I know what many of you are thinking. “There’s no way I can memorize Scripture.” Or, “I don’t need to memorize Scripture because I have six Bible translations at home as well as Bibles on my laptop, phone, and Kindle.” But wait! Before you stop reading, let me give you a few things to consider.
Memorizing God’s Word solidly entrenches His truth in your heart and mind in a way that simply reading it cannot. When God’s truth becomes a part of you, He can use it to minister to you in powerful and very personal ways. Yesterday, Teri Lynne gave us several powerful reasons to memorize Scripture. I’d like to remind us of a few ways God can work in our life through His implanted Word:
- Provide comfort, encouragement, peace, and strength (Colossians 3:15-16; Psalm 1:1-3; 119:28)
- Give guidance and wisdom (Psalm 37:31; Psalm 119:24, 98, 105)
- Foster spiritual growth (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 2:2)
- Equip for evangelism (1 Peter 3:15; Acts 18:28)
- Source of joy and blessing (Psalm 119:24, 47, 103; James 1:21-25)
- Strength to resist temptation (Psalm 119:11)
Now you may agree that memorizing Scripture is beneficial, but you are still overwhelmed at the idea. “Where do I start? How do I do it?” I have had the same feelings. For years, I knew God wanted me to purposefully work to memorize His Word. I tried it half-heartedly several times, with limited success. However with a renewed commitment and some helpful, practical tips for memorizing I have begun to successfully “hide God’s Word in my heart.” I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you.
How do I decide what to memorize? Choose a passage God is using in your life. He may emphasize it during your quiet time, a sermon, or Bible study. Start small with just a verse or two. You can work up to lengthier passages later. This verse or passage may:
- Speak to an area of weakness in your life
- Have special significance in your spiritual journey
- Remind you of something important about God
- Be useful for instruction or to help guard against sin
How do I keep track of the verses I’m working on? You will want to have a system to record and store the verses. Here are a few suggestions:
- Index cards and a recipe box
- Blank cards the size of business cards and a business card file
- Card stock paper cut to fit a photo album with plastic sleeves (4 x 6 or 5 x 7)
What are a few tips to help me succeed? Before you begin the actual memorization, consider the following:
- Read and reflect on the whole passage surrounding the verse for context and meaning.
- Find a friend who will hold you accountable.
- Learn each verse word perfect. And memorize the reference.
- Learn all verses from the same translation. The one you are most familiar with is best.
- Choose a memorization rate that is manageable and sets you up for success. It may be one verse a month or one per week.
- Establish a review schedule. If we don’t review the verses regularly we will forget!
How do I actually go about committing the verse to memory? There is no one way that works best for everyone. Different people have different learning styles. Some of the following suggestions will work for you while others may not. Try a variety of the ideas to find out what works best and to keep things interesting. You may do one activity one day and something different the next:
- Write the verse on a card – the type you have chosen for storage.
- Read the verse out loud several times.
- Rewrite the verse in your own words in a journal or scratch paper.
- Rewrite the verse word perfect one or more times on scratch paper or on extra cards to put up in prominent places around your house.
- Use key words – Identify several key words or “anchor” words in the verse. Circle these words on the front of the card and then write them on the back. Read the verse several times noting the key words. Then turn the card over and attempt to recite the verse using only the key words.
- For visual learners – Draw a symbol or picture on the back of the card that will remind you of the verse in some way.
- For auditory learners – Record the verse and play it back. Or put the verse to music and sing it!
- For tactile learners – Pick an object in your home that reminds you of the verse. For instance a stone may help you remember that God is a “strong fortress.”
- Pray the verse out loud to God.
Don’t give up on Scripture memory before you’ve even tried. You can do it and the effort is more than worth it. I’d love to know what verses you choose and how it goes!