Theology Thursday: Storing Up God’s Word

Woman praying over Gods word with a cross

Regardless of our spiritual maturity, the world, the flesh and the devil (Ephesians 2:1-3) continue to tempt us and draw us away from God. But God has provided a way for us to counter the onslaught and defend ourselves – His Word.

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11 ESV)

The Treasure

The key word here in Hebrew is variously translated as “stored up,” “hidden” or “treasured.” Anyone who has seriously read the Bible knows that it is a treasure to be cherished. And anyone who has studied the Bible knows the joy of mining the hidden gems that are scattered throughout the pages.

If God’s Word is so valuable, it makes perfect sense to have it “stored up” in our hearts. The benefits of Scripture memorization are manifold. I will only mention three here and focus on the last.

The Benefits

First, we know that “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), powerful enough to convict us of sins and move us to purity (Psalm 119:9). Since Jesus himself overcame temptations by quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11), how much more should we? God’s Word is the nourishment our soul needs to stay healthy.

Secondly, the psalmist goes on in his Psalm 119 mega-prayer to express a most profound truth. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” (verse 105). And “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (verse 130). Reading the Bible helps us to navigate in this dark world, guiding us on our journey through life. But how much better to have portions memorized such that the light is more readily shining for us!

Finally, memorizing Bible passages takes us up to the next level of understanding Scripture, and more importantly, to a more intimate devotion, drawing us closer to the heart of God. The Psalms especially provide an array of excellent passages for meditation. It is the spiritual equivalent of savoring a chunk of chocolate as it slowly melts in the mouth. Once a Psalm is memorized it is wonderful to just relax, letting the prayers and words of praise become our own, all the while basking in the Lord’s presence.

The Challenge

I suffer from migraine headaches, and years ago I found that recalling Scripture, especially Psalms, helps me to deflect the pain and relax. So I have been memorizing Psalms (and other Bible passages) as this blesses me in amazing ways. Even when hurting so bad that it is difficult to pray, for some reason it is easy to recall those Psalms and meditate on them as prayers. This helps not only to cope with pain but likewise dealing with negative feelings and sorrow.

Memorizing seems difficult at first but gets easier. Start with the familiar Psalm 23, which is very intimate and has great depth. I went on to memorize more and have quite a selection of favorites such as Psalms 1, 8, 16, 19, 24, 32, 34, 46, 51, 57, 63, 100, 103 and 121. These include Psalms for praise, confession and contemplation. Consider using the Blue Letter Bible app, which has a My Bookmarks for saving favorite passages and a night mode for reading in the dark.

Bottom line, memorizing God's Word provides a very personal experience that not only helps us to fight temptations, but aids in our understanding of the passage, enhances our relationship with God and greatly impacts how we think, feel, speak and behave.

Read more Theology Thursday blogs and learn about theology and ministry degree programs offered by GCU's College of Theology today.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.