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 own wisdom and ability, what if you didn’t have to? God wants you to know His Word, and He will enable you to memorize and recall His Word—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 continue adding another verse as needed.
3. Understand Context
When you engage in memorizing 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—personally, I would encourage you to read the passage/book through daily, which will not only help you memorize faster but will also engrain 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 were the Philippians, where was Paul 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 already learned.
- Memorize the verse numbers. This seems like a waste of time and a bit tedious but I promise it will help you later on in life (and it actually makes memorization easier in the long run). It will also help you not forget a verse in a long passage and it helps when you quote a specific verse to someone to know exactly where its found.
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 passage including the verse you learned today
5. Repetition is good … over time
Saying a verse 50 times in one day is good … but not as effective as saying that same verse everyday for 50 days. This is a longterm 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—this is exactly what you want!
Even after you have the entire book memorized, you should spend time daily (for the next 100 days or so) reciting the entire book 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 memorize while you drive, wait in line, and brush your teeth (even if its in your head) is helpful.
- 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: PATBOJC, TATSICJWAIP, WTBAD.
- If you are an app fanatic, there are a couple good Scripture memory apps for the iPhone/iPad (not sure what is good for Android, sorry): Scripture Typer & Remember Me. They have different helps, games, and ideas to aid your Bible memory.
- I love to listen to the Bible in my car. Getting an audio Bible with the same translation 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 (forces you to quote faster than most people normally recite them). I recommend the Word of Promise Audio Bible (click for a direct link to purchase Philippians on Audible for under $5 … the entire Bible is great too).
What are you waiting for? Grab a passage you’ve wanted to memorize and start today!