One of the things that many churches seem to have lost in today’s culture is the discipline of Scripture Memory. Growing up, Scripture memory was a huge emphasis at our church through programs like AWANA. I remember being on the Bible Quiz team for our church competing against other churches. I remember those verses and definitions that I learned decades ago and I am thankful for it.
But is there any indication from Scripture that memorizing God’s Word is important? The answer is an overwhelming yes!
We see verses like Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” (KJV) While this verse is not a command, it is a clear principle. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts gives us the tools we need to resist temptation.
Jesus was the perfect model of this in the New Testament when He went under temptation by Satan in the wilderness. This passage is found in Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus goes into the wilderness and is tempted three times by Satan.
In the first temptation, Satan says that if Jesus is the Son of God, he should command the stones nearby to become loaves of bread for him to eat. Remember, Jesus was fasting in the wilderness so he would have been hungry. But what does the Lord say to Satan?
Matthew 4:4 (ESV)
But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
This was a quote from Deuteronomy 8:3 in the Old Testament. Jesus used Scripture to combat the temptation. The second temptation was similar. They went to the pinnacle of the Temple and Satan told him that if He were really the Son of God to throw Himself down from the rooftop. How did Jesus respond? He responded from Deuteronomy 6:16.
Matthew 4:7 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
The last temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was more of the same. Satan shows Jesus the kingdoms of the world and says that if Jesus would worship him, he would give him all of these kingdoms. Again, Jesus responds with Scripture, this time from Deuteronomy 6:13.
Matthew 4:10 (ESV)
Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ”
After this last temptation, it says that the devil left him. Each temptation was overcome the same way, by being well-grounded in Scripture and recalling that Scripture during testing.
The church needs to return and families need to return to solid Scripture memory programs for children and for adults. We need to hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we may be ready to fight when the tempter comes to destroy us.