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.
At the end of Matthew’s Gospel we see the final instructions given by Christ to His Disciples:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 28:19 (ESV)
This command is pretty straightforward if read at face value with its plain meaning. They were to go and preach the Gospel to all people. But there have been questions regarding this passage and whether or not it would apply to all Christians or only to the Apostles themselves.
Since the beginning of the church, this passage has been understood to apply to all believers as a call for evangelism. But how can we know that is the case? The passage itself gives us that answer.
Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you – Matthew 28:20a (ESV)
The word for observe is the word tēreō and carries the sense of fulfillment. In other words, the disciples were to evangelize and charge others with fulfilling the commands of Christ, including the Great Commission.