Memorizing for the Endtimes

By Dan Vis
March 29, 2021
Comments: 48

Our enrollment window for this years spring session of the Breakout Memory Challenge closes today. And to round out our series on memorization and the endtimes, I thought I would repost this highlighting what I see as a significant misconception about memorization. Specifically, its role in the last days.

Beasts of Bible Prophecy

Many years ago, I had a very interesting conversation about memorization and the last days. At the time, I was working at a small Christian college, and we were organizing multiple FAST teams on campus to encourage students and staff to memorize Scripture. One day, a fellow teacher came up to me to share how he had decided to join one of the groups. The reason? He had just happened to come across this quote in his personal devotions, and it had convicted him to get involved:

None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict. Great Controversy, p. 593.

Over the years I've shared this quote many times, and used it to urge memorization as an important preparation for the end times. And I still believe today it is something every believer should do.

The book of Revelation suggests the same thing:

Revelation 3:10-1110 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

However, as I've reflected on this quote over the years, I've come to the conclusion many people don't really understand WHY memorization is so vital. To truly appreciate its importance, we must correctly understand its function in the last days.

A Common Misconception

Often when sharing this quote with people, I'll get an enthusiastic affirmation along these lines: "Oh yes, we need to memorize Scripture because one day our Bibles are going to be taken away from us."

That's certainly a distinct possibility, and were it to happen, we'd be glad to have as much Scripture memorized as possible. But I don't believe this is the primary emphasis in this particular quote.

Personally, I'm skeptical access to the Scriptures is going to be a major problem in the last days. Bibles are available everywhere. Physical copies can be picked up in any thrift store for pennies, and you can access it online from any connected device for free from a multitude of sources. Even if we were to be arrested, Christian organizations work hard to make sure Bibles are available there too.

Some people point to this passage in the book of Amos:

Amos 8:11-12
11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

But it's my opinion this is talking about widespread confusion about the true meaning of the Bible. And in fact, these words are being fulfilled already. In the vast majority of Christian churches, it's becoming increasingly difficult to hear solid Bible teachings though there are Bibles on every pew. And the problem is only going to get worse, with or without Bibles around.

While the enemy worked through much of the dark ages by limiting access to the Bible, in our day he seems to be intent on showing darkness can prevail even when Scripture is widely available.

Our best argument for memorization is not the off chance we will one day lose access to Bible. If anything, the massive availability of Scripture is given by many as an argument against our need to memorize. It's at our fingertips on any phone.

The Real Reason

I'd like to suggest another motivation to memorize. And it's simply this: memorization is a powerful way to internalize Scripture. To build it into our life. If done correctly, memorization promotes careful meditation and application. And it is the consistent implementation of biblical principles that leads to true character transformation.

Memorization allows us to keep Scripture with us in a way that's different from our smart phone. When memorized, the Holy Spirit can flash into our mind just the verse we need to know God's will in any situation--to steer and direct our life in a way no app can do.

Going back to the quote I mentioned at the beginning of this article, this is exactly what seems to be the emphasis of the context. Here's how that same paragraph begins:

Those who endeavor to obey all the commandments of God will be opposed and derided. They can stand only in God. In order to endure the trial before them, they must understand the will of God as revealed in His word; they can honor Him only as they have a right conception of His character, government, and purposes, and act in accordance with them.

And here's the remaining portion of the paragraph:

To every soul will come the searching test: Shall I obey God rather than men? The decisive hour is even now at hand. Are our feet planted on the rock of God's immutable word? Are we prepared to stand firm in defense of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?

The passage is clear. We need to fortify our minds with Scripture because a great test is coming. God's people will be opposed and derided, pressured to obey man rather than God. Their only hope of enduring this test is to know the will of God personally, and intimately, and to have a well-developed pattern of personal obedience to God. If we want to stand then, we must learn to stand now.

Memorization merely because we may have our Bibles taken away one day is not enough. We need to memorize with a determined resolve to reflect on every verse we learn in pursuit of principles we can connect to our daily life. And an equally firm commitment to act on every principle we find. To make careful personal applications day by day.

That's the process every believer should pursue. And the reason every believer should incorporate memorization into their walk with God. A time of great test is coming--but it's going to be a test over personal obedience. Building a habit of memorization that promotes and encourages personal obedience is going to be our best preparation for what's just ahead.



Comments

What do you think? Will just being able to recite long passages be enough for earth's final test? How important is it to memorize with a serious commitment to personal application? How would you assess your approach to memorization?

