How To Memorize Scripture
It's probably not as nearly difficult as you think
Do you memorize Scripture? Let me guess; you think you’re a poor memorizer. Most
everyone thinks that. However, the truth is that almost everyone can be a good
memorizer. The problem is that we just don’t try. If we try, we’ll find that memory is like
a muscle, the more we develop it, the stronger it gets.
In addition, studies show that the stronger our memory, the smarter we are in many
arenas. It pays to develop your memory!
Recently I wrote on the subject, “Why I Still Memorize Scripture.” Please check it out.
Here’s a summary of why we should memorize from James 1:25 (NIV): “Whoever looks
intently into the perfect law . . . and continues in it — not forgetting what they have
heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do.” Memorizing = blessing!
In this article I’d like to share some tips on HOW to memorize.
Ten Tips for Memorizing the Bible:
I hope these tips help and encourage you!
1. Memorize passages that are most meaningful to you.
I find that I’m far more energized to memorize when I work on verses that speak
to an issue I’m concerned about or a problem I’m dealing with. Do you have a
habit you’re trying to develop, or a bad habit you’re working to overcome?
There’s no better passage to memorize than one that addresses what you’re
seeking to accomplish.
2. Use a Bible version you can understand easily.
I normally memorize the King James Version. But the only reason for this is that
it is what I started memorizing as a child, and I don’t want to switch midstream.
Nowadays there are so many easy-to-understand Bible versions, if I were starting
over, I would certainly choose one and memorize it. (I actually switch versions
when the KJV is so awkward I can’t hardly understand it and therefore enjoy it.)
God wants the Word to be sweet, like the psalmist described:
How sweet your words taste to me;
they are sweeter than honey.
Your commandments give me understanding;
no wonder I hate every false way of life.
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:103-105 NLT)
A “sweet” passage is certainly one you can understand!
3. Make access to your Scripture memory passages easy.
The harder it is to access your verses, the less likely you’ll be to memorize.
Conversely, the easier they are to access, the more likely you’ll be to memorize.
Here are some ways to make access to your verses easy:
a. Put your Scripture on cards or sheets so you have them with in your wallet
or a purse.
b. If you are electronically inclined, put them on your phone or other device,
using Evernote, or some other app.
c. Use a memorization app. If you search online, there are several apps made
specifically for Scripture memorization.
4. Start small and build confidence.
Learning in smaller bits and pieces can be encouraging and help to keep you
Learn the reference first and then memorize a short phrase at a time. You’ll begin
to recognize that you CAN memorize. It will become easier and easier.
5. Schedule memorization
Things that are haphazard often don’t get accomplished. But “What gets
scheduled gets accomplished.”
If you’re serious about memorizing, have a set time to do it.
For me, it’s part of my morning routine. But don’t think thirty minutes, or even
ten minutes. It’s less than ten minutes. This might seem brief, yet the power of
regularity builds to accomplishment.
Or perhaps you have a commute where you can make memorization part of your
commuting routine. Or maybe while you’re at the sink in the morning. Or on your
lunch break. Or the final thing you do before falling asleep—what a great thing to
meditate on your Scriptures during the night!
6. Say verses and passages out loud to involve more senses.
If you speak the Scripture aloud, you will hear your own voice, you will
physically verbalize it and you will find it easier to focus on the task of
Repeating silently is OK if necessary, but far better to do it out loud.
7. Try reading a verse or passage aloud 50 to 100 times and you might find you have it memorized.
It’s funny what repetition can do. If you read a passage aloud over and over, you
will get a great head start on memorizing it. In fact, you might never have to work at memorizing since just reading it aloud might do the magic of memorization for you automatically.
8. Memorize for a few minutes, and then take a break to allow your brain to rest.
Like the rest of our bodies, our brains need rest in order to function most
efficiently. They rest during our sleep and they also need rest in the midst of our
work. And memorization can be intense work.
Find your own rhythm and include regular rest.
9. Review your verses frequently to thoroughly fix them in your mind.
We have short-term memory and long-term memory. Just because a passage is in
our short-term memory doesn’t mean it is fixed in our long-term memory! To fix
it in our long-term memory means reviewing verses frequently.
10. Incorporate verses into your Scripture meditation and prayers.
Of course, the whole purpose of memorization is to meditate on God’s Word and pray over your memorized passages. Ask God how He wants you to apply His Word and then allow the Scriptures to transform your life.
Dallas Willard wrote; “If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life
and take only one, I would choose Bible memorization.” (The Great Omission:
Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship, p. 58. HarperCollins. Kindle
Why did he say this? It’s because when we carry God’s Word with us all the time via
memorization, it has the greatest ability to benefit us and change our lives.
Let’s do it!
Help Spread the Word!
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Why Aren’t My Prayers Answered? (Podcast)
Does God still speak today? (Podcast)
How can I hear God’s voice? (Podcast)
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