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Memorizing Scripture And Evangelism

1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV) reads:

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

As disciples of Jesus, we must be prepared to answer those who we are witnessing to.  People have questions about God, about faith, about the Bible, about Christianity, about other religions, etc.  People are curious creatures.  Disciples then should have the Word of God hidden in our hearts so that we can be prepared to answer those who question us.  However, people are not going to question us out of the blue (most of the time that is) but rather when we are seeking to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), people will ask questions.  The way to answer people is not by our opinions (they are without authority) but with the Word of God.  The Word is the disciple’s authority to “correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2b NIV).

This is why we must memorize Scripture.  Jesus taught us in John 8:31-32:

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

We must abide in His word.  This happens as we study, apply, and memorize His Word.  This is effectual not just for our own discipleship and sanctification (John 17:17) but also for evangelism.

It has been amazing to me that when I apply myself to memorizing the Word, the Holy Spirit takes His Word and He helps me during evangelism.  While I believe that John 14:26 is applied to the Apostles, the Holy Spirit still gives us power to take His Word and to teach unbelievers.  This is the means of grace that God uses to draw sinners to Himself (John 6:44-45; Romans 10:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).  Jesus promised in John 12:32 that if He was lifted up, He would draw all people unto Himself.  This happens as we preach the gospel to the lost.  This happens as we take the Word of God and preach it to the lost and answer them with the Word.

The Bible is a supernatural book (2 Timothy 3:16).  The Bible is the special revelation from God that He uses to reveal Himself (Genesis 1:1).  The Bible is the sword of the Spirit for the disciple (Ephesians 6:17).  The Bible is the only weapon that God has given to us to fight the enemy (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  The Bible is the inerrant and infallible truth given to us by God that we must use when evangelizing.  How vital it is then to hide the Word in our hearts so that when we are sharing the gospel with the lost, we can respond with the Word when they question us.  And they will question us.  But the Word must be our weapon to respond to the lost.

What Scriptures should we memorize?  This is where Bible study comes into play.  Memorizing an entire book is useful (such as Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 John, etc.) though it does require much time.  Memorizing topical texts on faith, repentance, baptism, the deity of Christ, the authority of the Bible, the person and work of the Spirit, creationism, etc. is also useful.  Years ago I use to take my Thompson Chain Reference Bible and would memorize the chains.

When we begin to apply ourselves to memorizing the Scriptures, the Lord will use our minds to bring forth the Word to the lost.  Countless times I have been witnessing to someone and something I was reading that week in my devotions would come out.  I was often amazed at how the Lord will quicken our minds to know His Word so that we can be prepared to answer those who question us.

On a final note about this.  When sharing our faith, the Word should take the prominent role.  I have heard people say that we should share our testimony or the “four spiritual laws” but I believe the Word should take the prominent role.  The Word cuts to the heart (Hebrews 4:12-13) and the Word is the tool that God uses to reveal His Son (John 20:31).  The Word is how we give God’s answers to the lost.  The Word is the focus of passages such as Mark 4 and the seed.  We plant the seed here and there but the Lord is the one who brings forth the fruit (Mark 4:26-32; 1 Corinthians 3:5-9).  Our jobs is simple: preach/plant the Word (2 Timothy 4:2).  But we must hide His Word in our hearts first so that we can faithfully take His Word out.  I pray that we would all be diligent in memorizing the Word of God (Romans 12:1-2).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/31/2014 at 12:27 PM

2 Responses

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  1. I would add that inviting questions and answers with the word is a good way to use the word in Evangelism. Just two days ago, a seeker friend and I were talking about the woman caught in adultery who was dragged in front of Jesus.

    My friend brought up the story in our conversation. We discussed it. I know the story, so rather then telling him what I know about it, I used questions to help him think about the story. Knowing some of the main preaching points from the text, I formed questions that would help him find those points on his own.

    It was a powerful conversation, centered on the word, but helping my friend listen to the word rather than me.

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