At First Free Maplewood, our fall sermon series comes with a special challenge: memorize 1 Peter 2:9–10 and Matthew 28:18–20 as a community. Church memorization may seem unfamiliar to many outside of children’s ministries, but it isn’t just for kids. It’s an important part of walking with God.
It’s not new, either. When Joshua inherited Moses’ role as leader of the children of Israel, God told him, “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.” The nation of Israel didn’t get to take a break from God’s instructions. Only by reflecting on them day and night could they live rightly and experience the full blessing of the land God had promised them.
We may not receive the same physical blessings that the nation of Israel was promised, but there are real blessings and benefits that come from committing God’s word to heart. Let’s take a look at a few of them together:
Benefit 1: Comfort in times of fear
Psalm 56:3–4—When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
Throughout the Bible, people are repeatedly exhorted to not fear. God is the one who protects us, and we can find comfort in memorizing and holding that truth closely. Proverbs 3 tells us what happens when we keep “sound wisdom and discretion” (v. 21), both found in God’s Word, in sight: “Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (vv. 23–24). When we stay focused on God, we have an answer to fear.
Benefit 2: Way out in times of temptation
1 Corinthians 10:13—No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
For the believer, there is no such thing as “the devil made me do it.” God’s Spirit has ensured that our old sin nature is no longer our master, and He works in us so that we can fight to avoid falling. Scripture promises that He makes a way of escape for us when we are tempted to give in to sin.
How does He do that? One way is through His word. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” When we have God’s Word hidden in our hearts, we’ll always be able to find a way to resist evil.
Benefit 3: Truth in times of lies
Psalm 119:160—The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
It’s the nature of sinful humans to be wicked and deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). When we are surrounded by a culture that exemplifies this nature all too well, it can be hard to remember what’s true. God’s Word, however, stands in contrast to the world’s lies. When Jesus prayed for believers in the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked of God, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).
The truth of God’s Word leads to freedom. We read in John 8:31–32, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Abiding in God’s Word through reading and memorization ensures that we won’t be trapped by this world’s lies.
Benefit 4: God’s voice in a real-life relationship
Hebrews 4:12—For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Do you long to hear the voice of God? Through His written Word, you can do exactly that. Scripture is not dry and dead—as the book of Hebrews says, it’s alive and can work in your life.
That work comes through the Holy Spirit, who will bring to mind what we’ve learned in order to help us when we need to hear it most. Jesus promised this when He told the disciples, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). When we hide God’s Word in our hearts, the Spirit can use it in great ways.
Benefit 5: Knowledge and instruction for living and growing
2 Timothy 3:16–17—All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
When we memorize what is in the Bible, we will be equipped for life. It teaches us, corrects us, and trains us so that we can be ready for God’s work. None of God’s Words are wasted or useless. Romans 15:4 says, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” When we understand what is in the Bible and commit it to memory, we will be encouraged and trained for everything God calls us to do.
Benefit 6: Focus in a time of distraction
Psalm 119:105—Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
We live in a world full of distractions. With ready access to media, especially since the rise of the internet, we’re constantly barraged with countless pulls on our attention. The world tells us, “Watch this video! Read this article! Look at these pictures!” With everything that promises to help or entertain us, how can we focus on what is right and good? How can we stick to God’s way when there are so many options presented to us?
David asked and answered this same question in Psalm 119:9: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your Word.” Living God’s way isn’t something that just happens—it’s something we have to actively guard as we study and memorize Scripture. We must keep God’s Word close to our hearts, and it will show us the way to go each day.
Will you let it change you?
When we read the Bible today, we see a wonderful message of grace rather than the works-based law that Israel struggled to follow. Even so, like Joshua and his people, we should never take a break from God’s Word to us. Reading and memorizing God’s Word will benefit our lives in ways that nothing else can do. It lets us hear God’s voice, comforts us, and equips us to do what is right in a world that tries to distract us.
Have you joined with the First Free family in memorizing this fall’s passages? As you commit 1 Peter 2:9–10 and Matthew 28:18–20 to memory, think about what they mean in both the local church and your own life. Prayerfully consider other passages that teach and encourage you, and think about learning them by heart, as well. Carry them with you. Write them out and put them where you’ll see them every day. Hide God’s Word in your heart, and let it change your life
About the author
Elizabeth Buege graduated from the University of Northwestern—St. Paul with a B.A. in English Writing. She works as a freelance book editor, offering writing and editing tips alongside her services at www.elizabethbuege.com. She also teaches weekly writing classes as the secondary writing tutor for the ESCHEL homeschool co-op in Oakdale, MN.
When Elizabeth isn’t working, you can probably find her reading or writing for fun. She also loves gardening, cooking, exploring parks, and hanging out with big dogs and small children. She attends First Free in Maplewood and is thankful to have found such strong fellowship so close to home.