The word literal is complicated. According to one of the first definitions in the dictionary, literal means: “adhering...to the ordinary construction of primary meaning of a term or expression.” In other words, being literal can just mean saying what you mean to say, giving primary importance in the moment to...
Memorizing God’s Word is a vital, joy-producing discipline of grace for every Christian—but where to begin? With so many thousands of verses to choose from, memorization can feel overwhelming, and we often don’t know where to start.
Why Memorize Bible Verses?
Many of us have asked several clarifying questions about this grace-filled discipline, like:
- “What’s the point of memorization?”
- “Why should I take the time and effort to memorize the Bible? Couldn’t I use that time to read it more deeply, or to pray?”
- “If I can simply open my Bible and read God’s Word, then why should I memorize it?”
- “If I’m bad at memorizing in general, should I still consider this an important pursuit?”
I’ve asked all of the above and have been deeply convicted by what God himself has to say about the vitality of his Word being sown within the believer’s mind and heart. Here are just three important reasons he gives us to memorize his Word:
To convict us of sin.
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11)
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:10)
To teach us the fear of the Lord.
Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. (Deuteronomy 6:1-2)
To stand firmly against our enemy.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. (Ephesians 6:10-11, 17-18)
Three Tips for Memorization
Whether you have been memorizing Bible verses your whole life or you are just beginning, consider a few quick tips for further growth:
1. Read and repeat.
Choose one of these passages at a time, and read them 10 times every day until you’ve memorized the whole thing. Repetition tends to have a staying effect; the more frequently you read Scripture, the more solidly it will root itself in your mind and heart.
2. Hold yourself accountable.
Don’t memorize alone! Ask a friend or your small group to join you. Then, practice reciting the Bible verses aloud. You could even “test” your friends by relying on your memory, instead of looking immediately to the text. A few years ago, my small group memorized Psalm 145 together; it was much more motivating to memorize in a group and to see the spiritual fruit being borne from this discipline.
Often, my biggest obstacles to memorization are a lack of desire and laziness. I have not grasped the gift of storing up God’s Word in my heart, of treasuring his commands and promises in this way. It’s easier and faster not to take the extra time and mental effort during Scripture reading. What about you? We need to pray for our hearts: for a desire to hide God’s Word in it and to feed on it throughout the day; for zeal for God’s truth and his life-giving gospel; and for the self-control and power to say yes to this eternally valuable discipline. Help us, O Lord, to value what you value, and to love what you love!
15 Bible Verses to Memorize
Here are 15 suggestions for Bible verses to memorize. Choose one at a time, and review each verse even after moving on to the next one. (We’ve also provided you with printable Bible verse cards at the end to help you!)
1. 2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2. Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
3. 1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
4. Acts 4:12
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
5. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
6. Deuteronomy 8:3
And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
7. Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
8. Mark 8:35-36
For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
9. Romans 8:31-32
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
10. 1 Peter 1:13
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
11. Ezekiel 36:26
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
12. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.
13. Hebrews 4:15-16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are,yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
14. John 1:1-2
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
15. Psalm 27:4
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.