Proverbs 22:18-19

Memorizing Scripture

Introduction:

1. This passage speaks to us concerning the value and joy of memorizing Scripture.

2. Keep in mind that we have entered into a portion of Proverbs that has a context.

3. This section of Proverbs contains “thirty wise sayings” (the words of the wise). (22:17-24:34)

4. They are no longer found in single, isolated verses, but are found in clusters (2-3) verses for each saying.

5. The first cluster is found in vs. 17-19.

6. Verse 19 introduces this saying by challenging the readers to bow down our ears (listen – pay attention) and apply the knowledge found therein to our own hearts and lives.

7. Note the progression in the three exhortations:

a. Bow down thine ear (bend the ear; incline the ear; turn it towards the sound).

b. Hear the words (hear with great interest; paying attention to so as to understand).

c. Apply thine heart (set the mind and heart to an attitude of devotion, with corresponding action).

Memorizing Scripture is Pleasant

For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee;

1. “Keep them within thee”

a. THEM:
• In context, “them” refers to the “words of the wise” in vs.17.
• The readers are to pay attention to them and to apply them to their heart.
• Now Solomon says that the readers are to MEMORIZE them.

b. KEEP:
• This word keep has many shades of meaning and is translated variously in different contexts.
• It means: Keep; i.e., cause a state or condition to remain; to watch; to keep; to preserve; to guard.
• In this context it means to keep in the sense of to keep, to retain, to treasure up (in memory)

c. WITHIN THEE:
• Literally this means “in your belly”
• Since we don’t think of the belly or stomach as a place for words of wisdom, we might say instead, “keep them within your heart.”
• A couple of translations translated this keep them in your: heart or mind.

d. In other words, we are to retain these words of wisdom on the inside: deep down within our INNER man.
• We retain them by memorizing them.
• We retain them by listening carefully to them, applying them to our heart in obedience, and then memorizing them.
• Rote memorization is probably the best way to BEGIN to retain them.
• But Solomon had in mind a deep inner understanding of the principles involved… so that these truths become OURS.
• They become ours first by memorizing them, but more importantly by obeying them… practicing them… living them out in our daily lives.
• But you have to KNOW what the wise principle IS before you can live it and practice it. That’s where memorization comes in.
• Ps. 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

e. Note the “IF”
• There is great value to memorizing Scripture.
• But Solomon is aware of the fact that not everyone WILL memorize Scripture.
• But IF you do, there is great value to it.
• We might liken this to a New Testament passage: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” (Col. 3:16)

2. Memorizing Scripture is PLEASANT

a. Pleasant:
• Pleasant; delightful; sweet; lovely; agreeable; beautiful; attractive.
• It is used of persons who are pleasing, a joy to be around.
• David eulogized Saul and Jonathan in their death by saying, “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives.”
• He was saying that they were a joy to be around. (Though it is hard to see how he could say this of Saul! Eulogies do tend to go a bit overboard at times.)
• Ps. 135:3 – the Lord’s name is “pleasant” (translated good).

b. “For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee.”
• The point Solomon makes here is that when believers bow before the Word, let it sink in, obey it, live it, and RETAIN it in their hearts by memorizing it, it is a pleasant thing.
• It is a joy to memorize Scripture. It is a delight to the one who memorizes Scripture. It is sweet and pleasant. It is a beautiful thing… and of great value.
• Prov. 2:10 – “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul.”
• Jer. 15:16 – “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart.”
• When the Word of Christ is dwelling in our hearts richly, it results in singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. That is pleasant. Singing springs from joy.

3. The progression continues:

a. Bow down thine ear (bend the ear; incline the ear; turn it towards the sound).

b. Hear the words (hear with great interest; paying attention to so as to understand).

c. Apply thine heart (set the mind and heart to an attitude of devotion, with corresponding action).

d. Memorize them by retaining them in your heart.

4. Solomon states that while this requires effort and diligence, and may require a change of lifestyle, it is in the end “pleasant.”

a. Next Solomon explains WHY memorizing Scripture is pleasant.

