On our college campus, we encourage students to implement habits in their life that stir their affections for Jesus. One of the core elements of the ministry I lead is the practice of Scripture memorization in community. While it can certainly be beneficial to memorize Scripture on your own, there is something unique about memorizing Scripture with other believers. Consider some of the benefits.
“And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12)
Practically speaking, if you memorize Scripture with a group of Christians, you are more likely to actually follow through with it than if you attempt to do it on your own. Like the men described in this verse, the people of God are stronger when they live in community with one another. On your own, you are less likely to memorize Scripture on a consistent basis, but when you have community around you, you are encouraged to follow through.
In a recent survey, 89% of college-aged Christians believed that all Christians should memorize Scripture on a regular basis, yet only 25% memorized Scripture on a weekly basis. Stunningly, 91% said they would practice Scripture memorization if they had someone to do it with. These students sense the need for accountability in developing healthy spiritual habits, which is why we encourage them to memorize Scripture with others.
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18)
When reading this verse, many Christians will apply it to visionary leadership, but this verse is really talking about the revelation that comes from God. This is clearly seen when we read the entire verse. The people of God wander in darkness when they don’t have the Word of God on their minds. The most unifying vision for believers is the inerrant revelation of God through the Bible.
At Multiply Groups, the college ministry I lead, we made a decision to have every group memorize the same passage of Scripture over the semester. At Redeemer, the church I belong to, our small groups do the same. When gospel communities from across a church or campus, commit to memorizing the same passage of Scripture, it can be incredibly unifying not only for the individuals in the groups, but for the organization as a whole. By continually having the words of God in our mind, we are quick to promote unity and slow to be divisive.
“Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.” (Psalm 119:133)
When we memorize Scripture with those in our community, we take preventative measures to ensure that sin does not have dominion over us. Memorizing Scripture does not keep us from experiencing temptation, but through the help of the Spirit it gives us power over it.
When we look at Matthew 14:1–11, we get a glimpse of how Jesus fought temptation when he was on earth—by reciting Scripture. Three times Satan tempts Jesus, and what does Jesus do? He says, “For it is written…” This is incredibly important. Scripture memory is not simply an intellectual exercise, but a weapon in a supernatural battle.
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
When we memorize Scripture in community, we are inspired to encourage others. In this passage above, we have to ask ourselves, Why is Paul calling the believers in Thessalonica to encourage one another? In verses 9–10, we read, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.”
The source of our encouragement is the grace of God displayed through the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf. By memorizing the Word of God with others, we are provided with an outlet to provide mutual encouragement to one another.
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
Perhaps most importantly, memorizing God’s Word together produces godliness. Scripture memory does this because it fuels every other spiritual discipline. Whether you are fasting or sharing the gospel, memorizing Scripture helps to keep your mind on the Lord. Through Scripture memory, God reorients the desires of your heart, transforms the thoughts of your mind, and changes the actions of your feet.
When you memorize Scripture in community, it provides accountability, promotes unity, prevents destruction, provokes encouragement, and produces godliness. Who could you partner with to memorize God’s Word?