After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...
For some reason God made it easy for me to memorize. When I was a boy, I memorized a lot of meaningless stats on the back of baseball cards and the nutrition information on the side of cereal boxes. Why? Because I liked numbers and could. Now that I’m following Jesus, I can use that to know him better and commit Scripture to memory.
Unfortunately, not everyone has it easy as I do. Some people can’t remember other people’s names, where they parked their car, or Bible verses without blood sweat and tears. And that is okay! God made us all different, and those who cannot memorize Scripture as effortlessly as I can might find a few of the following practical tips helpful.
10 Practical Tips for Memorizing Scripture:
1. Memorize the Word of God in community.
With a small group or with the larger congregation, memorizing Scripture as a community is a powerful way to learn the Bible together through pursuing mutual goals with accountability. Push each other to memorize the Word of God more. This is one way to live out Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”
2. Memorize along with your family.
Memory verses are not just for kids! If your children participate in programs like AWANA and memorize Bible verses, invite the whole family to memorize together. This is a great way to teach the whole family the truth of the Bible.
3. Use note cards.
When you encounter a Bible verse you want to put to memory, make verse cards and place them in noticeable areas of your house or workplace: on the bathroom mirror, in your living room, or on your refrigerator. Some people even memorize Scripture in the shower!
Deuteronomy 6:8-9 says we are to bind God’s commands on our hands, on the doorposts of our houses, and on our gates so that they are constantly reminding us of God and his commands. When we post verses all around our house, we are able to more frequently meditate on God’s word, which helps us renew our minds.
4. Listen to an audio Bible.
A good way to redeem the time is to listen to Scripture while in the car, at the gym, or cooking. This is an ideal method for memorizing longer passages of Scripture and to set your mind on things above (Colossians 3:2).
A good sermon can ingrain the truths of Scripture in your head as well. By downloading the Unlocking the Bible podcast, mobile app or by listening to the Daily Broadcast, you are taught God’s Word in an encouraging and refreshing way. Faith in Christ does come by hearing, right?
5. Pray for God to help you.
God is the one who commands that we know Scripture and let it dwell in us, so would he not answer a prayer to see his will done? Pray to God for help, pray to God for guidance, pray to God for understanding, pray to God for a deeper love for his Word.
- Pray Psalm 119:33: “Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.”
- Pray Psalm 119:35: “Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.”
- Pray John 16:13: “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
Pray for illumination and help. God will answer!
6. Study a passage of Scripture deeply.
I have found that when I pour myself over one portion of Scripture for days and weeks at a time, I can memorize a passage fairly easily. Reading the same set of verses over and over again will not only draw out riches from God’s Word, but it will engrave those verses on your heart through repetition and deep meditation.
Suggested passages to start studying are Romans 8; Psalm 1; Ephesians 2:1-10; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 3.
7. Find resources to help.
Scripture memory? There’s a mobile app for that! There are many websites and programs that can help you memorize Scriptures by providing plans and tools for your aid. Popular ones include MemVerse, RememberMe, Fighter Verses, and MobilizeFaith.
8. Put Scripture to song.
Chances are you know the ABC’s because of the alphabet song, or you know the major music scale (Do-Re-Mi…) because of The Sound of Music. Getting a song stuck in your head is proof that music is a powerful tool to help memorization. That is why putting the Bible to song or listening to music filled with biblical lyrics is a useful way to internalize the Word of God.
9. Always be on the lookout.
During your normal study of Scripture, or while you are listening to a sermon, be on the lookout for good verses to memorize. Having fresh scriptures to meditate on will deepen your understanding of God and knowledge of his Word.
Recently after reading about the Gibeonite deception in Joshua 9, verse 14 stuck out to me, describing why Israel made a bad decision: “…but did not ask counsel from the LORD.” That was a verse I wrote out, thought about throughout the day, and memorized.
10. Read Scripture out loud or write it down.
Reading out loud is a common tip for how to best memorize. It is one of the best memorization methods because it combines two learning styles: visual and auditory. Writing out the scriptures is another way to memorize because it targets two learning styles as well: visual and tactile.
Other Scripture Memorization Tips:
- Before you set to memorize a verse, read the passage the verse is from to make sure you know what it means in context.
- Don’t forget to memorize the reference! This helps in your own personal study and for sharing with others.
- Think about how you can apply the verse to your life, and then pray for God’s help in applying it.
- Use it or lose it! If you don’t keep Scripture fresh in your mind, it may be easy to lose! Plan to review what you memorize from time to time to keep God’s Word fresh.