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Posted by Dan Vis on 03/30/21  
That's a beautiful post Del Jeanne! Couldn't have put it any better. May God give all of us that same kind of longing for a real experience in the Word. Thanks for sharing! :)
Posted by Del Jeanne Mathews on 03/29/21  
No, just being able to recite long passages of Scripture will not fortify us for our final test. We must meditate on the Scriptures, particularly the ones that will prepare us to withstand all of Satan's temptations, and see through his deceptions. I do enjoy memorizing some longer passages for their sheer beauty, and each of them contains beautiful promises that can be claimed in particular situations; but I want my memorizing to draw me closer to my Savior, transform me into His likeness (II Corinthians 3:18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.), and equip me with the full armor of God, so that I will be victorious against all of Satan's attacks.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/23/20  
It's been great having you here Dicky! A great encouragement to me.

Thanks for highlighting that line Georgia. I think that was indeed the key point! And what a great quote to cap things off with. So powerful, and fits in so perfect. Great post!

Yes kok, reading definitely familiarizes us with the Bible and helps make memorizing easier. In our Breakout Memory Challenge we teach a concept called pre-memorizing which is connected with this idea. And of course reading has its own benefits...
Posted by kok on 11/23/20  
I think when we make it habit of reading the bible every often, as result some this verses of bible may stuck in our mind. The more we read the scripture, it will be easier for us to memorize the verses of the bible. And also invite the holy spirit be with us when we read the scripture.

Posted by Georgia Kenny on 11/23/20  
Very apt points. Gods way is always much deeper than the surface understanding.

I believe this sections summarised the article best for me: “Their only hope of enduring this test is to know the will of God personally, and intimately, and to have a well-developed pattern of personal obedience to God”.
There’s so much more to knowing the Bible than even being able to quote it - it MUST enter our life.

“it is another thing to regard [the Bible] as it really is—the word of the living God, the word that is our life, the word that is to mold our actions, our words, and our thoughts. To hold God’s word as anything less than this is to reject it.” - Education 260.1
Posted by Dicky on 11/22/20  
kok That's so true. And I am so helped by the Crash Course in FAST mission, in January 2020, I started the memorization journey, that has been sustained. I recommend you this fantastic course.
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/11/20  
Amen! Definitely seems time is short these days. So important to be as fully prepared as possible. Let's keep working at it Norine!
Posted by Norine on 11/09/20  
I want to be prepared to stand the Test and trials that will be coming upon those who want to be saved in God's Kingdom.
Therefore I want to fortify my mind with Bible Study and Prayer so that I will be ready for the soon Coming of Jesus.
I want to memorize His Word and keep it in my thoughts so that I will not be deceived to give the words of man priority over the Word Of God
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/31/20  
It is nice to have a couple slightly longer passages filed away for now and then. :)

And wow, what a nice chapter!
Posted by Qing Ling on 10/31/20  
Christine makes sense :)
Posted by Christine on 10/30/20  
Qing, I find that short verses are great as "snacks" or "juices". ;) They keep you going and in living communion with God. So true.

Psalms 46 is one passage I memorised this year as I already knew 2 of its 11 verses and it describes end times. I enjoy having some "main course" that gives you the big picture, the context and intent of the writer.
Then I can also pick one taste of this or another taste of that from the passage. As the Spirit leads.
You get the best of both worlds. :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/30/20  
That's awesome Qing! You know that's exactly what I recommend and for that exact reason. Great post! I've tried several longer passages too, but it just doesn't have the same impact as grabbing some specific verse direct from the Lord and really chewing on it for awhile, and then looking for the next one... It's like following breadcrumbs!
Posted by Qing Ling on 10/30/20  
my accountability partner knows I veer towards only memorising short verses. reciting long passages is not at all my goal with memorising scripture. It's definitely for the purpose of connecting heart to heart with my heavenly Father who reveals wonderful insights into my life and character through timely Scripture verses... it's all about the daily lived experience of engaging with the LIVING WORD as opposed to a rote learning exercise.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/28/20  
I'm sensing the very same urgency Christine! Let's stay faithful. :)
Posted by Christine on 10/28/20  
So glad to reconnect after some real busy time for studies and other things. :)
Praise God all is well, and I'm pressing forward with His strength. Isaiah 40:29-3129 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Really good to see the beautiful changes on the site, great work!

I enjoyed this discussion and will just add that my memorisation changed some time ago as I definitely gear it to present and appropriate preparation as well as future battle. Revelation 3:10Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth..
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/28/20  
Great post Christine! Excellent points. Agree completely. :)

Nice to see you around here at FAST. It's been awhile. I trust all is well.
Posted by Christine on 10/27/20  
The example of Adam & Eve failing the earth's former test is telling.
Their memories were pure and perfect and they had clear knowledge of the word of God about the foe and the danger of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
They made a conscious choice to disobey the will of God.

