I met for the last time last night with my group that’s memorizing Romans, or at least the tiny handful of survivors of that group who hung on for nearly two and a half years without giving up or getting married or moving away. We recited the whole thing—56 minutes from “Paul” to “Amen”—and then declared ourselves officially done.
Was every word correct? No. Could any of us have done it alone without skipping a paragraph or needing a prompt? Probably not. (At least I couldn’t have.) But, as a group, we got through it pretty smoothly, and I don’t think it’s inaccurate to say that I’ve now memorized the book.
So, why? Hmm. For me, it started off as a challenge—probably to replace the void left by training for an Ironman—and an opportunity to meet some people. (And it was truly great to meet some people.) But soon I started understanding that the point of memorizing is not to achieve something, or even really to “hide the word of God in your heart,” as people like to say. Memorizing is a lot different from reading, or even studying. Memorizing a text puts you right into the head of the writer.
Our pastor’s sermon series added even more context and depth to this understanding, but I found that memorizing alone had really given me all I needed to “get” it—and even to occasionally disagree about some of the points in the sermons. (Maybe I should say question some points; this didn’t magically turn me into a scholar.)
But anyway. Memorizing is a great way to interact with the Bible, assuming you want to (depending on your view) get into God’s head or get into the heads of some of those people who understand Him best. That’s why.