Derrick Jeter starts a three week series on building spiritual “muscles”.  This week’s lesson is the Spiritual Discipline of Scripture Memory.  Derrick reminds us that God’s goal for our spiritual lives is to conform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).  Shakespeare said that “memory is the guardian of the brain.”  Derrick emphasizes that it will also guard your soul.

Ephesians 6:17 says “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  We need to memorize scripture so we’ll have “swords” at our disposal at the appropriate time.

Scripture memorization will:

1.      provide you with wise counsel throughout life. (Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.”)

2.      provide a faithful friend during days of difficulty.  (Psalm 119:92-93)

3.      serve as a sure defense against temptation.  (Psalm 119:9-11)

Christians and non-Christians alike find comfort in the scriptures (most people know or recognize Psalm 23).  Jesus quoted scripture while carrying the cross:

Hosea 10:8  to the weeping woman (Luke 23:30).

Psalm 22:1  when He took punishment for our sin (Matt 27:46, Mark 15:34).

Psalm 31:5  at the moment of His death (Luke 23:46).

Jesus also used scripture when tempted by Satan in the desert for 40 days (Luke 4:1-13).

·   When Jesus was hungry and tempted to appeal to his physical appetite he quoted Duet 8:3 “…Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (also Matt 4:4)

·   When Satan tempted Jesus to rule the Kingdom without going to the cross, Jesus quoted Deut 6:13 saying “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”

·   Satan tempted Jesus to throw himself off the temple, misquoting Psalm 91:11 saying that God’s angels would guard Him.  Jesus quoted Deut 6:16 saying “You should not put the Lord Your God to the test.”

Derrick gave us several pointers to help memorize scripture:

1.      Have a scheduled time to work on scripture memory.  A time when you are “sharp” and can concentrate with no distractions.

2.      Have a plan for selecting biblical passages.  The Navigators publish a system that can help you organize your scripture memory.  Click here to view their topical memory system.  You can also reference the Concordance in your Bible.  (For example, in Crisis, see Psalm 46.  When tempted, Psalm 139.  If Lonely/Fearful, see Psalm 27 or 23.  For Planning/Budgeting see Luke 19.   For Responsibilities see Joshua 1).

3.      Write out the verses word for word.  Put it on a post-it in your car, at home, at the office.

4.      Underline difficult or key words and ideas.  (i.e. Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, Seek, Knock).

5.      Draw a picture depicting the verse.

6.      Compose a poem or a song using the words in a passage.

7.      Read the verses verbally – outloud. Also read the chapter/verse reference.

8.      Always check the context of the verses.  Not every command or promise in the Bible is for us.

The goal is not to see how many verses you can master.  The goal is to be mastered by the verses – transformed into the character of Christ which can take a lifetime.

For the month of January, as a class, we are challenged to memorize the scripture Psalm 119:9-11 in whatever version of the Bible you use.  Below are the NIV and NAS versions.

Psalm 119: 9-11  NIV


How can a young man keep his way pure?

By living according to your word.

I seek you with all my heart;

Do not let me stray from your commands.

 I have hidden your word in my heart

that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:9-11  NAS


How can a young man keep his way pure?

By keeping it according to Your word.

With all my heart I have sought You;

Do not let me wander from Your commandments.

Your word I have treasured in my heart,

that I may not sin against You.

To live skillfully and faithfully, tuck scripture into your heart.  When discouragement or challenges come, the Spirit will say “Ahah!  — I can use that sword!”

(Material provided in this summary is Copyright © 2008 by Derrick G. Jeter. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)

Upcoming Sunday Schedule…       01/18:   Spiritual Disciplines:  Prayer  (Derrick)

01/25:   Spiritual Disciplines:  Bible Study Methods  (Derrick)

      02/01:    Begin series in Study of Daniel  (Derrick)