22 Jul Psalm 119
treasure & delight
By Adam Wiggins
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11
“You don’t know the Bible until you’ve memorized it.” Those are the words that a professor in my Doctoral program opened up class with. He argued that no matter how much we might study passages of Scripture with all of the ancient and modern scholarly works available to us, we would never know the richness and depth of Scripture until we’ve spent the time to actually memorize it.
He then spent the next 20 minutes reciting one of the short letters of the New Testament – all from memory. I remember how impactful it was, being saturated with emotion and inflection in his voice. It felt as though Paul himself might be reading his own letter to us.
When we read Psalm 119, we can’t help but marvel at just how much the Psalmist loved God’s Word. He said things like:
- “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.” (Ps 119:20)
- “I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.” (Ps 119:48)
- “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.” (Ps 119:72)
- “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.” (Ps 119:89)
- “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Ps 119:97)
- “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Ps 119:103)
Aren’t those verses powerful? God’s Word is helping us to love His word even more. So the question that comes to the surface for us is this: How much do I love God’s Word? And how do I really meditate on it?
When we love the words that have been inspired by God Himself, we get to know God Himself. That means that, because God has chosen to disclose Himself primarily through Scripture, that is the absolute best way for us to know Him better. Because of this, it must be at the center of the Christian life – the center of our lives.
I’m convinced. The best meditation of Scripture comes from knowing Scripture. And that means sacrificing time to memorize it.
I decided to take my professor up on his challenge – to memorize long sections of the Bible. I’ve learned that it takes time and dedication and plenty of caffeine. But I’ve also experienced Scripture in a whole new light: saying it out loud from memory, knowing what is coming next, and hearing the tone which comes out in the book as a whole is powerful.
So if you are reading this (and as it happens, you are!), I want to offer you a challenge to know God’s Word – and by extension, God Himself – better. I can guarantee (which is not a statement that I make lightly) that if you give this a try, even for just a week, you will be convinced and in love with Scripture more.
Here’s a simple method for starting to memorize paragraphs and books of Scripture:
- Pick a short book to begin with (like Colossians, 1 Peter, or Ps 148)
- Memorize one verse each day.
(Try reading it out loud 10 times, then saying it from memory several times without looking. Or you can also try writing it out 10 times. You may be surprised at just how quickly you absorb it!)
- Review the other verses each day.
After memorizing the next verse, try to say all the other verses you’ve learned up to that point from memory (as best you can).
As you do this for just one week, I can guarantee that you will begin to see new insights and connections in Scripture. Our minds can’t help but begin to piece things together and ask more questions.
And above all, I am convinced that you will meditate on, savor, delight in, and enjoy God’s Word even more.
Finally, tell me how you are doing! I want to hear about your own experience. Shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com after you’ve worked on this for a few days and tell me what you’re memorizing and what you’re experiencing.
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