Do you wish you knew more Bible verses by memory? Do you struggle with remembering Scripture verses? In this post, I explain why memorizing is essential, how to improve your memory, and how to practice and recall what you have learned.
Why should I memorize Scripture?
- The armor of God is useless without having an arsenal of Bible verses memorized.
- Jesus used Scripture to overcome the devil’s temptations in the wilderness (Matt. 4), and that is the only way we will overcome temptations too.
- Never forget that we are always in a spiritual war, whether or not we know it.
- Memorizing Scripture makes us stronger and encourages spiritual growth.
- It allows you to have gospel truths ready at all times, whether your day brings you temptation, heartache, or a friend in need of encouragement.
- You can experience God’s perfect peace by having His promises written on your heart and ready to claim.
- Memorized Scripture helps you be victorious over sin and all the devil’s attacks. Psalm 119:11 states, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”
- Scripture memory will also help you gain confidence in witnessing.
Put off the “I Can’t Memorize” Myth
If you believe the lie that you can’t memorize or remember anything, take those wrong thoughts captive and put them out of your mind and heart in Jesus’ name. Our words have the power to create new thoughts and beliefs. Isaiah 42:9 states, “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare [speak]; before they spring forth [happen], I tell you of them.” Speak out loud and bind in the truth that you can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13) and that you have the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:16b) and can memorize and remember scriptural truths.
Put Off the “I don’t have time” Myth
You may think that this is a lot of work, and you don’t have the time. Guess what? I bet you don’t have the time to exercise either. To stop making this myth a reality, loose from your mind the wrong thoughts that you do not have time to memorize or exercise. Next, bind into your mind the truth that memorizing scripture is essential for spiritual health and strength. Also, memorized Bible verses will help me win the unseen battles with the temptation and deceptive thoughts the demonic world entices me to believe. Bind in the truth that just as physical exercise is essential for a healthy, strong mind and body, memorizing scripture makes you stronger spiritually. I combined memorizing and exercising because I am a kinesthetic learner. 1Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV) states, “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales; rather train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
You can walk 30-45 minutes each day and memorize scripture as you walk. If I don’t walk that day, then I made a reading stand out of cardboard for my elliptical machine to memorize scripture while I work out. I am confident that you can come up with many other combinations. You can also download the Bible to your MP3 player, iPod, or cell phone and then listen to the scriptures. Hit pause to recite what you just heard, and rewind to hear the verse or verse chunk again until you can recite it perfectly (or near perfectly). You can listen to the scripture while driving, doing chores, or exercising.
Practice the scriptural principles you have memorized
Practice doing and sharing what you memorized to reinforce long-term memory. The following scriptures instruct us to practice the Word of God. Meditate on each verse.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! –Psalms 111:10
Practice these things, immerse yourself in them so that all may see your progress. –1Timothy 4:15
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. –Hebrews 5:14
For if you practice these qualities [faith, moral excellence (virtue), knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love] you will never fall [stumble].” –1Peter 1:10
If we say we have fellowship with Him [Jesus] while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. –1John 1:6
But whoever does what is true [practices the truth; or lives by the truth] comes to the Light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. –John 3:21
The more you practice something, the better you become at it. For example, I had a problem of complaining, so I memorized Philippians 4:8 and 1Thessalonians 5:16-18. When I wanted to get upset and complain, I would recall and practice these principles to resist the temptation to be irritated and speak destructive words. But these verses are useless if I do not practice capturing my negative thoughts before they go into my heart and come out of my mouth. Memorizing scripture is not beneficial until you practice what you have internalized and transform wrong thoughts, attitudes, or behaviors. Ephesians 4:22-24 states, “To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” We also purify our souls when we obey and practice the truth as described in 1Peter 1:22a, which states, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth.” Because 1Peter 2:11 states, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
First, pray and ask God to help you hide His Word in your heart, so you don’t forget it.
Repetition is the key to retaining the verse in long-term memory. Small steps of obedience can make a significant impact. Try the following to help you mentally internalize the Word of God.
- Write the verse on a whiteboard or type it on the computer, then eliminate words until you can write, type, or recall it from memory five to ten times.
- Carry your verse(s) with you. When you are waiting in line or at a red light, go over and recite your verse or verses.
- Turn it into a song.
- Turn it into a prayer.
- Draw a picture or a series of images to represent the verse.
- Memorize in phrases and associate a picture that depicts the expression.
- Write the verses on index cards and make each phrase a different color. Post these around your house in places you go most (your bed, above your light switch, your bathroom mirror, etc.)
