Learning To Memorize Scripture: A Comprehensive Guide

  • By: Brian Sloan
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When it comes to scripture memorization, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Every person has a different learning style and will memorize scripture differently. However, there are some general principles that can help you get started in this important practice. Let’s look at the why and how of scripture memorization, as well as some tips on how to memorize scripture today. God bless your efforts as you seek to know His Word better!


How To Memorize Scripture in the Modern Age

Scripture memory has long been considered a discipline that can fall under one of the primary spiritual disciplines – “Bible Intake” – Bible reading and study. A Christian receives the Holy Spirit at the time of their salvation. However, learning and studying God’s word is a lifelong pursuit. We want to have the scripture in our minds for many purposes of life and spiritual growth. Let’s learn how to memorize scripture and hide His word in our hearts.

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11

how to memorize scripture

Why Do We Need To Memorize Scripture?

There are quite a few reasons to put scripture memory into practice on a regular basis. Regularly reading the word of God is so very important. However, if you have passages of Scripture that are at your immediate use (memorized) then you have access to it 24/7 at any moment that you need those scriptures.

When you start internalizing the scripture by memorizing it, you can find yourself encouraged, uplifted, and guided by those scriptures that the Holy Spirit brings to mind in a given situation.

Most of us have had to memorize poems or certain passages of literature during various phases of our education. However, remember that when you memorize verses from the Bible you aren’t simply memorizing static words. You are memorizing scripture passages that are alive – words that literally have supernatural power when it is ignited by the Holy Spirit.

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews‬ ‭4:12

Scripture memorization can be an important part of your overall practice of various spiritual disciplines. Let’s take a look at some more info about this important topic.


1. Work On Prayerfully Selected Bible Verses

When learning how to memorize scripture there are some things to do beforehand. First, in order to make the process go smoothly and be the most beneficial to you, be aware of Bible verses that the Holy Spirit may be putting on your heart.

Certainly, there is no lack of wonderful scripture in God’s word that we might want to memorize. But, if you have prayed about a particular verse, and believe it’s one you should memorize, it can help you make the commitment to memorize that verse or passage.

Also, prayerfully consider memorizing key Bible verses that have specific importance to you, what you are going through, or your life’s situation.

That doesn’t mean that we should only want to memorize verses that are about what we are currently dealing with. However, as you begin memorizing passages of scripture that can motivate you more and sometimes help you memorize scripture quickly.


2. Memorize The Bible Verses In Context Of God’s Word

As we learn how to memorize scripture for our spiritual health we need to do so by keeping the verses we memorize in the context of the meaning of the original passage. Unfortunately, we commonly see scripture verses that people recite, that are put on posters, memes, and plaques. etc., that are taken out of context.

We should make sure when we memorize a verse we do so with an understanding of its context.

Rather than ramble on about it, let’s look at an example. Look at Philippians 4:13, one of the most quoted verses in the Bible. Here is a popular version of the verse.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 NKJV

First of all, I love that verse. It means a lot to me. And, I think it’s a fine verse to quote and easy to memorize. However, we see it consistently used in the context as if it were a full coverage promise that we can be successful in any endeavor or circumstance. Some will quote it (sometimes quite innocently) about a life decision or life direction that God has not asked us to take or be involved in.

Actually, God doesn’t promise us success in every area of life. He promises us the ultimate success of salvation, Heaven, and an eternity with Him. However, Philippians 4:13 is not a blanket verse for every situation.

Let’s look at how that passage is phrased in context. This time from the New International Version:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

In this translation, it says ” I can do all thiswhich is referring to the previous verses in the passage. Paul had been needy and also had plenty. He had times of being well-fed and times of being hungry. So, in all of those things that God called Him to do or endure, Paul was given the strength to endure. And so can we!

So, there is an example of a wonderful verse for us when taken in context. We just need to make sure that when we memorize scripture we do so realizing the true meaning and intention of the verse.


3. Write the Verse On a Card or Small Piece of Paper

We will mention some digitally based methods to memorize verses in just a bit. However, there is still quite an old method that remains very current and many people still use it.

Simply write the verse down and carry it with you. Many use small index cards. I have carried them with me at times. I have placed them in my automobiles and I’ve placed them at other prominent places where I might be during the week.

There is something about writing that verse down yourself and keeping that card or sheet close to you through your week that is special to many people.

Certainly, you can accomplish your goal with digital devices and online tools also. However, don’t rule out the simplistic methods that still work.


4. Divide the Verse or Passage Into Shorter Segments

This one can almost go without saying because it is just common sense. But, let’s say that you are memorizing scripture that is longer than a simple verse, or even a long verse. Simply break it down into smaller “bite-sized” portions of the verse, memorize those, and put them together to form the whole verse.

It’s helpful to memorize scripture verses in that fashion because the smaller portions are more quickly memorized. And, we will tend to be overwhelmed with longer sections of scripture if we try to take it on as one segment. So, breaking the passages down into smaller segments helps our minds in several ways.


