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May 7, 2024 / by Pastor Scott Boerckel

We are not in the habit of memorizing anything these days. We reason to ourselves, “Why should I memorize that? I can always look it up on my phone.”

In general, I think that this is making us dumber rather than smarter because by offloading all the hard work to our phones, we end up not internalizing knowledge. When knowledge is not internalized, it cannot be accessed at the precise moment that it is needed. We may think, “Oh, I will always be able to access this on my phone.” However, that would require connecting our need in the moment of crisis to the precise information available on our phone. Realistically, we simply will not be competent to access information on our phones when the need arises.

We have similar lazy habits regarding the scriptures. We reason to ourselves, “Why should I memorize Bible verses? I can always look it up in my Bible or on my phone.” When biblical truth is not internalized, it cannot be accessed at the precise moment that it is needed. Do you know one important reason that Martin Luther came to the recognition of the great doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone? It was because years earlier as a young Augustinian monk, Luther committed so much of the Bible to memory. When he had a dawning realization of justification by faith from Romans 1:17, he wrote that he then went through the scriptures from memory to confirm what he had found. I wonder—if Luther had been born in 2000 instead of 1483, and was dependent on his phone, would he have had the biblical wherewithal to confirm justification by faith as true?

Scripture memory has so much value to our souls. It is “absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation” (Dallas Willard). “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture. . . . No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends!” (Chuck Swindoll). “Bible memorization has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier and clearer.” (John Piper).

I have found delight in memorizing sections of the Bible. When we learn, for example, a whole paragraph or a whole Psalm, we are slowed down in our observations of the Bible. That process enables us to see things that were always there, but we did not notice them until we memorized the text. Here’s an example—In Romans 8:18-23, Paul writes about the sufferings of the present time and the connection of those sufferings with the created order. However, until I started memorizing the text, I did not notice the order of Paul’s reasoning. Verse 19—For the creation waits; verse 20—For the creation was subjected; verse 21—that the creation itself will be set free; verse 22—For we know that the whole creation has been groaning; verse 23—And not only the creation, but we ourselves . . . It was by memorization that this order became clear to me.

There is also delight in memorizing single verses of the Bible. Our children do this in AWANA. How about you? In reviewing key verses of the Bible related to the plan of salvation, you will be able to draw upon those verses in moments where you do not have a Bible available to you or where it would be awkward to pull out a Bible or a phone. Simply sharing the verses carries an authority beyond ourselves. “The very word of God spoken spontaneously from your heart has unusual power.” (John Piper)

How to Memorize Scripture This Summer

If I have convinced you of the value of scripture memory, you might be asking, “How do I get started?” Well, if you thought that I was against smart phones by the introduction of this article, you may be surprised that I now suggest an app for your phone to help you in scripture memory this summer. The app is called, “Bible Memory.” It’s free for up to 50 verses in your account. After that, there is a one-time payment of $9.99. I like this app for several reasons. One is that it has a lot of versions of the Bible available to download verses from. It has all kinds of ways to give hints and help. It puts every verse you memorize on a review schedule, so that you won’t forget your verses. You can set your accuracy rate so that you don’t get discouraged by failing to be “word perfect” every time. There are groups that you can join on the app to memorize something together. There are pre-packaged verse libraries, where you can choose to learn the verses that are preselected. One of those is the famous Navigators Topical Memory System. There are others on topics like “instructions for children”, “instructions for parents”, “long life and old age”, and one simply called, “top 100 verses”. You can access this app by searching “Bible Memory” in your app store or going to

I use this app nearly every day. I love how I can use it when I am waiting. We wait for lots of things, don’t we? Most of the time, we absentmindedly use that time by surfing our phones pointlessly or by some other low value way. How about taking that time this summer and devoting it to memorizing and reviewing the precious Word of God? If you do, I know that you will be rewarded by fresh insights into God’s nature and will enjoy the satisfaction of time well spent.

May the Lord draw us ever nearer in fellowship with Himself. — Pastor Scott


Scott loves being a pastor and teaching God’s Word. Before he was a pastor, he worked as a ceramic engineer (and bonus points for anyone who actually knows what that is). He sometimes uses the training that he received at the University of Illinois (Go Illini!), Grace Theological Seminary, and Jerusalem University College. Scott’s wife, Carol, is an awesome watercolor artist who really knows how to think Christianly about the arts. Scott likes cycling with friends, enjoying his ever growing family, and learning from the community of God’s people at East White Oak.

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May OakLeaf Articles:

This Summer, Memorize Scripture by Pastor Scott Boerckel
Serving Neighbors on our Swing Set by Abigail Waples
Plan a Personal Day of Prayer by Dr. Jeff VanGoethem
Summer Activity to Enrich Your Walk with Jesus by Chuck Blystone
Faith Nurturing “Rainy Day” Activities by Whitney Sherrill
Summer Reading that Helps You Grow by Monica Ball & Brenda Thompson
How to Have a God-Honoring Vacation by Pastor Traig Whittaker