Learning things by rote is not very popular anymore. It has largely been dropped from school curriculums as an outdated method of teaching.
Learning things deeply is far better than simple parroting off the facts. By nature it is also repetitious and hardly the funnest form of education.
However this has impacted the Christian’s practise of learning memory verses by rote.
Perhaps we are wary of a false piety, being like the Pharisees. More likely we are simply wary of the hard work!
But our kids ministries have worked to hang on to this practise and with good reasons.
If the motivation to learn something off by heart is simply to get good marks, its benefits will always be limited. But the Christian has the motivation to know God, so this discipline can be a wonderful aid to this. The mental effort to remember a verse will mean that you are forced to reflect on these words for a lot longer than if you just read them… you will have to think about each word multiple times.
Once memorised, these words stay with you… at work, on a bus, driving to friends… the verse pops into your mind and you can reflect on them again.
Knowing some key verses from the Bible is really helpful in integrating your knowledge together.
There is a real delight when reading one part of the Bible and realising that the same words are used in another. It can help you get a bigger picture of who God is and what he has done.
John Piper often speaks of how important scripture memorisation is in maintaining joy in Christ, particularly in times of doubt or trouble. It’s at these times God can use the scriptures we know to speak directly to our heart.
So next time a verse encourages you, why not have a go at remembering the verse, and that encouragement will stay with you, and perhaps you can use it to encourage someone else too?