Memorizing Scripture used to be a staple of the Christian community. It used to be essential to teaching curriculum and a recognized mark of spiritual maturity. But I currently find it difficult to find adults memorizing Scripture with any sort of regularity or urgency. Why is this? A few reasons come to my mind that are based on my own observations:
The Childhood Fallacy
My guess is that the vast majority of Christ followers committed verses to memory early on in their Christian walk (be this as a child or close to the time of their conversion). But this practice has a way of fading as the years go on. The sad reality is that memorizing verses is seen as a chore for children and not an essential practice for all believers. It is quite common for a church to give an ovation after a young person publicly recites a verse aloud. But it is extremely uncommon to find adults challenging other adults to memorize Scripture, even though they tell their children it’s an important exercise.
The Psalmist teaches that blessing comes to the person who delights and meditates on the law of the Lord (Ps 1:1-3). He says that God’s Word keeps people from committing sin (Ps 119:11). And while the young are specifically addressed at times (Ps 119:9), there is no indication that this activity should be reserved for the young minded.
Categorizing Bible memorization as a childish practice is bad theology. Even worse, it devalues God’s Word.
The Cost Is More Than We Want to Pay
Committing anything to memory requires two things: time and effort. Most people think they suffer from a lack of time, but a more truthful statement is that most people are unwilling to invest the necessary time to memorize Scripture. While God has entrusted each person with a diversity of gifts and resources, He has chosen to give all of us the same amount of time. Our lifespans will vary, but all of us are given 24 hours each day and 168 hours per week. How we use the time He entrusts to us is a stewardship issue.