Nothing Can Replace Bible Memory

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By John Piper About Sanctification & Growth
Part of the series Message Excerpt

Audio Transcript

Nothing in the Bible says you have to memorize the Bible. There’s not a verse in the Bible that says you have to memorize the Bible.

First, a broad biblical answer: What does this abiding of the word of Jesus in us the way we’ve been talking have to do with Bible memory? It goes like this. It’s a sequence of thoughts. The Holy Spirit awakens life and faith and personal transformation. That’s his work. Got that now? The Holy Spirit — God the Spirit — awakens life, quickens life and begets faith. And through life and faith he transforms people — love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, meekness, faithfulness, self-control. These are his fruit and his work. We don’t do that. God does that. That’s step one in the sequence of thought.

And he does it through the word. The Holy Spirit awakens through the word and transforms through the word.

So new birth and sanctification are the work of God, not any other way than by the word. The word is huge. You need to ask, “Well, how then does it work?” The Bible is the word. So I’m going to make a little harness, sort of like a holster for a pistol, and wear this all day on my heart. And I’m going to walk around. Will God sanctify this to me and transform me because I’m carrying it there?

The answer is No. The answer’s no because God created you with a brain. He didn’t have to. He created you with a consciousness. He created you with a will and emotions and thought. And the way he ordains for Christ to be magnified through his word is for there to be a connection created with these words and this brain, and then this will and this heart. If you just try to stick it in your back pocket and never read it so there’s no connection between the meaning of these words and your brain, it has zero effect in your life.

Meditate on the law of the Lord day and night because a connection is established, and by the connection of the meaning of God in his holy word and my construction of that meaning in my brain and its effect on my will and my heart, I’m changed by the Holy Spirit’s using all that seemingly natural process for our change.

My answer to what’s all this got to do with memorizing the Scripture is this: When we memorize Scripture, we make that connection between the Bible, our mind, and our heart more constant, more deep, and more transforming. I’ll venture this: Realistically, nothing can replace it. Nothing can replace Bible memory in doing what it was designed to do — forging a connection between the word, the head, and the heart.

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