For a quick recap because hopefully you’ve memorized 1 Tim 4:7b and 8 by now, the train or discipline yourselves in this passage is actually a command…an imperative. So to rephrase that, the mode that God has given us for spiritual godliness…that has value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also the life to come, is achieve through discipline, through hard work and training. Moving on.
My first goal is to explain WHY you even need to read Scripture let alone memorize it.
Just some basic facts:
There are few patterns more prevalent in Scripture than the distinction of truth and error. Keeping true to that motto you’ll notice with each section of Scripture we will memorize, I’ll try and establish the context, other correlating Scripture (that you don’t have to memorize) so you know the agreement of God’s Word and what the practical theology is (the potential, practical everyday changes this means in your walk with Christ).
Most have a different approach to memory work. For me writing it out on a note card and putting on my dash and going over it, and over it and over it is usually the most effective way to remember it. I also have an app on my phone called “Scripture Typer” that you can import the verse in any translation and record the audio so you can listen to it. As your repeating it (or listening to it), notice as you think more about it, it is retained easier. Don’t look now but your actually meditating on God’s Word.
Now that we’ve established discipline is the mode God has assigned for our spiritual growth the first verses I want you to memorize in light of the question “Why do we memorize Scripture?” is John 8:31b-32.
“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
So to establish the context Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, we see this back in verse 13. It’s ironic that upon making this statement the Pharisees said “We are the offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus goes on in the chapter to explain “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here.I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.” All would conclude that they love Jesus but Jesus does a little separating. He explains that if you love Him you would not fall into the category of “cannot bear to hear my word”. He further explains, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” (John 8:42-45)
I’m sure nobody on this list wants to believe lies, but I’m not sure we understand that although Jesus is talking to the Pharisees His comments really go back to Genesis 3:1 when Satan deceived Eve with his comment “did God actually say?” Jesus point establishes that all people fall into 1 of 2 categories. You are either believing the truth and you are His, or you are believing lies and your father is the Devil. Proving to be His disciples means abiding in His Word. The enemies attempt to undermine God’s truth has not changed these many years later. Paul makes the point to the Corinthian’s in 1Corinthians 1:18 ” For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The “word of the Cross” is His Word, the Bible. To say we love Jesus means we believe His word, the Bible. Thus reading it and memorizing it means we are starting to abide in it. Notice I said “starting”, more on that next week.
So why do we want to memorize and read God’s Word… because the enemy of our souls has not changed his tactics. The biggest lies are the ones closest to the truth because they are so believable. If somewhere deep down someone has told you just come to Jesus and He’ll fix everything or if you’ve been told “you can have your best life now”. We’ve been duped into believing lies. God’s Word explains that our best life is in eternity with the Father (Hebrews 11, specifically vss 32-40) and “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2Tim 3:12) Notice the deceiving and being deceived in there. If we buy into the lies that this is our best life now or if we are living like this is our best life, we have been deceived.
So reading His word and memorizing it reveals not only that we are His but that we are building on a foundation where “when the storms come” not IF, our house will stand strong (see Matt. 7:24-27 and Luke 6:46-49).
Next week I’ll give another installment as to why John 8:31b-32 is so significant but suffice to say we have enough to think about this week. I’ve started this format so you can have feed back so, or ask questions or?…feel free to feedback. I hope you are as encouraged in the Word as I am and I hope you view it as the sustenance Jesus stated we are to live by.