In the first chapter of “At Home in Mitford,” we are introduced to a large dog named Barnabas, whom we come to find out a bit later in the chapter, is controlled by Scripture! In order to calm the beast down, Father Tim discovers by accident that if he recites any Scripture that comes to his mind, Barnabas immediately relents and obeys. A perfect picture as to what should happen to us when we hear God’s Word proclaimed!
Father Tim spends much time throughout the Mitford series reciting Scripture to Barnabas – and in order to do this, he would have had to hide passages of God’s Word in his heart as some point or another. This reminded me of how important Scripture memory is to our hearts, minds and lives. I was recently convicted to get serious about memorizing when I heard a broadcast on the Revive Our Hearts radio program. Nancy Leigh DeMoss had been interviewing Janet Pope who wrote the book called “His Word In My Heart.” This woman has memorized something like 14 BOOKS of the Bible. I sat mesmerized as I listened to her beautifully and passionately recite a portion from one of the books of the New Testament.
Ms. Pope offered several comments about memorization:
* She shared that Scripture memory isn’t a discipline, it’s a habit. Just as it is a habit for us to brush our teeth every day or eat three meals a day, so is spending time memorizing Scripture.
* Her motivation for memorizing is her love for God. She knows that by memorizing large portions of the Word, she gets to know her Savior and His will and ways better.
* Memorizing large portions of Scripture versus individual verses helps her understand the context of the Word better and is actually easier than pulling out verses here and there since it is in context. Memorizing large portions of the Word makes it your’s – it becomes personal, you know it well, you become intimately familiar with it.
* Ms. Pope also shared that though memorizing the Word doesn’t make her sin less – she IS convicted more readily because having the Word continually being poured into her mind makes it very easy for the Spirit to remind her and help her obey more quickly.
After hearing this broadcast, I challenged myself to memorize the short book of James. I had started this several years ago and memorized the first two chapters but eventually allowed it to fall by the wayside. I have begun with it again and was delighted to find how much of it I actually remembered. (Ms. Pope mentioned that it’s beneficial to routinely review past memorization to keep it fresh.) I have also found it to be true that the Spirit quickly brings this portion of Scripture to my mind to convict at various points in my day. Because it is fresh in my mind, it so clearly and readily comes to my heart and persuades me to obey.
Might I encourage you as well to begin the habit of hiding God’s Word in your heart? As Father Tim found out, you never know when it might just come in handy!