Is it an important thing to do to memorize portions of Scripture? Does the Scripture itself teach us to memorize?
First and foremost God commands us to meditate on the scriptures day and night. Psalm 1:2, “but his delight is in the law of the LORD and on his law he meditates day and night.” God also commanded Joshua to meditate on the Law. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
It would be impossible for Joshua or for anyone at that time to carry large scrolls around everywhere he went to “read” the word of God at all times and to meditate on it day and night. First it must be memorized in order to meditate on it. Meditation speaks of going over it again and again and again in your mind so as to properly understand it and as God speaks to Joshua “do” it.
During the times of Jesus the scriptures were typically kept in the synagogue so that the place for each of them to learn the scriptures would have been there. But rather than simply keep it there they would memorize it and take it with them wherever they went. Jesus did this in the midst of his spiritual battle with Satan. You say, he was God he knew the bible. Jesus defeated Satan as a man, just as you and I can, he simply spoke the word of God that he had hidden in his heart through memorization and meditation.
Psalm 119 over and over again speaks of the glories of the word of God and the importance and delight there is in memorizing it.
Here are just three reasons to memorize the word of God.
1. Memorizing Scripture gives us a ready sword in hand to fight against the spiritual attacks of Satan against our soul. Certainly, you can go to the bible and read various portions, but when you memorize and internalize them at any time you can access them to do battle against the enemy of your soul.
2. Memorizing Scripture increases our desire for holiness and the power of God.
In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.(Psalm 119:14-16 ESV)
We see how delightful his word is to us and through the Holy Spirit we desire to come more in line with his nature and commands. I also say the power of God because we realize our frailty and understand how much we need His power working in a reality in our life. “He gives power to the faint and to him that has no might he increases strength.” Isaiah 40:29
3. Memorizing the Scripture gives us a greater ability to witness to others. As we hide the word of God in our hearts increasingly we’ll see his word applied to many situations. Comfort to those who mourn, conviction to those who sin, salvation to those who realize they are lost. There is a power in the spoken (and memorized) word of God as it comes through a Spirit filled Christian.
Nothing can be done through mere human intellect. All the memorizing of Scripture and the power that comes from it is by the Spirit of God dwelling within us and the amount of prayer and meditation on that word to make it come alive.
If you want to experience more of the power and presence of God in your life memorize more scripture and spend more time in prayer. It is that simple.