We are quick to forget that which only enters the mind. When I was in High School, I mastered the art of short-term memorization for quizzes and tests. I could cram for several hours and make good grades on the test in algebra, calculus or English grammar. However, if I had taken those same tests a week later without cramming, I probably would not have done nearly so well. This lack of genuine learning showed itself recently when my teenage daughter was telling me about her algebra class – and I could not remember much of what she was telling me about! Hey, I’m a product of the public school system. Cut me some slack.
Scripture memorization is a very important practice for people of all ages, but especially for children and teenagers. We encourage our children to memorize the scriptures. Scripture memorization is a big part of their King’s Kids program, Sunday School classes, youth activities, and home school curriculum.
Dr. J. Frank Norris encouraged his nephew Homer Duncan, a young pastor, to devote himself to the memorization of the scriptures. He wrote in 1935:
“Memorize a definite scripture every day. Quite often I have a chapter typed and pasted on the windshield of my car, and while waiting for lights to change I can read it and memorize it. Fortunately, your grandmother and my mother was a great soul, and before I was eight years old I had read the whole Bible through and memorized many of the chapters, and that is why I am enabled to quote whole chapters today in my preaching… You cannot afford to fail to memorize the scriptures.”
There is certainly tremendous value in a genuine memorization of the Word of God – something we definitely need to get back to doing and emphasizing in our churches.
However, the emphasis in Proverbs 3:1 is not just memorizing the scripture with the BRAIN but keeping it with the HEART. That which enters the brain ALONE is easy to forget. That which is written and kept in the heart becomes a part of our very being. I believe that one reason so many of our kids can “memorize” large numbers of verses for contests (and I am not against these contests), and yet show very little spiritual fruit in their lives is because they have done what I did in High School – crammed it into their brains, but not into their hearts. The Psalmist said:
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
This is the “engrafted word” spoken of in James 1:21. Grafting is an agricultural term referring to the insertion of a small shoot into the stock of another tree. The stock of the tree supports and nourishes it. They unite and become one tree, but the graft determines the fruit.
My grandfather raised peaches until he was in his seventies, and I remember that he had one peach tree into which he had grafted the limbs of six different types of peach. The tree supported the branches and provided nourishment, but the branches bore six different kinds of fruit.
Memorize the scriptures – but do not be satisfied with merely cramming them into your short-term memory banks. Put them into practice. Make them a part of your life. Be doers of the WORD and the WORK (see James 1:22,25). Then, the engrafted word will produce the fruit of righteousness.
Thank you for reading. God bless.