Memorize the Mind of God

Memorize the Mind of God

You’ve heard the pitch for Scripture memory a thousand times. You’re persuaded the benefits would be incalculable and that there may be no better use of your time than to hide God’s word in your heart and store it away for future use. But you’ve tried your hand at it again and again, and just never got the magic working.

Perhaps it brought back some sentiment you couldn’t shake from rote memorization in grade school, or eventually you threw up your hands and blamed it on a bad memory. You knew it would be wonderful to have a store of Scripture treasured up or an arsenal of weapons stockpiled for the Spirit’s use. But if it was all oriented on saving up for some uncertain future time and had little to do with today, you likely didn’t feel much urgency about it.

But maybe the breakthrough could come with some simple change in perspective. What if Scripture memory really was about today? At least for a minute, forget decades from now; throw aside the litany of daily reviews of previously memorized texts; abandon the mentality of building the store and stocking the pile, at least as the driving motivation. Instead, focus on the present. Scripture memory, at its best, is about feeding your soul today and mapping your life and mind onto the very life and mind of God.

Mold Your Mind for Today

It’s all well and good to store up bright treasures and sharp weapons for future use, but if you’re cut from the cloth I am, you find it all too easy to put it off when every today seems to already have enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).

When we learn the Scriptures by heart, we’re not just memorizing ancient, enduringly relevant texts, but we’re listening to and learning the voice of our Creator and Redeemer himself. When we memorize lines from the Bible, we are shaping our minds in the moment to mimic the structure and mindset of the mind of God.

Good theology forms our minds in a general way to think God’s thoughts after him. But memorized Scripture molds our minds, with as much specificity as is humanly possible, to mimic the folds and creases in the mind of God. Theology gets us to the ballpark; memorized Scripture, into the clubhouse.

And so Bible memory not only prepares us for the someday-maybes when we use a memorized verse in counseling or witnessing or fighting sin, but it contributes powerfully in the present to making us the kind of person who walks in the Spirit today. It contributes right now to your being “renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23). Not only is it then accessible to us for future decision-making and temptation-battling in varying contexts, but the very act of memorizing Scripture, as we understand and engage with the meaning of the text, changes our minds in the present to make us the kind of people who “discern what is the will of God.”

Memorizing God’s words today, then, is not just a deposit into an account for tomorrow, but assets working for us right now.

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David Mathis
David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.