Does Memorizing Scripture Matter?
By Ruth Coghill
“Teach us how to memorize scripture.”
Three young women walked up to me after Bible study one Thursday morning and asked, “Would you teach us how to memorize scripture?”
It seemed an unusual request and I doubted my ability to instruct anyone in this ancient spiritual discipline. I love to teach God’s Word, however, and because there were four weeks left before summer break, I set about writing down some thoughts and ideas, taking up their challenge to teach a class on memorizing scripture.
My own questions began to surface: Why should I memorize? What text should I choose? When is the best time? Can anyone memorize? I began my quest to discover the answers to these questions and more, knowing I would need divine help to write something of value for these women. I daily asked God to reveal a passage that would be meaningful to each one. It seemed God was whispering, Be still and know.
I sensed that whichever psalm contained that verse might be just the right one for the last four weeks of the summer session.
God’s Word in Us
Very soon my class was fully engaged in the truths, the meditation and memorization of Psalm 46. From BG in her twenties to Ruth in her eighties, they all stood together and began. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.” The verses in the psalm show mountains falling into the seas, nations in uproar, utter chaos. And then verse 10 jumps out in the midst of the earth’s crumbling and God speaks, “Be still and know that I am God.” Each word bore down into our spirits as whispers of God’s love and His presence in the tumultuous seasons of life, gracing our time together.
Many in the class began to experience the power and inspiration of God’s Word. Kathy surprised herself, having felt and believed memorizing to be impossible. Joanne recited her verses when she was tempted to smoke and not long after gave up cigarettes completely. Suzanne rehearsed her text when she awakened in the early hours of the morning and declared, “Soon I drift off into an extremely peaceful sleep.”
Betty-Anne, initially a reluctant participant in the memorizing project, would face her own mountains and roaring seas shortly after our four-week course ended. Her husband, and the father of their two young children, was tragically killed one morning on his job site.
Betty-Anne writes, “I had studied the Bible in depth for many years, but now it was just a big book to me. I didn’t know where to turn for answers for this. But God’s Word was in me.”
Memorizing and meditating on the truths of Psalm 46 provided Betty-Anne with, in her words, “a lifeline for me in the stormiest days of my life.”
Woman of the Word
From that small beginning of personal discovery and teaching scripture memorization, the outline for my latest book, Woman of the Word: A Memorizing Scripture Experience, unfolded.
I continue to be compelled to pass on my own legacy of memorizing scripture. Unfortunately, in this culture, some people have convinced themselves that this discipline is either too difficult or completely unnecessary in this day of handheld devices and instant information. God has led me to write Woman of the Word in response to such objections, a reminder of the inestimable worth of having, as King David did, God’s Word hidden in our hearts.
About this Contributor:
Ruth Coghill is an international speaker, Bible teacher and radio show host. She is also the founder of Words to Inspire—Lifelong Empowerment from God’s Word a ministry to encourage others to read, memorize and apply the Scriptures. This passion has led her to develop a four-book Bible study series for the time-constrained woman. Ruth is the mother of four adult children, nana to ten grandchildren, and she lives in Fergus, Ontario with her husband Bob.
Woman of the Wordis Book Two in the WOW series. The other three:
• Woman of Worth (2011)
• Woman of Wisdom (coming soon!)
• Woman of Worship (coming soon!)