His Word and Our Hearts
“This week’s memory verse is . . .” Growing up in Sunday School, I can count the number of times we missed on two hands, and receiving my formal education at Escambia Christian School, I memorized more than a few scriptures and Bible lists (the Books of the Bible, Days of Creation, the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and the Twelve Apostles for example). Then after four years of public high school, I attended Faulkner University, a private Christian university to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Bible. Again, I memorized more scripture. My freshman year, Dr. Leonard Johnson had the class memorize the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5, 6, & 7. Only after I quoted all three chapters in one setting, did he tell me I could have quoted them one chapter at a time. In our class on the Book of Acts, we had to memorize the second chapter of Acts. Our expository and textual preaching classes all had memory work. Memorization serves a purpose.
Memorization has its place, but there is something much better – INTERNALIZATION! Internalizing scripture is more important that memorizing it word for word. Internalization is understanding the message and letting that message germinate n your inner-being. Internalizing God’s Word is letting His Word change you.
The psalmist said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:11 – KJV). The NIV translates the psalm, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” The NASB1995 and the LSB use the following phrasing, “Your Word I have treasured in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” In my opinion the world “treasured” communicates more clearly than “hid” or “hidden”, yet both communicate the idea of internalization over rote memorization.
Do not beat yourself up if you struggle memorizing word for word or cannot remember book, chapter, and verse. Rather, put greater effort into internalizing the word of God to renew you heart and mind (Rom 12:2).