Why is it so hard to memorize Scripture?

The ability of your brain to remember truths is absolutely amazing. Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University describes its capacity this way,

The human brain consists of about one billion neurons…the brain’s memory storage capacity… is around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage…1

The truth of the matter is that you have sufficient brain capacity to memorize a lot of Scripture. So why have we not placed more Bible verses into our seemingly limitless memory?”

One word will suffice: pride. We don’t memorize because we don’t think we need to memorize. Yet God warned us that pride would lead to our sure and certain fall (1 Cor. 10:12-13).

Joseph, of Egyptian fame, teaches us that humility is a great deterrent to sin. He saw temptation and set the land speed record for leaving the bedroom (Gen. 39:12). In his humility, he knew he couldn’t stand against temptation.

On the other hand, King David teaches us that if we think we can linger at temptation’s door without sinning we are gravely mistaken (2 Sam. 11:2-3). His pride led to his lingering, his lingering left him vulnerable to sin, and his sin brought tremendous destruction to his family.

The humility principle is hidden in Jesus’ temptation account: Only the humble of heart will see the need to memorize the Scripture.

Jesus supremely modeled humility. The Bible says, 

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8).

When tempted, his immediate response was to use the Scripture, further revealing his humility. Here’s a question: If the Son of God deemed it necessary to memorize the Scripture to defend himself against temptation, why would we think we’re exempt?

Satan’s clearest line of attack in temptation is directed at the pride of man. It was with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:5), and it was with Jesus (Matt. 4:5).

To attempt a rational conversation with the tempter in the midst of temptation is a dangerous proposal. Even an archangel wouldn’t attempt it (Jude 9). Much better to simply respond with the appropriate Scripture, and the best way to gain access to the passage is through memorizing…just like Jesus.

For an excellent source of verses to memorize when facing temptation go to http://aboutfbc.org/downloads/scripture-memory-verse-cards.pdf

1http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-the-memory-capacity

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