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What? Me memorize Scripture?

July 2, 2010

I know what many of you are thinking. “There’s no way I can memorize Scripture.”  Or, “I don’t need to memorize Scripture because I have six Bible translations at home as well as Bibles on my laptop, phone, and Kindle.” But wait! Before you stop reading, let me give you a few things to consider.

Memorizing God’s Word solidly entrenches His truth in your heart and mind in a way that simply reading it cannot. When God’s truth becomes a part of you, He can use it to minister to you in powerful and very personal ways. Yesterday, Teri Lynne gave us several powerful reasons to memorize Scripture. I’d like to remind us of a few ways God can work in our life through His implanted Word:

  • Provide comfort, encouragement, peace, and strength (Colossians 3:15-16; Psalm 1:1-3; 119:28)
  • Give guidance and wisdom (Psalm 37:31; Psalm 119:24, 98, 105)
  • Foster spiritual growth (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 2:2)
  • Equip for evangelism (1 Peter 3:15; Acts 18:28)
  • Source of joy and blessing (Psalm 119:24, 47, 103; James 1:21-25)
  • Strength to resist temptation (Psalm 119:11)

Now you may agree that memorizing Scripture is beneficial, but you are still overwhelmed at the idea. “Where do I start? How do I do it?” I have had the same feelings. For years, I knew God wanted me to purposefully work to memorize His Word. I tried it half-heartedly several times, with limited success. However with a renewed commitment and some helpful, practical tips for memorizing I have begun to successfully “hide God’s Word in my heart.” I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you.

How do I decide what to memorize? Choose a passage God is using in your life. He may emphasize it during your quiet time, a sermon, or Bible study. Start small with just a verse or two. You can work up to lengthier passages later. This verse or passage may:

  • Speak to an area of weakness in your life
  • Have special significance in your spiritual journey
  • Remind you of something important about God
  • Be useful for instruction or to help guard against sin

How do I keep track of the verses I’m working on? You will want to have a system to record and store the verses. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Index cards and a recipe box
  • Blank cards the size of business cards and a business card file
  • Card stock paper cut to fit a photo album with plastic sleeves (4 x 6 or 5 x 7)

What are a few tips to help me succeed? Before you begin the actual memorization, consider the following:

  • Read and reflect on the whole passage surrounding the verse for context and meaning.
  • Find a friend who will hold you accountable.
  • Learn each verse word perfect. And memorize the reference.
  • Learn all verses from the same translation. The one you are most familiar with is best.
  • Choose a memorization rate that is manageable and sets you up for success. It may be one verse a month or one per week.
  • Establish a review schedule. If we don’t review the verses regularly we will forget!

How do I actually go about committing the verse to memory? There is no one way that works best for everyone. Different people have different learning styles. Some of the following suggestions will work for you while others may not. Try a variety of the ideas to find out what works best and to keep things interesting. You may do one activity one day and something different the next:

  • Write the verse on a card – the type you have chosen for storage.
  • Read the verse out loud several times.
  • Rewrite the verse in your own words in a journal or scratch paper.
  • Rewrite the verse word perfect one or more times on scratch paper or on extra cards to put up in prominent places around your house.
  • Use key words – Identify several key words or “anchor” words in the verse. Circle these words on the front of the card and then write them on the back. Read the verse several times noting the key words. Then turn the card over and attempt to recite the verse using only the key words.
  • For visual learners – Draw a symbol or picture on the back of the card that will remind you of the verse in some way.
  • For auditory learners – Record the verse and play it back. Or put the verse to music and sing it!
  • For tactile learners – Pick an object in your home that reminds you of the verse. For instance a stone may help you remember that God is a “strong fortress.”
  • Pray the verse out loud to God.

Don’t give up on Scripture memory before you’ve even tried. You can do it and the effort is more than worth it. I’d love to know what verses you choose and how it goes!

21 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2010 9:04 am

    Kathy, thank you for sharing the different suggestions for various learning styles – that will be very helpful for me as I help Casiday memorize.

  2. July 2, 2010 9:19 am

    Kathy this is great! I love the tips for different types of learners. I’m amazed at how my boys (4 & 2) and I are memorizing Scripture put to music!

  3. July 2, 2010 11:05 am

    Very helpful Kathy. I need to develop a way to keep track of what I memorize. That’s something I have not done, and I’m inspired/motivated/chided to do so now! 🙂

  4. July 2, 2010 11:39 am

    Such great tips that sets everyone in the family up for success!

  5. July 2, 2010 3:04 pm

    Kathy, Kathy, Kathy…you have done such a great job not only telling us why but also telling us how to memorize Scripture! I really struggle with memorizing Scripture on a consistent basis. Terrible. Yes, I know. But you have totally inspired me! So, thank you, my sister! 🙂

  6. July 2, 2010 3:16 pm

    Hi Kathy:
    Thank you so much for giving us these great how-to’s for memorizing. I really appreciate it.
    Talking about reasons to memorize…I have found that the times I really have needed scripture most, I wasn’t close to a Bible, PC, etc.
    It has been when I was in the midst of an emergency, car accident, or life threatening situation. I vividley remember laying on a table in an Emergency Room alone and just reciting “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Phil 4:13 over and over. It was what kept me calm and sustained me. Had I not been encouraged to memorize it as a child by a wonderful mentor, I would have been a total mess.

    In short, we need scripture on our hearts, because we never know when we are going to be in a situation where our mind/heart is all we have to read.


  7. July 4, 2010 2:11 am

    I wanted to encourage support for the “put it to music” method of remembering scripture.
    In Jewish circles when sections are read in public they are read according to a musical tune for many of the different books of the Old Testament.
    When you think about it, for thousands of years, when most people did not have written scripture, putting it to a tune or to music was an important memory device.
    In fact I am aware of a number of elementary schools, that teach the kids from first grade to sing and memorize all the scripture – Old Testament. It takes then until 4th or 5th grade to finish, and it is only then that they start trying to understand and interpret the text.

  8. July 5, 2010 7:00 am

    Thanks for the encouragement to keep on memorizing. Another aid we have used (especially when I had younger kids) was to use hand motions. Our “sign language” kept evolving until I decided we might as well use the real thing as cues. I bought a sign language book (we use The Joy of Signing) and we’ve learned some real sign language as we have aided our scripture memory.

  9. Jessica Fordinal permalink
    July 6, 2010 11:22 am

    Hi Kathy! Thank you so much! Kelley directed me to this and I know it will help so much!

    • July 6, 2010 5:26 pm

      Hi Jessica! So glad Kelley pointed you to Scripture Dig. I hope it will be a help and encouragement for you. Tell your friends!


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