One may not know any Bible verse by heart nevertheless obey fully to every ray of light God has shed on one's way. That's what fortifying the mind through God's word means. Your mind has become an impenetrable fort to Satan's devices and is single-minded to the glory and honour of God. Bible memorisation is no magics but a way for God to build that fort stone by stone as we cooperate with Him through the Holy Spirit. Just like "Daniel purposed in his heart" to not disobey.

Jesus showed the way when tempted by Satan in the wilderness. First He purposed to do His Father's will, not his. Then He was able to resist with the appropriate truth contained in specific verses and their full context.

So yes I totally agree with you Dan that memorising Scripture is an aid to personal obedience. And it goes together with meditating, discerning, applying, sharing, etc.

This said, if one's thrown into prison for the sake of God's truth with no access to the Bible and one can recall verses from memory, then that's a real bonus. We can speculate that when the singing by Paul and Silas were based on the Word of God.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/25/20  
Yes, so true Diane! That's what we really need--that constant help in time of trouble, and deep insight into the character of God. Memorizing is rarely easy for most of us, but the only real obstacle we have to overcome is consistency in our review. If can manage that, memorization will just get easier and easier over time.
Posted by Diane Teale on 10/25/20  
Memorizing will not only hide God's word in our heart, but will help us in time of need and show us God's true character. it comes hard for me and I have slacked off. I am praying God will not only give me the desire but, give me the ability to memorize better.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/24/20  
Yes, kok! So true. His words ARE living and active. Such a great reason to fill our hearts with them! :)
Posted by kok on 10/24/20  
Memorize bible verses to claim God's promises and feel closer to God. Because the words of God are living and active
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/23/20  
Great posts everyone. Thanks Carla for your emphasis on that very important point--that the real test will be over personal obedience. And memorization is a key to promoting that. Important.

And Bert, your whole comment was powerful. I love where you wrote that Jesus "is in the Bible in written form" and that memorization "allows The Holy Spirit to bring out the Word at His good pleasure when Sharing with others". Such profound points.

Let that be the prayer of all of us jolame!
Posted by jolame on 10/22/20  
Yes, let the word of God be in our head,and heart knowledge, so I can be changed.
Posted by Bert Hopkins on 10/22/20  
The reason I want to memorize Sripture is to change me. I know from sad experience how weak and powerless I am without consistently spending time with God in His word and prayer. It enables me to be connected with Jesus. Who is in The Bible in written form I believe. It also allows The Holy Spirit to bring out the Word at His good pleasure when Sharing with others . I praise God for His Word. ThankYou Fast for all You do it is changing my life. Blessings.
Posted by Carla Phillips on 10/21/20  
Very important read.   I like where you said a great test is coming but it will be a test of personal obedience and how memorization encourages personal obedience and how it will be our best preparation for what's ahead . Noting this in mind.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/20/20  
Amen Fawna! Having the Word internalized enables us to give an answer for our beliefs in a way that is more effective than just knowing the answers are somewhere there in the Bible. And we definitely need to be preparing ourselves to give those kinds of answers...
Posted by Fawna Sutton on 10/20/20  
Lord help us to have a reason for our faith!
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/19/20  
Agree completely about our need to allow the Word to recite us. And I think all of us struggle with begin at least a little lazy at times. :) We will be running our Breakout Memory Challenge starting November 1. A great way to revitalize your memorization Debbie! :)
Posted by Debbie Williams on 10/19/20  
No, we must internalize the Word of God (let it change how we think, what we say, our motives and how we view others). I’m very lazy about memorization, and if not often repeated, I easily forget what I’ve memorized.
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/19/20  
Donna, that's exactly the kind of thing this article is talking about. Learning to truly internalize Scripture so that can begin it's work of real transformation in the character and life--so essential.

