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Why We Study the Bible

Why We Study the Bible

Remember the last time you heard a song you couldn't get out of your head? You know, one of those insidious melodies that lodges itself in the deepest recesses of your cerebral cortex and refuses to leave, no matter how hard you try to get rid of it. Annoying, isn't it? Now imagine that, instead of a song fragment, you had something really useful tattooed on your brain. Something that could come in handy in any setting or situation. Something that could change not only your life but also the lives of people around you. Imagine having the wisdom of God himself at your disposal every day, 24/7. That's the tantalizing prospect that memorizing Bible verses offers.

Here are three prime benefits of learning God's Word by heart.

1. Prevention: The author of Psalm 119 wrote, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11). Apparently the psalmist had experience in using God's Word as a sin deterrent. This makes perfect sense. After all, every sinful temptation starts with a thought, an idea that seems enjoyable or satisfying. The longer the thought goes unchallenged, the more likely it is to be acted on. That's where memorized Bible verses come in handy. The more nuggets of God's truth you have stored away in your brain, the more ammunition you have to challenge temptation and reveal it for what it is.

2. Protection: When Jesus faced Satan in the wilderness, he relied on one weapon: Scripture. Three times Satan threw everything he had at Jesus. Three times Jesus responded with a Bible quote. Three times Satan was stopped cold. That's the power of God's Word. That same power is available to us, too. Check out the apostle Paul's battle strategy for withstanding the devil's attacks. In Ephesians 6:17, he urges Christian warriors to arm ourselves with "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." You can't prevent Satan from attacking you, but you can counter his attacks with God's all-powerful truth—if you're properly armed.

3. Preparation: First Peter 3:15 says, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." Always be prepared. Now that's a challenge. It's also an awesome opportunity. If you live your Christian faith as God intends, people will question you. Some may challenge your beliefs; others may look to you for advice. If you're ready with solid answers—answers from God's Word—you may change lives.

How/What to Memorize?

If you're ready to make Bible memorization part of your spiritual growth plan, here are a few tips to get you started.

Start with passages that are especially meaningful to you. Look for verses that offer encouragement for a situation you're currently facing. Or commands that address a sin you're struggling with. Or words of praise that echo your feelings about God. In other words, start with passages that offer immediate application.

Get the message down first. Being able to recite a string of Bible words in order doesn't mean much if you don't know the context or purpose of the message. What's more, understanding the gist of a Bible verse gives you a great starting point for memorizing the wording of the message.

Make it a natural part of your daily routine. Don't think in terms of memorizing a certain number of passages every week. That's too much like homework. Remember, you're not trying to finish an assignment or meet a quota. You're trying to fill your brain with God's wisdom. The best way to do that is the same way you learn those annoying songs and jingles that get stuck in your brain: through sheer repetition. Recite passages to yourself in the shower ... in the car on the way to work ... while you're working out. Anytime is a good time to memorize God's Word.