The Spiritual Discipline of Scripture Memorisation

By Dr Agnes Tan

I read through the book of Psalms as part of my spiritual discipline.  During my last vacation, Psalm 46 was the reading for the day.  I found such comfort and assurance in this Psalm that I decided to memorise the whole psalm.  It took me several days but I finally succeeded.  For the next few days, Psalm 46 was my constant companion.  I meditated on it throughout the day and it deepened my relationship with God.  I looked forward to each day with confidence because I know God is always with me.  Although my body was tired, my mind was alert as the Spirit showed me how I can share His word with my friends and loved ones.

Like me, you may think that memorising scriptures are only for people with good memory and lots of free time.  Actually, memorising scriptures is a spiritual discipline all Christians should cultivate. God’s word is our shield against sin. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you (119:11).  God’s word is our compass.  Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path (119:105).  God’s word is our joy and security.  Blessed is the man…  his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Psalm 1:1-3).

So how do we cultivate this spiritual discipline?  Here are some tips that I have found useful.

  1. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you remember His word.
  2. Start with passages you’re already familiar with.
  3. When you memorise short scriptures. Make sure that you understand the context.
  4. Start singing. There are many songs based on scriptures. Again, make sure that you understand the context.
  5. There are also hymnbooks (Psalters) that contain the entire chapter of the Psalms. Our hymnal (#20 All People that On Earth do Dwell) has the entire Psalm 100 written out.
  6.  Apply God’s word. Scripture is most accurately remembered when directly applied.
  7. Share God’s word with others.

Scripture memorisation will stretch you. But knowing God, His Word, and His perfect will is priceless. So start memorising today. You can even start with Psalm 46. I’m sure you already know it by memory.