How to Memorize Scripture

Image courtesy of Sailom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Sailom / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

A recent post about why to memorize scripture was pretty popular. Today, let’s talk about how to do that.

You can certainly be creative, and I would love to hear your ideas below. I’m going to give you a few straightforward ways, and a few fun and creative ways to make Scripture stick.

The Basics

  1. Memorize the reference (Bible book, chapter, and verse) and the exact words. Be very deliberate in noting each word. We know how easy it is to mix up just a couple of words in a text message and misunderstand what the person means. The reference will help you later, when you have questions. Then, you can find its exact location and read it in context.
  2. Choose  a trusted Bible translation. Use it consistently when you memorize. I currently use ESV (English Standard Version) for its accuracy and fairly plain language. I recommend you choose a translation that is as accurate as possible, not a version that paraphrases. Here’s a chart that may help you out: http://zondervan.com/sites/default/files/m/bibles/translation_chart_poster.pdf
  3. Read it in context first, and seek to understand the meaning of the verse. Don’t just randomly choose a verse by closing your eyes and pointing. And, don’t cherry pick. Some people will pull out a few choice verses but ignore their real meaning by not learning their context.
  4. It doesn’t have to be one verse. You can memorize shorter passages or even a whole chapter. Psalm 23 works great for that.

Ways to Memorize Scripture

  • Write it down. You can use index cards, sticky notes, or type it out as a screen saver. Write out the Bible verse with the reference, and keep it with you – in your purse, your pocket, your wallet, etc. Every time you see it, read it again. Repeat throughout the day or week.
  • Record it verbally. Send yourself a voicemail you can listen to over and over again.
  • Bring others in. Ask a friend or your family to memorize a verse a week. Maybe have a challenge that you’ll each be able to say the verse to one another by next Sunday. Cheer one another on. Send messages throughout the week that include the verse.
  • Pray. Use the Bible passage in your prayers. Many of the Psalms are prayers themselves.
  • Do an internet search for “Bible memorization app.” Find one or two that work for you.
  • Sing it! When I taught third grade and required Bible memory, I had one boy who sang to me almost every single time. It was the best way for him to remember. Use a familiar tune, a hymn tune, even a pop tune, to set the Bible to music.
  • Buy or create jewelry. I have a bracelet with an important verse on it. Every time I see it, I remember how that verse applies to me. You could also use alphabet beads to make your own memory verse. Use the first letter from each word to form a bracelet. Re-assemble it when you move to the next memory verse.
  • Print the words, then cut them apart. Scramble the order, then rearrange them correctly. Great for those who like puzzles.
  • Say every other word with someone else. Saying one word, then letting someone else say the next word, then going back and forth, is a big challenge. It can be frustrating for some, but it can also be fun.
  • Worksheets. Can you tell I’m a teacher at heart? I don’t love worksheets, but when you’re trying to learn Bible verses, it can be a bit tedious. Challenge yourself by using worksheets. You can find some online for free. You can also create your own. Type out the verse and leave blanks for key words. Write just the first letter to each word in the verse, then come back later and fill in the rest of the words.
  • Frame it. Buy artwork with a meaningful passage, or make your own. Choose a frame that’s easy to slip paper in and out. Print up the Bible verse you’re currently working on and insert it. When that verse is done, change it out for another one.

The main thing is to see what works for you and to do it. Hiding God’s Word in your heart can be fun but must be meaningful. 

 

Question: What are some other ways you can memorize Scripture?

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