Youth minister Matt Cleaver has a provocative post up called "Against Bible Memorization Programs in Youth Ministry." Here's the bullet point headers:
- Memorization does not equal maturity or discipleship.
- Memorization elevates certain kinds of students over and above other.
- Memorization is not equivalent to “hiding your word in my heart.”
- Most memorization programs are reward-driven competitions.
- Memorization is not a historical spiritual discipline.
- Memorization removes scripture from historical tradition and literary context
I've written before about "The Slow End to Scripture Memory" where knowing where to find scriptural inspiration seems to be replacing actually memorizing what it says. While there are definite advantages to scripture memory, the lack of context or connection often does more harm than good (especially when you use them as weapons against people).
So, what do you think? Is Matt onto something about competition and commodification of Scripture being detrimental to discipleship? Or is memorization and internalization by whatever means necessary for ministry?