Are you ready to start memorizing Scripture … but seem a bit apprehensive? Here are six quick tips and reminders to help you get started.
1. The Author Lives Inside
A key to Scripture memory is realizing that the Author Himself lives inside your life through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Though you could memorize Scripture in your ability and wisdom, what if you didn’t have to? God wants you to know His Word, and He will enable you to memorize and recall it (which is a good reason to always start your times of memorization in prayer).
2. Start Slow
If you haven’t memorized much lately, you will find that starting slow will help. Our memory is like a muscle that needs to be exercised and strengthened for optimal performance. Don’t start with an entire paragraph; start with a first verse or two and then continue adding more.
3. Understand Context
When you memorize longer passages, it is helpful to know the context and flow of what you will be memorizing. Before you start memorizing a paragraph or even an entire book, read it through several times. I would encourage you to read through the passage/book daily, which will not only help you memorize faster but will also ingrain it deeper in your heart and mind. When you know the flow of thought and the overall context, it will help you keep things organized as you memorize. If you have time, learn some details behind the book itself. For example, if you were going to memorize a passage in Philippians, find out why Paul wrote the book of Philippians, who the Philippians were, where Paul was when he wrote it, etc.
4. Recite, Read, Listen, Quote
Memorizing a single verse is relatively easy, but memorizing longer passages is far more challenging. The key is consistency in your memorization, and having a plan can make things a lot easier:
- Give the priority of your memorization time to reviewing old verses. Begin each day’s memorization with a review of the verses you have already learned.
- Memorize the verse numbers. This could seem tedious and like a waste of time, but I promise it will help you later on in life (and it makes memorization easier in the long run). It will also help you to not forget a verse in a long passage, and it helps to know exactly where a specific verse is found when you quote it to someone. If you aren’t prone to memorizing every verse, consider memorizing in chunks/paragraphs/sections (ie: Colossians 1:1-2, 1:3-8, 1:9-14, etc).
Suggested Daily Procedure:
- Recite the previous day’s verse 10 times out loud; look at your Bible if you need to
- Recite all the verses in the passage/book that you’ve memorized (remember to say verse numbers)
- Read and say today’s (new) verse 10 times out loud—it is really helpful for you to see and hear it
- Quote the new verse 10 times out loud without looking
- Recite the entire memorized passage including the verse you learned today
Another Method and Suggestion:
- If the above is a bit too intimidating to start with, begin by taking one day a week in your devotional time to purposefully memorize God’s Word. Take a section of Scripture (more than one verse) and read the entire passage aloud several times. Try to repeat the passage, read it through again, and repeat it again—go back and forth until you have the entire passage memorized.
- It is important to review this passage throughout the week (not just in the weekly memorization time)—and driving, showers, mowing the lawn, etc are great opportunities to review the memorized passage.
5. Repetition is good … over time
Saying a verse fifty times in one day is good … but not as effective as saying that same verse every day for fifty days. This is a long-term process, so don’t pack everything into one day. If you follow the suggested daily procedure above, you will eventually be spending the bulk of your memorization time quoting previous verses—which is exactly what you want!
Use “downtime” throughout your day to recite verses you’ve memorized. Some experts suggest saying a verse every day for 100 days, but whether you recite a verse/passage once a week or every day, it is important to review and recite it often to keep it in your memory.
6. A few fun (and helpful) ideas
- Write today’s verse(s) on an index card so you can keep it with you to look at throughout the day. Being able to review verses/passages while you drive, wait in line, take a shower, or brush your teeth is a great way to take advantage of time.
- If you have a problem keeping the words in their correct order, write down the first letter of each word on a card. For example, Philippians 1:1 (NKJV) would be as follows: PATBOJC, TATSICJWAIP, WTBAD.
- If you are an app fanatic, there are a couple of good Scripture memory apps, such as Bible Memory & Verses. They have different helps, games, and ideas to aid your Bible memory. Personally, I LOVE the Verses app.
- I love to listen to the Bible in my car. Get an audio Bible with the same translation that you use to memorize can help you hear the book in a different way … and it’s a fun challenge to try to quote the verses alongside the audio—it forces you to speak faster than you normally would when reciting the verses.
- Need some other helpful memorization advice? Check out these posts.
What are you waiting for? Grab a passage you’ve wanted to memorize and start today!
Let us strive, every year we live, to become more deeply acquainted with Scripture.
– JC Ryle –