Christ’s example we see that it is very useful to have some Scripture committed to memory. Some of you are thinking right now, “Not me. I can’t memorize anything!” Well, keep reading. This blog is for you, too. There are at least three good reasons why it’s beneficial to have portions of the Bible memorized:
The first good reason to memorize Scripture is that it’s convenient. Every day, we recall and use words and numbers we have previously memorized. We sing songs we have committed to memory. We cook meals using recipes we have memorized. We use passwords we have mentally retained in order to open our computer files or devices. We may even have our social security number memorized. Memorization is a tool that helps us keep information readily available when it’s needed. Put another way, memorization is convenient. If we memorize an item, the information is with us wherever we are. In like manner, when we memorize Scripture, the Word of God is with us wherever we are! How convenient!
The next good reason to memorize Scripture is that it’s commanded. We are encouraged and instructed by our Lord to keep the Word of God in our hearts. Consider these Biblical references:
Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall
meditate on it day and night…
Job 22:22 – Receive instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart.
Psalm 37:31 – The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.
Psalm 40:8 – I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.
Psalm 119:11 – I have stored up Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
Memorizing Scripture has been certified. Think about it! Jesus, the Son of God, as mentioned previously, used Scripture to dispel the work of Satan. Now, I’m fairly certain that, as the devil was tempting Him in the wilderness, Jesus did not suddenly reach into His garment pocket and take out a scroll to look up the verses from Deuteronomy. Nope! He didn’t need to. He already knew the verses. Of course, the verses came from Him originally anyway. Our point, nonetheless, is that Jesus quoted the verses by memory, so we know that He did indeed memorize scripture! By His example, Jesus approved (certified) for us the memorization of scripture!
Here are a few introductory pointers:
(1) This method has been used successfully, but not without effort. Having a strong desire to learn and memorize God’s Word is essential.
(2) Pick your favorite version of the Bible (ESV, NASB, NIV, NLT, KJV, etc.) and stick with it. Memorizing multiple versions is more difficult. You might want to leave that to the Bible scholars and theologians.
(3) Choose a verse that is special to you.
(4) Pray and ask the Lord to help you memorize the verse. (Do you think He won’t help!? ☺)
(5) Try to do your memorizing at the same time every day. Having a definite time set aside for memorizing will establish a good work ethic and a pattern of consistency.
(6) Now you’re ready to apply these four helpful steps—one method, four steps.
Step 1: Read and Write. Repeat.
On the first day, read your chosen verse several times slowly, focusing on what you are reading. Break the verse into segments and repeat the segments several times. This will help you become familiar with the words. Then write the verse out several times on a notepad, 3x5 card or type it on a laptop or tablet. Avoid copy and paste activity, please! Write/type the verse out each time. Read and write the same verse repeatedly on the first day.
Step 2: Write and Speak. Repeat.
On the second day, write out the verse several more times, focusing on what you are writing. Then say the verse aloud several times. It’s very important to speak the words of the verse. Write and speak this same verse repeatedly on the second day.
Step 3: Speak and Hear. Repeat.
On the third day, same as in step 2, say the same verse aloud several times. At this point, try to focus on speaking the verse without reading it. Then speak the verse into a recording device. Don’t be afraid to put appropriate emphasis in your voice as you record. Play the recording back. (You will probably not appreciate the sound of your own voice, but work through it—it’s that important.) If you make a mistake, simply erase and record again until the words are spoken correctly. This is important because you don’t want to memorize the words incorrectly. Now, listen carefully and repeatedly to the recording on the third day. By the end of this day, if you have been diligent in these first three steps, you should be pretty good at quoting the verse.
Step 4: Hear and Share. Repeat.
On the fourth day, listen to your recording of the verse again several times. Listen as if you’re trying to memorize a favorite song. After a while, speak the verse to a friend or family member, letting them know your purpose for quoting it. This is called sharing. Quote the verse several times to your listener(s). Share the verse as often as you can. When you quote the verse, you are giving it away. And when you repeatedly give the verse away you are keeping the verse in your head and heart. The more you give, the more you keep. Regularly repeating Bible verses you have memorized may sound silly, but it’s called good practice. And practice makes…well, you know.
Repeat any of steps 1-4 as necessary until you are confident you can quote your selected verse from memory. Then pick another verse, and repeat steps 1-4. Note: Feel free to combine steps/days together if you find the extra time.
(See what I did there?)
God bless you as you memorize His precious Word—one verse at a time!
Darrell Nichols is an Elder and Pastor of Education at commUNITY church in Muncie, Indiana.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_nichols_dimes