How to Memorize Scripture

Everybody learns differently.  I will gladly share with you what has worked for me and would encourage you to find what works best for you.  While I have never pursued such a huge undertaking as this one, I have memorized a few passages in the past and know what has worked well.

1.  Desire and Persistence.  I believe that if you're going to have success memorizing Scripture, you have to first want to do it!  It is much easier to learn anything when you are motivated and have a positive attitude.  (Thankfully, God not only gives us the ability, He also gives us the desire!  Phil. 2:13 "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.")

2.  An Overview and Understanding.  I first read through the passage several times and try to understand its meaning.  I often look up verses in a commentary (I use John MacArthur's) or do a word study on important phrases.  This helps me to connect with what I'm learning and it becomes much more personal and real to me.  When I'm meditating on the meaning of what I'm memorizing, there is a much greater chance that I will have the ability to recall it in an applicable situation.

3.  Read and Re-Read.  I read the passage over and over and over again.  I try to read it in the morning (after I have taken a shower and am feeling awake and attentive) and again in the evening before I go to bed.

4.  Rote Memorization.  After I'm very familiar with the passage or group of verses, I begin to memorize the old-fashioned 'rote' way.  I close my eyes or cover up the words and say as much as I can.  I peek back down when I can't remember, then start over.  And over, and over.

5.  Constant Reminders.  I often write the verse(s) out on index cards and post them around in various places.  Above the kitchen sink, on my dresser, on the fridge, on the treadmill, next to the computer, and (my favorite) in the bathroom.  I do NOT suggest posting a Bible verse on your steering wheel. 

6.  Including Senses.  I learn best by seeing and hearing.  I really look hard and study the words until I can see them in my mind without looking.  I even know where the words are on the lines and the appearance of the page.  I also say the words aloud so I can hear my voice.  Speaking it aloud is a good test because often I feel like I know it well but when I try to recite it, I realize I'm not as confident as I thought.  I'm not in the car a lot, but a good suggestion is to record your voice and listen to it while you drive to and from work.

7.  Constant Review.  The times that I have had the most success memorizing have been when I've reviewed the verses several times throughout the day.  I start with going over the passage in the morning.  Then I keep a copy in my pocket and pull it out at odd times during the day.  Even as busy as we think we are, there are often brief moments of free time.  (Waiting in line, during a meal, while the kids are playing)  If we learn how to recognize these moments and seize the opportunity, we can quickly multiply the amount of time we spend practicing. 

8.  Routine.  I am a very organized and routine-oriented person.  Once I choose to work something into my schedule, it gets done.  I do my Quiet Time at a specific time each day and incorporate the bulk of my memorizing at that time.  If something comes up and I miss a day or two, I am resolved to get back on track and continue when my schedule goes back to normal.

There are so many wonderful resources out there.  Below are a few that you may find helpful as well.  Regardless of our method or how we go about memorizing, the important thing to remember is that God is on our side!  He wants us to do this!  If we are in His word, we can know with 100% certainty that we are in accordance with His will.  And when we keep our focus on Him, we can enjoy His most abundant blessings on our lives as we reap the fruit that has been rooted in our hearts.

Extra resources for tips on memorizing:
Click here for tips from Pastor John Piper.  I find it encouraging because he assures us that significant amounts can be learned if we are just consistent in investing only a few minutes a day.

This article from The Navigators and is nice because it emphasizes connecting with the verse on a deeper level of understanding through prayer. 

This blog suggests a lot of the same ideas I stated above.

To read a very exciting and encouraging blog from someone who already memorized the book of John, click here!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I am thankful to you for sharing this awesome article with this helpful knowledge.