I love it when the absolutely perfect Scripture comes to my mind just when I need it! That’s the working of the Holy Spirit. But He doesn’t have a lot to work with if we don’t regularly read and memorize Scripture. King David wrote:

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

Memorizing Scripture puts a hedge around our heart, minds and actions. The Holy Spirit uses it to direct us, to re-direct us, and to comfort us. Those are good things!

There was a time in my life when I was much more active in memorizing Scripture. I think the time has come to return to the practice, so I wanted to share some tips for memorizing Scripture with you.

  1. Pray! Ask God to help you memorize the passage. Ask Him to bring the passage alive to you.
  2. Repetition is the key to memorization. Whichever of the following tools you implement (and I recommend you use a combination of them), use them again and again to help you own the verses you’re memorizing. Make use of previously “lost” time – like standing in line at the store, sitting at a red light, waiting for your dinner to cook or the TV commercial to be over.
  3. Speak and hear the passage. Repeat the verses out loud first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and last thing at night. Speaking the verses uses a different area of the brain than simply reading them and it allows you to hear the passage, bringing in yet another area of your brain into the process.
  4. Visualize the words of the passage. Write it on a business card and carry it with you. Take a picture of it with your cell phone and make it your cover image. Put it on a physical or digital post-it on your desktop computer, your laptop or your notebook. Tape it to your mirror, your refrigerator or your TV. The point is to put it in a place where you will see it regularly. As you see it, say it.
  5. Visualize the meaning or sense of the passage. Imagine the scene of the passage or associate it with an image that draws out the meaning of the passage.
  6. Use the passage. There must be a reason you’re memorizing it – so use it! If it’s a passage about giving thanks, repeat it before giving thanks. Share the verse with a friend who needs the encouragement or wisdom provided by the passage. Quote the passage when facing temptations.
  7. Sing the passage. Either find a song or make one up!
  8. Teach the verses to someone else – your children or a friend. Teaching something always reinforces it in the teacher’s mind.
  9. Find a friend who will memorize passages of Scripture with you. Everything is better with a good friend.
  10. Study the passage in more depth. Often learning what the words mean helps me to remember the passage.
  11. Find a “hook” – something that helps you get past stumbling places in the passage. For example, I’m memorizing Psalm 92:1-2 this week. The hardest part for me is remembering the first phrase – that is, getting started. I studied the passage (tip #9) and learned that the word “good” in the first phrase was also used by God to describe His creation. So when I go blank at the beginning of the verse, I pause and remember the hook instead of the words to the verse. The phrase “it is good!” comes to me immediately and from there I’ve got the verse down. (OK, I almost have it down, I’m still working on it a bit.)
  12. Look for transition words. If you find yourself getting partway through the passage and then get stuck, think about what transitions the passage you know with the passage you don’t know. Often there’s a small word that connects the two parts and you can use that word as a trigger for remembering the second part of the passage.
  13. Try an app! Desiring God has an app called Fighter Verses that is available for both iPhone and Android. And there are others. If you’ve got one that works for you, let us know so others can check it out.
  14. Enjoy the passage! Remember, it’s God’s Word! His love letter to you. His instruction book to you. His guide for successful living.
  15. And in the now infamous words of Nike – Just Do It!

I’ve read some other pretty creative ways to help people memorize Scripture as I’ve researched the topic. If you’ve got a unique (or not so unique) approach or tip that works for you, share it with us. It might just be the tip that someone else needs to be successful at memorizing Scripture.

Preview There’s a purpose in me publishing this blog today…watch for Tuesday’s post!

Comments are closed.

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter