Benefits of Memorizing the Book of Romans
“C’mon, Mom. Let’s do it.” When a daughter suggests memorizing a chapter of the Bible together, what can you say? So we memorized the eighth chapter of Romans this past spring. And I have to say, it was exhilarating! My spirit soared as Paul built his case for life in the Spirit, our adoption, the glory to be revealed to us, and the deep love of Christ for his saints. And at some point, it hit me—I am a 65-year-old Christian woman. What have I been doing all these years? Sure, I have throughout my life memorized many Bible verses, psalms, and chapters of the Bible here and there. But by this point, why have I not memorized more of the Scriptures? There’s no excuse! So I turned back to the first chapter of Romans and decided to go for it. I quit checking Facebook and put down my phone. By November the Lord enabled me to commit all 16 chapters of the epistle to memory. I wish I had words to express the profound and life-altering impact memorizing this Scripture has had on me. Here are just a few of those benefits:
- Discovery of passages hidden in plain sight – I think the “famous” verses that we know and love have obscured the verses coming right before or right after. Take Romans 3:23, for example: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Lifting that verse out of the chapter, I had lost the meaning and the glory of that whole section. I had no idea how all of chapter 3 is building to a crescendo, culminating in the magnificent declaration of verses 21 and following:
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Or where has Romans 8:27 been all my life? Of course, Romans 8:28 is one of the most dearly loved and cherished verses of all time, but memorizing the whole chapter brought 8:27 to me in a new way. ”And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” “He who searches hearts”—I love that! A gem I had been completely missing.
And chapter 4? After slogging through verses 9–12 and the ten times the word circumcision is used … I was thinking I’ll never make it! Then I hit verse 13, and the light came on and I was glorying in a “new” old passage of Scripture as if for the first time. I’d like to list all those precious truths for you here. Take my word for it, or better yet—memorize it yourself! Not only were these verses more glorious because I knew them as part of the whole, but the entire chapter made sense and fit together.
- Understanding of the Scripture – I’m not a Bible scholar and I’ve never studied Greek, but I will say that sections that seemed complicated or repetitive—or that I frankly did not get—became clearer and more understandable to me as I worked them over and over and over, and as the living and active Word of God pierced my heart and mind, through the Holy Spirit. My husband has also been preaching through Romans this year, and as he came to passages I had memorized, they were unlocked for me in a completely new way.
- Weapon against anxiety – In those moments before falling asleep, or in the wakeful times of the night, rather than rehearsing and rehashing my latest worry, I can pull up Romans in my mind and eventually drift off to sleep. Start at Romans 1 or Romans 5 or Romans 8, it doesn’t matter. Not only am I distracted from my worry, but the Spirit uses the balm of the Scripture to soothe my mind and give me peace.
- Love of Scripture – The Letter to the Romans had always seemed like mostly a theological textbook to me. Yes, the doctrines of Christianity stand tall in this book, and now I have a greater love for them all than I ever had before. The righteous shall live by faith; there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus; therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. I could keep going! I cannot tell you how much dearer these all are to me now that the passages are etched in my heart and mind.
- Duty becomes delight – Yes, I probably began this project with a sense of duty, but that quickly turned to a joy. Once I got a chapter down, I couldn’t wait to move on to the next one. I really can’t explain this. It has been a gift of the Spirit to me.
- Renewal of the mind – Romans 12:2 commands us to “not be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewal of our mind.” The more the words, phrases, and paragraphs of Paul’s letter become second nature to me, I know the less I will be conformed to the world’s way of thinking and my mind will be transformed by the Scriptures.
- Keen sense of the love of Christ for me – Somewhere in Romans 8 I became overwhelmed with a keen and palpable awareness of the love that the Lord Jesus Christ has for me in a way I have never experienced it. Again, I cannot explain this except that it has happened as the words of this exquisite chapter have become part of me. It is the Lord’s doing.
- A soaring of my spirit – Reflecting on, pondering, meditating, and memorizing these chapters has literally lifted my spirit and caused me to praise God in a new and vital way as I consider the “revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages, but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.”
If you’ve had a conversation with my dad in the last few months, you’ve already heard this story. I’m sure even his mailman knows his daughter memorized Romans. But Dad doesn’t stop there. Like any good father, the question he’s asking me now is, “So, what are you working on next?” There are 65 more books. Ephesians is next on my list. Starting on Chapter 1…
Beth Myers - is a Curriculum Specialist for Great Commission Publications and the wife of PCA pastor, Rev. Tom Myers. She is also a mother, grandmother and member of First Pres.Church Villa Rica, GA.