In just the gospel of Matthew alone, the Lord Jesus is recorded as having said, “It is written,” seven times (4:4, 6, 7, 10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24; 26:31.) Clearly He could not have made these statements unless He had memorized the Scriptures. And, as Jesus is our Example (see I Peter 2:21), it is biblically sound to recommend that we memorize Scripture as well.
This point was driven home for me when I was serving as a translator for a Russian pastor who addressed a group of young Adventists one Sabbath. I wondered what this veteran of 12 years in Soviet concentration camps would have to say to our young people. It was a surprise to hear him begin by asking the class of juniors and young adults which of the three angels in Revelation 14 tells us to keep the Sabbath. Shockingly, none could answer him. He then asked which of the Ten Commandments tells us not to kill, and received a wrong answer! He pointed out that when you are taken to prison, they not only do not give you a Bible, but they take away the one that you have, and you are left with only what you have memorized. He stated that in his country where they know the meaning of persecution, all of the young adults have memorized the Ten Commandments and the Three Angels’ Messages. Some have memorized entire books of the Bible, and a few have even memorized the entire New Testament.
In our little historic church in Montana, we have added a new feature to our adult Sabbath School program. We allow time for voluntary recitation of Scripture. This is definitely a popular activity. We have six Sabbath School members actively involved; and it appears that another person, not yet even a baptized member, is beginning to memorize. We have only been doing this for about the past six months, yet I was surprised at how easy it is to memorize Scripture. Though it may seem difficult at first, it steadily becomes easier with practice.
The strongest weapon that we have been given to resist temptation is specified in Psalm 119:11, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” If we do not memorize the Word of God, with what will we resist the enemy? Would not a well-meaning Christian without Scripture be like a karate black-belt attacking a machine gun nest with his bare hands?
Just say “NO!” to meeting Satan’s temptations unarmed. Arm yourself by memorizing Scripture while you still have the opportunity.