How to Begin
I like to memorize a chapter at a time, and Psalm 91 was the first chapter I learned. I still remember it because I turned it into a prayer and made a picture board like the one above. I also recite it often. To create my memorization list, I first went to Biblegateway.com, selected the Bible version, and searched for the scripture I wanted to memorize. Next, I copied and pasted it into a “Word” document. I found it easier to break up the scripture in verse chunks, and then after each chunk, include some keywords from each verse that would trigger my memory. The following are two examples I use.
Christ Is Our Example—1 Peter 2
21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;
23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;
24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds, you were healed.
25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
OR you can do the following, which also works well.
1 Peter 4:8-12
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit;
9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
10 For, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
11 “He must turn away from evil and do good; He must seek peace and pursue it.
12 “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
8 To sum up, a o y b har, sym, bro, kin, a hu i sp;
9 not returning evil f ev o in f in, b gi a bl ins; f y we ca f t v pur th y mi in a bl.
10 For, “The one w de li t lo a s go da, mu ke h to fr ev a h li fr sp de.
11 He must turn aw fr ev a d go; H m se pe a pu i.
12 For the eyes o t L a to t ri, a H ea at t th pr, B t fa o t L i ag th w d ev.”
Repetition is the key to recall. I would repeat each section until I could recite the verses without looking at the aids. The next day I would again recite the same verses before memorizing the next set of verses. I also found it helpful to say the verses backward. It was also beneficial to review the Scripture memorized earlier that day before going to bed and then meditating on them until I went to sleep. In doing this, you are meditating on scripture day and night, just as King David recommends in Psalm 1:2-3 states, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
What I Learned From Researching Other Memorizing Methods
From https://seedtime.com/memorize-bible-verses/. Not everyone memorizes things the same, but if you’re curious to know how I was able to memorize 500 verses a year, this is it:
- Work on one verse at a time – not multiple verses.
- Read the verse aloud 20 times – don’t rush through this part.
- Read the verse aloud once, then speak the verse once from memory (10 times).
- Quote the verse without mistakes 5 times in a row. Once you can do this, move to the next verse.
- When you think you have it down, recite the verse(s) for your family and friends!
Sometimes going through the process would take 15 minutes per verse; other times, it would be about 20 minutes per verse. It’s not about spending a certain number of minutes – it’s about repetition and using your eyes, ears, and voice to get each verse down.
From https://www.navigators.org/resource/how-to-memorize-scripture/. Many thousands of people have shared that this system was what finally worked for them after years of trying other approaches. It has been curated by The Navigators based on experience helping people of all ages grow in Christ since the 1930s.
4 Steps to Memorizing More Scripture
Step 1: Pick an area of gospel truth you’re motivated to understand more deeply
Step 2: Dig into the context
- Find the verse in your Bible and read the paragraph before and after it.
- Use this context to gain a clear understanding of what the verse means. You may want to read the verse in other Bible translations or consult a commentary.
- Read the verse through several times thoughtfully, aloud or in a whisper. This will help you grasp the verse as a whole. Each time you read it, say the topic, reference, verse, and then the reference again out loud.
- Discuss the verse with God in prayer, and ask for His help memorizing Scripture.
Step 3: Memorize in bite-sized pieces
- Memorize the topic and reference first.
- Next, memorize only the first phrase of the verse. Once you can recite the topic, reference and first phrase from memory several times, continue to add each additional phrase, one by one.
- Consider why each word was selected as you memorize it.
- Think about ways the verse applies to you and your daily circumstances.
- Writing the verse out can be helpful. This deepens its impression in your mind.
Step 4: Review with friends
- Review the verse immediately after learning it, incorporate it into your prayers, and repeat it frequently over subsequent days to others. This step is crucial for fixing the verse firmly in your mind because we tend to forget things recently learned.
- Invite a friend to memorize with you! Set a time each week to check-in and review verses. In just ten minutes, you can give each other enough accountability to grow by leaps and bounds in your love for God and knowledge of His Word.
- Review! Review! Review! Repetition is the best way to engrave the verses on your memory.
All verses are from the English Standard Bible. If you find my posts and website helpful, please share the links with your friends and family, hopeforcompletehealing.com. The information is copyright protected, and no part of the posts or my book may be reproduced without proper citation to Joyce Hanscom and this website.
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If you read my book and find it helpful, please leave a review. Also, if you want to do a Bible study with it, email me and ask for a free PDF of the leader’s guide. The PDF will have suggested discussion questions after each section. Quick links to all the scriptures in the endnotes for you to review or to copy and paste into your notes. Website links to review supporting material. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org