Speaking of the life of followers of Jesus in the ancient church we read, “The husband and wife talked of them familiarly as they sat by the domestic hearth; and children were accustomed to commit them to memory. As many of the disciples could not read, and as the expense of manuscripts was considerable, copies of the sacred books were not in the hands of all; but there frequent rehearsal in the public assemblies made the multitude familiar with their contents, and some of the brethren possessed an amount of
Early Church and Memorization
acquaintance with them which, even at the present day, would be deemed marvelous.” The Ancient Church It’s History, Doctrine and Worship Pg.406,407
Looking back at the history of Christianity we discover that it was common for Jesus and His followers to store up God’s word in their heart. We see Jesus quoting the Bible no less than 78 times. Then the Apostles in Acts quote no less than 40 verses. In the quote above we see that it was a part of the early church after the book of Acts. It carried on through much of history largely until sometime in the 1900’s. Yes there were pockets of Christians who carried on the practice, but, by and large, it has faded away from the church.
It seems that much of the modern church has become so caught up in the accouterments of religion that many have gotten away from the blessing that is spoken of in Psalm 1:1-3 which says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” When you look up the definition of the Hebrew word “blessed” you discover that it means happy. Could we have a deeper experience with Jesus if we spent more time meditating on His word?
Paul challenges us to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” As I have said in other posts, what better way to let the word of Christ dwell in us than having it saturate our mind through memorization and prayer.