This seems to me the real reason we need to accelerate our memorization, don't you think?
Posted by Donna Reinhardt Wilkinson on 10/19/20  
Some verses just STAND out to me, either for a situation, or for others. Some convict me (II Corinthians 6:19 ...pops in when I'm not treating this body as a temple)...Proverbs 11:13A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter., ephesian 4:29 pops in when I want to fling around choice words or say something unkind)..Proverbs 20:4The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. when jotting down birthday wishes etc..it filters through my thoughts ..left to our own minds..well lets face it we are hopeless...some evoke the need to give praise, thanks, chase away fear..it is a lifeline, direct to the Father of us all...a present help in times of trouble..
Posted by Del Jeanne Mathews on 11/21/19  
Yes, the primary reason to internalize God's Word is that "by these we might be partakers of the divine nature." (There will come a time, however, that we will not have access to electronic or thrift store Bibles, when we cannot buy or sell.)
Posted by Dan Vis on 11/01/19  
I've also heard it said they take our Bible's away every night when we turn out the light to go to sleep. So much better all the way around to have the Scriptures thoroughly internalized! Thanks John, great point...
Posted by John Gilmore on 11/01/19  
I, too, have felt that the future prospect of Bibles being taken away was a weak argument. The Bible is not a talisman or good luck charm. To be more real, how many of us carry our Bibles with us and open them during witnessing opportunities today, let alone times of trial? Sure, we know things will get worse, but the time of trial has already begun. It's now that we need His Word in our hearts (Psalms 119:11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.)!
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/31/19  
Definitely agree Nan. And a great promise there. :)
Posted by Nan on 10/31/19  
Dan, I have learned that memorizing Abba's Word is a precious gift from on high which has been a great blessing in my trying moments of Life and also in my peaceful moments. II Peter 1:4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. has been an inspiration...
Abba bless!
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/29/19  
Joyce, just do one of the reviews each day, and you'll get through your entire back review every month with a few days to spare. At least that's the idea! :)
Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 10/29/19  
Dan Yes, I have tried it. It is a good review too. I'm a little slower though I can't do all of them at once. :)
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/29/19  
That's fantastic Ann! 400 verses is quite an achievement. Praise God!!!

You are very welcome Joyce! And it's true, there is a never ending supply of jewel in the Bible. As for doing your verses in order, have you tried our Full Bible Review tool? It does that automatically. I love it, and it really does help with references...

Glad you enjoyed this Carla. If you haven't yet signed up for the Breakout Memory Challenge, please do. Enrollment closes today!
Posted by Carla Phillips on 10/28/19  
I read this to my husband. Excellent read, and I truly believe memorizing scripture is very important. I will try to get better at my memorization skills. Thank you .
Posted by Joyce Augustinis on 10/28/19  
Dan Thank you for the thoughts. I appreciate all the things that you bring together in connection. I really love memorizing the verses more than just reading them (although chapter reading is good too) and I keep finding so many verses that are a blessing and bring peace in the face of anxiety. I just re-arranged my verses in order and it has actually been easier to remember and to memorize when I don't have the cards. But back to the purpose, I am learning to put these verses into practice in daily life and it is changing the way that I relate to God in prayer and in talking with him. It is nice to feel that I'm growing in grace.
Posted by Ann Lavenburg on 10/28/19  
Memorization of scripture is truly a great way to grow spiritually. I had a few memorized before I started using this program about 4 years ago. I am only now reaching 400 verses due to my defective memory at almost 65. But every scripture, even though I struggle at times, is a blessing and I frequently remind myself of the promise in John 14:26But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you..
Posted by Dan Vis on 10/28/19  
Thanks for the affirmation everyone! Let's keep standing firm Diane! And let's keep enjoying the presence of God's Spirit through His Word Valerie. :)

Carole, it would be great to have you in our Breakout Memory Challenge again. A great way to get back into memorizing once more. Enrollment closes tomorrow...
Posted by Carole Bliss on 10/28/19  
When I did memorizing before, it is amazing how verses come to mind when needed. I intend to go over these verses again, I am so aware of the need to store scripture in my mind to share with others and for my own need. We are in a real battle. God bless, Carole
Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 10/28/19  
"If done correctly, memorization promotes careful meditation and application. And it is the consistent implementation of biblical principles that leads to true character transformation."
This sums it up perfectly. I am one of those who have told people that we need to memorize Scripture because one day our Bibles will be taken from us but this memo puts that belief into a better perspective for me.
I memorize scripture because I love God's Word and love walking with Him.   I love experiencing the presence of God's Spirit through His Word so I don't have to be afraid of what might happen to my Bible. It is in my heart.
I praise God for this Monday Memo Dan!
Posted by Diane Castanon on 10/28/19  
Spot on! From my experience in taking classes at FAST for the past 4+ years, this is what I’ve learned.

It has been my desire to be able to stand firm no matter what comes my way, and have my character changed from glory to glory, so that others will desire the peace, compassion, mercy, and Love that I have in Jesus. I have also learned to link scripture with scripture... need I say more...🥰
Posted by Wayne E Smith on 10/28/19  
Thanks Pastor Dan. I agree.




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