strongest and sweetest words for ministering to others in need.
  8. Memorizing Scripture provides the matrix for fellowship with Jesus because he talks to me through his word, and I talk to him in prayer.

I’ve been slowly working on memorizing some Scripture for a couple of years now; it’s been difficult to keep up with, but it’s been helpful for me. If you’re looking for a helpful resource for training yourself to memorize Scripture, check out the Topical Memory System from Nav Press.

Are you trying to memorize Scripture? If so, what have you found helpful in doing so?

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.

Reader interactions

10 Replies to “Why Memorize Scripture?”

  1. […] few weeks back, I wrote about the benefits of memorizing Scripture. Tim Brister wants to help you develop this discipline by partnering to memorize the entire book of […]

  2. Oops, John Piper, sermons rather.

  3. My husband and a friend started a scripture memorization program/business called 11911. I loved the 8 points that you listed referring to why we need to memorize scripture. I will definately be listening to the Paul Washer semons too. I am so thankful that God’s word is living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword. We are blessed that He allows us to know Him and communicate with Him. I love your blog and will be following it now. Keep up the great work. You can check out 11911 at http://www.onenineteeneleven.com

  4. […] 2. Post over at Blogging Theologically on the value of memorizing scripture. “Why Memorize Scripture?” […]

  5. God wil give us d grace

  6. Great post. I concur on the competiton (or least working on the task with another person) aspect. My sister and I have been working together to read the Bible in short period of time. I know that if I didn’t have her encouragement or her reporting of her progress I porobably would not be as far along as I am. How much scrupture do you guys try to memorize?

    1. I’ve only ever managed a few verses here and there. When I was being consistent with the Topical Memory System, I managed to get probably a dozen verses memorized (although, ironically, I cannot remember them all now). Some, just because they’re so frequently quoted, like John 3:16, are in there.

      Might be interesting to try to memorize a short psalm, though…

      Tony, where are you at in your reading?

      1. Good ideal on the Psalms. I have only committed Psalm 27 to memory and serveral times in my life that psalm has flooded into my consciousness at just the right moment.

        As far as the reading goes, its been pretty aggressive. We have been working a plan to read the entire Bible in 26 weeks. Its not bad as it is only about 45 minutes of reading daily. Its split into 5 sections. Right now I am in Leviticus, 1 Kings, Psalms, Ezekiel, John, and Hebrews. I like to take notes as I read so the volume is a little much for deep meditation. We are shooting to finish at years end and the goal is to start something a little less aggressive but more contemplative in nature in January.

        We also use a journaling technique called SOAP to process come of the chapters we read.

        More info about SOAP journaling:

        An example of a SOAP entry:

        Appreciate the encouragement and the dialog.

  7. “Are you trying to memorize Scripture? If so, what have you found helpful in doing so?”

    Hi Aaron…
    If you are a competitive person…it’s helpful to challenge a friend or family member to memorize certain passages with you…agree on a passage and a timeline and dive in.
    Challenge each other to memorize Scriptures fixed on the sovereignty of God…or those proclaiming the Gospel..etc

    1. Great suggestion, Tony – I am slightly competitive and have a couple friends I could challenge

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