5. Repetition of the Bible Verses

There are few things that help more than consistently repeating all the words of a verse you are memorizing. As with most anything that we are trying to learn, or skill we are trying to master repetition of the verse is so very important for memorizing Bible verses.

One method involves “spaced repetition.” In the late 1800s, Hermann Ebbinghaus found out that the brain works on what is called a “forgetting curve.” This curve showed us how our minds forget the subject matter as an exponential curve.

Then, each time we rehearse, or review the Bible verse (in our case) the curve would begin to flatten out and the information becomes more firmly implanted in our minds.

Shorter sessions of review certainly seem to work much better than fewer, but longer sessions of reviewing your verses. Or, at least it has been in my case.


6. Choose a Scripture Memorization App

With today’s technology, we would be extremely remiss if we didn’t include some digital suggestions. Using an app might be the best selection for you. There are several phone apps available that can be of great help in memorizing Bible passages.

The word of God is the word of God whether someone is quoting it, reading it from a page, a phone, or a computer monitor. The primary goal of scripture memorization is to have the scripture implanted in your mind so you can use it and draw on it in your daily life.

With that in mind let’s list a few Scripture memorization apps that can be very helpful. If that becomes your primary method of memorizing Bible passages, that would be great. The purpose is to get the words into your heart and mind either way. These can be great tools.

In terms of the memorization apps, they are great as long as you don’t allow all of the other stuff on your phone to compete with your scripture memorization time. That would be the primary caution for many of us.

The Bible Memory App 

This is one of the most popular scripture memorization apps available. This app is available on Android and iOS. The free version will allow you up to 50 verses and after that, the full app costs $9.99. It has quite a number of useful tools and it teaches the Bible verses using some game-like features.

how to memorize scripture

Bible Memory by MemLok

how to memorize scripture

This Bible memory app is sharable among friends and family. It has 5 Bible translations and allows the user to create their personal Bible memory journey and play Bible memory games. This app has versions that will allow the whole family to have the app on their phone and is worth a look.

Remember Me

The Remember Me app (for Apple and Android) can also assist you in Bible verse memorization. This app also allows you to play several different games that help make memorization more fun. When you have completed memorizing a verse the app will bring it back up to review every few days to help you retain what you have memorized.

Fighter Verses

how to memorize scripture

The Fighter Verses Bible memory system was designed to help strengthen believers in their faith journey by helping them be equipped with scripture. This system will work for individuals or groups and lets you move at your own pace.

It has over 1000 verses preloaded and you can add any verse and organize them in various categories. This app has 11 translations of the Bible.

Scripture Memory Fellowship

Scripture Memory Fellowship is the former Bible Memory Association. This is an organization that exists to help Christians get the Word of God “deep in their hearts.” This organization has many decades of service to those who want a lifestyle that includes scripture memorization. They have the Scripture Memory Fellowship App.

It has five Bible translations and includes accountability features, commentary on the verses, and application questions, and allows you to record and playback your memory verses.


7. Recite the Scripture Out Loud

Being able to recite your Bible verses out loud is a fairly big test of whether you have learned the verse well or not. Certainly, silently meditating on the word is beneficial. However, when you are really trying to nail it down and make sure you have the verse memorized it is beneficial to make a habit of saying it out loud.

There is just something about hearing yourself saying those words. Hearing those words come from inside you helps seal the deal in terms of Bible memorization.


8. Set the Bible Verse To Music

This one is a method that I have done a bit as a songwriter. Music has long been used to help memorize various texts. As a musician, it makes total sense to me.

There is no doubt in my mind that I can memorize words that are set in a musical form much easier than I can if they are not. Some people use existing songs to sing the verses to. Also, you can simply make up your own tune, record it on your phone and learn it along with the melody you come up with.


9. Memorize As a Part of a Group or Family

Although each person must work to memorize the scripture passages, having an accountability group or discipleship group working on scripture verses together can be very helpful and can keep you motivated.

Having a small group of other believers working on the same passages can make the process more fun and helps bring unity and fellowship between you and the other believers who might be working on the same scripture together.


10. Read Your Newer Verses Many Times

If you choose a passage or some verses that you want to memorize it’s helpful to read them over and over again. There are those who suggest reading your new verses over and over for weeks before you “officially” start memorizing them.

That way when you begin to actually memorize the verses, they have become familiar to your mind that you have a flow of the text and your mind will begin filling in the blanks.


Conclusion

Just to wrap it up, these are just suggestions. Some of these suggestions may be more important to you than others depending on your personality, your learning traits, and what is comfortable to you.

If you are very digitally minded in nature, don’t be afraid to try the old-school methods. And, equally, if you tend to go for the old school methods you should be open to digital methods also.

Do your own study and exploration of various Bible memorization methods. There are many people out there who have done much in this area and many helpful articles and resources are available on the internet.

The primary issue is to get started. Jump in and go! Put the word of God into your heart and mind and let it affect you each day. His word is true and wonderful and hiding it in your heart is worth all of the effort!


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