If you don’t memorize Scripture, does that make you a bad Christian? Not necessarily. God teaches His children different lessons at different times according to His good pleasure and grace. If that sounds like you right now, then it’s my hope that you find this article interesting without distracting you from what God is currently teaching you. However, there is much to be said for memorizing Scripture. When we internalize the Word of God, the Holy Spirit can–and often does–work through that. He uses it as a means of giving us unction, to lovingly correct us, and to multiply blessings in our lives. Because of that, it’s my personal belief that every Christian would benefit from memorizing Scripture.
But the question remains…. How do you memorize Bible verses? Well, the part of the brain that is in charge of your memory is more than gray matter. It’s a muscle. Just like any other muscle in the body, it needs to be stretched and exercised regularly. If you haven’t worked with this muscle in a while, don’t worry! It’s not too late! It just means that you’ll have to put in a little extra effort into strengthening it. So, let’s explore some memory tricks and tools you can use to help you memorize the Bible.
There are three main learning styles: visual, audio, and tactile (hands-on). Visual people learn by seeing a verse. Whenever they try to recall it, they’ll visualize that page in their Bible or the index card it’s written on. Audio people learn best by hearing the verse. Tactile people earn best by touch, which means they either have to be doing something to keep their hands busy while their mind is engaged in memorizing or they or they have to find a way to connect movement to the verse, like using hand motions or acting it out. However, if you’re like me (and most people), you will learn best when the learning styles are mixed. I typically learn best with a visual-tactile style. But when I’m memorizing, I use all three styles. I picture the page in my Bible (visual), walk around (tactile) while I’m quoting out loud (audio) and incorporate sign language when I can (tactile).
There are literally hundreds of memorizing strategies, and this article outlines the one that I like using the most. If my method doesn’t work for you, however, google “Bible Memory Strategies” and try other ways until you find one that works for you.
Step 1: Read it three times out loud.
This will satisfy both the visual and the audio learning styles. If you’re a tactile learner, come up with hand motions or play with a rubber band while you’re doing this. Of course, make sure that you understand what you’re memorizing. It does you no good if the Bible is just head knowledge– it needs to be heart knowledge, too.
Step 2: Say the verse out loud without looking at it.
Do not expect to be able to say it perfectly or entirely. If you can say 3-5 words, that’s 3-5 more words of Scripture that you didn’t have memorized two minutes ago.
Step 3: Read it out loud again.
Make note of what you missed when you quoted it in step 2.
Step 4: Repeat step 2.
You should be able to say it a bit better. But even if you can’t, just take a deep breath and try again.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3-4 as many times as necessary.
The secret to memorizing is repetition. At this point, it’s nice to have a someone to quote to, especially if you’re feeling discouraged or brain-tired.
Step 6: Do something else for about 10 minutes.
This gives your mind a break and will let your memory muscle relax so you can hit the verse again with new fervor.
Step 7: Quote the verse to yourself again, and check yourself afterward.
Don’t be upset with yourself if you don’t remember it entirely. Memorizing, in general, isn’t easy; memorizing Scripture can be mentally– and spiritually– grueling. Just repeat steps 3-6 again. When you can say it completely, give yourself a well-earned pat on the back!
It takes a lot of effort to “hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we won’t sin against God” (Psalms 119:11). The mind is a complex “computer” that sometimes forgets things that we want to remember. Bible memory isn’t as simple as moving the verse onto a mental flash drive to keep it safe for years to come. Truth be told, the process is more like engraving steel. Over the next few weeks–and even months–quote the verse to yourself and others. The more you quote it, the more it will be chiseled into your brain… and the less likely you will be to forget it.
Warning: symptoms of excessively memorizing God’s Word include a closer relationship with your heavenly Father, improved memory, increased mental function, enhanced spiritual sight, and increased knowledge of and confidence in Biblical truths. If you experience any of these or other positive side effects, praise God and then tell a friend.