9 Common Excuses for Not Memorizing Scripture (And How to Overcome Them)

The Deceitful Human Heart

The human heart is deceitful and twisted in so many ways (Jer. 17:9). We can make amazing excuses for not doing things that the Lord has commanded that would richly benefit us. I want to briefly expose and refute a number of the more common excuses for not memorizing Scripture:

1. “I Don’t Have a Good Memory.”

Actually, you have a much better memory than you think. Consider how many song lyrics you have memorized—many of which you don’t even like! Consider how many facts of history or literature are burned in your mind. Consider how many phone numbers, addresses, and significant dates are written permanently on your heart. You have a sufficiently good memory to begin memorizing Scripture. And the more you do, the better your memory will become.

How to Memorize Scripture for Life

Andrew M. Davis

Through his years of experience in extended Scripture memorization, Andrew M. Davis helps readers commit to studying God’s word so they may grow in holiness, resist temptation, and share the gospel with lost people.

2. “It Will Take Too Much Time.”

This is really an exposure of your priority structures. We make time for whatever is truly important to us. I don’t deny that memorizing books of the Bible is very time consuming, but it is also invaluable and rewarding.

3. “I’m Too Busy.”

This is another version of the previous excuse. It all comes down to your priorities, to the value you place on the word of God and on your spiritual health. Admittedly, some seasons of life are busier than others, and in those times, your memorization may be greatly reduced. But a settled pattern of your life should be to work daily on memorizing Scripture.

4. “I’m Not Very Interested.”

Ouch! This is one of the worst excuses of all. At least this individual is honest. But honest about what? That he or she has little interest in the word of God? Such an attitude reflects a heart that is in great spiritual danger and may even be unregenerate. A Christian loves the word of God and hungers for it.

5. “I’ve Tried Before, and It Never Really Worked.”

Scripture memorization doesn’t “work.” We work. Memorization requires hard work, but God can give us the strength to do it by his Spirit. Scripture memorization is a discipline that will become stronger and stronger as we exercise our memory more and more.

The word of God is lavish in its promises of blessing to all who will trust it and follow it.

6. “I Don’t See the Benefit of Working on It That Hard.”

The word of God is lavish in its promises of blessing to all who will trust it and follow it. Psalm 1:1–3 promises that, if we meditate on God’s word day and night, we will be blessed in whatever we do. What could be better than that? The New Testament links that blessing directly to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Through Scripture, we come to faith in Christ, and through Scripture we flourish in that faith. Nothing can make you spiritually richer than the word of God.

7. “If I Read the Bible Every Day, Why Do I Need to Memorize It?”

Obviously, it is true that a consistent pattern of reading the word of God is sufficient to feed your soul. A broad knowledge of the whole of God’s word is vital. But memorization provides a deep knowledge. If we work very hard at memorization, we will memorize only a fraction of the overall Bible. We will get value out of whatever we read from God’s word, but I believe the value is proportional to our understanding and internalization of the word. And the more deeply we meditate on and absorb those truths, the more profoundly we will be blessed.

8. “I Don’t Know What Translation to Use.”

The choice of a proper translation is a weighty one since we will be committed to that choice for years. There are no perfect translations, but in English, there are many excellent ones. I recommend that you research the strengths and weaknesses of the major translations and make a wise choice. Then go ahead and start memorizing—and don’t look back.

9. “I Might Become Prideful.”

The shocking news proclaimed by the Bible is that you’re already prideful! We all are. Pride is deeply woven into the fabric of our sinful nature. The word of God is the remedy for pride, not its cause. If you struggle with pride, then memorize some verses on pride and/or humility. But to refrain from memorizing because you might become prideful is foolish. Rather, ask God to keep you humble as you learn the richness of his word.

This article is adapted from How to Memorize Scripture for Life: From One Verse to Entire Books by Andrew M. Davis.

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