Learning by Heart

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119.11

If you grew up going to Bible classes every Sunday morning, it’s likely you were expected to learn memory verses each week. We called it knowing verses “by heart” — remember? According to the dictionary, that means to “learn something so well it can be written or recited without thinking.”

Somehow we leave memorization behind as we grow into adulthood. But Psalm 119:11 indicates that adult believers may need those memory verses more than ever — to help us remember who we are and to whom we belong and to keep us from offending the God we serve.

Jesus was able to use scripture to defend himself against sin when he was tempted in the wilderness. With every temptation, Jesus answered, “It is written” (Matthew 4.1-11). Likewise with our every temptation, God has promised a “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10.13).

Could it be that memorizing Bible verses is one of those ways?

Bible verses we can recall at a moment’s notice can be used not only to keep us from sinning but to give us spiritual courage: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

“Love your neighbor as yourself” will help us live at peace with one another; “Cast all your cares on him” comforts us; “In everything give thanks” reminds us to view the world with gratitude.*

Whatever your situation, hide some appropriate Bible verses in your heart. Remember those you learned as a child, or even better, memorize new ones that will help you handle life’s unexpected turns and temptations. Write them down on a 3 x 5 card and put it in your pocket or tack it to the front of your fridge.

Make them such a part of you you don’t have to even think about them. Then, like having God standing beside you, they’ll be there when you need them.

*Romans 8.31; Luke 10.27; 1 Peter 5.7; 1 Thessalonians 5.18