Memorizing Scripture is probably one of the hardest tasks we’re given to do as believers. But it is definitely worth it! In this blog post I’ll share how I memorize Scripture and how you can do it too.
Knowing God’s Word by heart has been such an encouragement to me in my walk with the Lord. On days where I don’t feel like making wise choices, the words of the Bible that I’ve memorized come to mind to pick me up and get me on the right track. Psalm 119:11 is very true, “Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”
Why you should memorize.
When you treasure God’s Word away in your heart, you create opportunities for the Spirit to bring it to mind when you are tempted to sin. When my thoughts begin to stray or start to feel worried about something, I start reciting the verses I know and immediately, I am focusing on God and His character instead of my own circumstances and sin. And, if the verses are not there to begin with, then they can’t come to mind later, it’s as simple as that.
Remember, too, that getting to know your Bible is how you get to know your Savior. He has given us such a gift in writing out His Word for us in the Scriptures. When you read and memorize them, you are reading and memorizing the Words from your Father, the holy and righteous Creator of the universe. What a privilege!
Now, I know this can sound overwhelming, but don’t fret, I’ve outlined my easy 5-step method for you. I aim to go through all five steps every day. (This doesn’t always happen, but it is my goal.) So give it a try and see if it helps you put God’s Word to memory.
Study the context, that is. The context is the circumstances that form the setting for the Scripture you’re going to memorize.
And, in my experience, this step is crucial in memorizing Scripture. You can’t fully understand the meaning of the verse you are memorizing if you don’t understand the context. And, I’ve found that if I don’t understand the meaning, it makes it much less memorable.
Pulling one verse out of context and trying to memorize it is even more difficult! So, for your first sitting of memorizing Scripture take a few minutes, pull out a study Bible (like this one) and at least read through the notes on the section you want to memorize.
Context is so helpful in remembering the Scripture because as you go through life and something similar to the context happens, the Scripture will be brought to mind.
The next step in the process for me is to write out the verses word for word. I usually do this in my journal. This does take some time, but it doesn’t have to be especially pretty writing, just make sure it’s legible.
Start out small with one verse. And then add on another verse every week. Pretty soon you’ll get through the entire passage. I try to recite the verses out loud as I write them down so that I get it in my brain through two tactual channels: my hands and mouth. I recommend writing it down in a journal or scrap paper. And if you make a mistake, cross it out and fix it right there on the paper… this helps get the correct wording in your mind.
3. Write… Again!
After I’ve written it down, I do it again. And sometimes a third time if I can. I know this sounds repetitive, but I’ve found that repetition is critical to memorization. For the second and third times, write it on a sticky note or 3×5 card. This will make the next step easier for you.
Now that you’ve written the verses down and recited them to yourself as you did so, you’ve got to get the words in front of you throughout the day. Choose somewhere in your home (or workplace) that you spend a good amount of time.
That place for me is above my kitchen sink, I read it while I wash dishes. But it could be the mirror in your bathroom, the wall above your desk, or the TV cabinet. It doesn’t really matter where, it just needs to be somewhere that you’ll see it often and be there long enough to read through the words.
Then as you go throughout your day, read through the verses whenever you’re in that spot.
As you go through verses and memorize big chunks of Scripture, you may find that it takes too long to read through the verses that are on the wall. That’s okay, just start at the beginning and then the next time you are there start in the middle until you get to read the to the end.
Repeat these steps everyday until you are able to recite the verses from memory. Again, it may feel like a lot of writing, but this really does work for me. I think that having to write out the verses multiple is what really hammers the words into my brain.
Once you’ve got some verses memorized, it’s important to review them. You can, and most likely will, lose them over time if you don’t keep reminding yourself of them. To combat this, I try to review all the sections of Scripture I’ve memorized once a week, either by reciting it to myself out loud or writing it down in my journal. Keeping those passages that I’ve memorized months ago in my head really helps me not forget them.
I can’t tell you how many times Scripture I’ve memorized in the past has come to mind. Just this last week I looked over my Bible study notes and I had written out verses from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) to answer almost every question. I memorized that Scripture in college over 5 years ago!
Even verses that I memorized as a child in AWANA club still come to mind today. God’s Word really is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). And, it makes me want to know, learn, and memorize more and more!
There you have it, my five steps to memorizing Scripture. How do you memorize Scripture? Do you find it comes to mind just when you need it? Give my method a try and let me know what you think!
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