Memorizing Scripture is Appropriate for Daily Conversation:

They shall withal be fitted in thy lips.

1. Fitted:

a. To be firm, be stable, be established; fixed; ready; enduring; firmly established; ready.

b. In this context, “fitted” means to be established on the lips; fixed on your lips; an established fixture of your conversation… and ready for use.

2. Once Scripture is memorized, they are established on thy lips; always ready on your lips.

a. They are retained deep down in the heart and mind.

b. Thus, whatever is in the heart flows forth from the lips.

c. Jesus said that those things which proceed from the mouth come forth from the heart (Matt. 15:18).
• Unfortunately, EVIL things lurk in our evil hearts.
• But the new, regenerated, Spirit filled heart brings forth good things.
• And if we are memorizing Scripture, then good things from God’s Word will flow from our lips.

3. This is pleasant!

a. When believers gather together for fellowship, and they have bowed before the Word, humbled themselves before it, and hid it in their hearts… then it is going to flow off their lips easily.

b. And as believers gather to fellowship together, and God’s Word is flowing off their lips… words of wisdom are shared, then it is pleasant.
• Here’s an odd thing: The world thinks that the Bible will RUIN all their pleasure. Yet in reality, it is the SOURCE of our true pleasure.
• To the believer the Word of God is sweeter than a honeycomb…

c. Then the fellowship is sweet and beautiful.

d. The person who has God’s Word hidden in his or her heart is a JOY and a delight to be around.
• For one thing, if God’s word is REALLY in their heart, then they will be robed in humility.
• Ps. 131:1 – “LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.”
• The humble believer will not constantly quote Scripture to boast about how much Scripture he has memorized.
• He will be more concerned about sharing TRUTH from Scripture than quoting paragraphs.
• Sometimes just sharing one pertinent phrase from a passage will be just as edifying as quoting the whole chapter.
• Prov. 25:11 – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
• This is pleasant. It is helpful, encouraging, and edifying.
• Prov.15:23 – “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”
• The believer who hides God’s Word in his heart and knows which truth to share… and is discerning enough to know when to share it, is a DELIGHT to be around.
• This makes for pleasant, joyous, encouraging conversation and fellowship.

e. However, conversation that centers on the Word of God is not pleasant for everyone.
• If your heart is not right with God, such conversation might make you uncomfortable.
• If you have been saved many years and yet have not grown, and you know that you SHOULD know the Scriptures, then you too might be uncomfortable when the Word is discussed… You might feel “left out” of the conversation.
• The answer is found in these words of wisdom: bow down your ear, HEAR the words of the wise, and apply your heart to it! Then memorize the Word yourself, and you will find such conversation pleasant to your soul too!

Memorizing Scripture Encourages Faith:

That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.

1. THAT: Here Solomon states one of the purposes of fellowshipping around God’s Word: “that your trust may be in the Lord.”

a. When believers memorize Scripture, and truth from God’s Word is firmly fixed in their lips such that it is a part of their everyday conversation—that is pleasant.

b. It also aids in bolstering the faith of others!

c. When God’s Word is in our hearts and flows from our lips as we fellowship together, it is pleasant because it enables us to continue trusting in the Lord.

2. This is why Solomon revealed these words of wisdom concerning memorizing Scripture.

a. Why? So that we might be instruments God uses to encourage others to trust in the Lord.

b. As we fellowship together and discuss our lives, our struggles, and our difficulties, the Holy Spirit is able to use the words of Scripture that you have memorized to minister to His people.

c. God’s wisdom (and for us, the word of Christ) is retained (dwelling) in our hearts, then we will be teaching and admonishing one another. That’s the PURPOSE of the word in our hearts.

d. The better we know the Word, the better equipped we are to encourage a believer to TRUST in the Lord… to continue walking by faith… to encourage him NOT to throw in the towel and quit…

e. If we will keep these words of wisdom in our belly and fix them on our lips, then God can use US to encourage others to continue trusting in the Lord.

3. Solomon concludes this section by emphasizing the fact that he himself made this known to his readers. He wants us ALL to know this.