Memorize Scripture: 12 Keys For Making It Happen!

By Dr. Bob Martin III
Published 3 years ago

A desire to memorize Scripture isn’t a high priority among many Christians. And the problem appears epidemic among young adult believers.

Why is that? 


I.   Why We Don’t Memorize Scripture

First, we live in a technologically savvy culture. Scripture is readily available to us via apps and online. But easier access ironically discourages us from putting Scripture in our memories.

Second, our information-saturated world bombards us with distractions. In particular, entertainment, jobs, and activities all distract us. As a result, our attention is not on storing God’s Word in our hearts (Ps. 119:11). 

The third is our tendency towards sin. Sadly, that sin arises from three sources (James 4:1-7)–from surrounding culture (the world), our own sinful desires (flesh), and from Satan. 

That is to say, sin keeps us from desiring, knowing, and loving God and his Word. Memorized Scripture overcomes these sources of sin. As an illustration, remember Jesus’s confrontation with Satan (Matt. 4:1-11). 

Fourth, younger Christians have a less mature faith. As a result, young Christians may not appreciate the value of memorized verses. After all, they haven’t seen the power these verses can have for personal growth and evangelism.


II.   Why Do We Memorize Scripture? Because It’s Necessary

Specifically, God has told us to take off our old way of thinking. And in contrast, we should put on a new way of thinking by renewing our minds (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:22-24). 

And to accomplish God’s commands, we need our minds focused on God continuously. Memorized Scripture is that resource. But that requires prayer and meditation throughout the day (Isa. 26:3; 1 Thes. 5:16–18). 

In particular, our goal should be a mature faith and to overcome the evil within and around us. Accordingly, memorized Scripture is an excellent place to start. Chiefly because it is always available to us, so the Holy Spirit can apply it when we need it. 


III.   Is Memorizing Scripture Too Hard? 

No!  Have you ever considered how many song lyrics you’ve memorized? Certainly, memorizing Scripture should be as easy as learning song lyrics. And it has the added benefit of renewing our minds. 


IV.   Memorize Scripture and Get Benefits

Regular reading and Scripture memorization has many benefits. Specifically, it increases the depth, power, and wisdom of our prayers. Additionally, it helps us overcome and avoid many of life’s challenges. 

In fact, Jesus said, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). 

All things considered, are you ready to start memorizing Scripture? If so, let’s consider practical ways to memorize biblical passages. 


V.   Before You Begin to Memorize Scripture:


Preparation for Scripture Memorization Be Motivated! Be Patient & Committed Simplify Find a Set Time Personalize It Pick Your Translation


1.   Be Motivated!

Above all, Bible memorization helps you develop a more intimate relationship with God (Ps. 42:1). Without a doubt, Scripture can overcome discouragement, anxiety, fear, anger, and hurt. 


2.   Be Patient and Committed

Undeniably, like any new skill, memorization takes time and effort. And it’s not uncommon to be initially disappointed. 

Yes, memorizing Scripture may be more challenging than you expected. But you will succeed with time, practice, commitment, and patience (1 Pet. 2:2). 


3.   Simplify 

Set realistic goals. For this reason, memorize one short verse per week. And as you become more proficient, begin learning longer passages. 


4.   Find a Set Time 

Memorize when you are freshest and least distracted. For instance, early morning Scripture memorization is particularly productive (Mark 1:35).


5.   Personalize It 

Choose a passage that addresses a personal challenge. For instance, learn verses about fear, anxiety, anger, lust, greed, or pride. 

Second, inserting personal pronouns or your name within the verse can be helpful. 

For example, in Psalm 119:9: “How can [I] keep [my] way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” 


6.   Pick Your Translation 

Additionally, memorize your verses from your usual Bible translation. Some good translations include ESV, NIV, and NLT.


VI. Memorize Scripture: 12 Keys for Making It Happen

Now that you see how vital it is to memorize Scripture, let’s look at 12 keys for how to do it.


12 Keys for Memorizing Scripture 1. Start with Prayer 2. Read The Context 3. Read It Out Loud 4. Use Memory Aids 5. Review Regularly 6. One-Month Rule 7. Use it! 8. Accountability Partner 9. Increase Passage Length 10. Break large passages into smaller ones 11. Stay Humble 12. Memorization Alone Won't Make You More Godly


1.   Start with Prayer 

Most importantly, start your time in prayer. To begin with, ask for the Holy Spirit’s help. Specifically that he will help you memorize, understand and apply his Word. 

It’s important to realize you are building a storehouse of knowledge. And that foundation will lead to wisdom and more intimacy with God. And as a result, you will become more like Jesus. 


2.   Read The Context 

Specifically, seek to understand the verse’s context. In particular, study the passages before and after the verse(s). 

In essence, what was the original author communicating to the original audience? On the other hand, If the answer isn’t clear, use a study Bible or commentary.



3.   Read It Out Loud … More Than Once

Read the entire verse aloud several times. This will start getting it into you

Also, you can recite the reference (book, chapter, verse) before and after each time you say it.


4.   Use Memory Aids

A variety of memory aids are available. For instance, flashcards or music can be helpful. In addition, pictures, games, and typing or writing out the verse helps it stick. 

For example, I am a big fan of the MemLok app because of its visual aids. Similarly, I like the Bible Memory app and the NavPress cards. But there are many other ways to use memory aids, including making up your own visuals for the verse, creating hand motions, or writing out just the first letter of each word.


5.   Review Regularly

To retain what you have learned requires repetition over time. To that end, repeat your memory verse several times. 

Say it first thing when you wake up. After that, recite it again during your quiet moments in the day and at bedtime. Concurrently, having these verses written on cards or on your phone is helpful for quick viewing. 


6.   One-Month Rule

Retaining memorized Scripture in long-term memory is essential. To that end, stick with reciting and repeating your verse for thirty days before letting it go. Then you can just review it according to a more loose time frame.


7.   Use it! 

Basically, another purpose of memorizing Scripture is to apply it to real-life situations! 

  • Is your friend going through a hard time? Say your verse!
  • Are you asked to pray before small group time? Pray your verse!
  • Did someone ask you what you’ve been thinking about lately? Share your verse!

You can even teach your verse to another Christian friend who needs something good to be thinking about.


8.   Get an Accountability Partner 

Another issue is remaining accountable. If you want to memorize Scripture and stay engaged, ask a friend or significant other to partner with you. As a result, you will experience enhanced motivation. 


9.   Increase The Length Of The Passages 

Undeniably, nothing guarantees motivation like success. So start to memorize Scripture with well-known short passages. For example:


After that, begin learning longer verses, paragraphs, chapters, and even books. For instance:


10.   Break Long Passages into Small Passages

When memorizing long passages or chapters, break them into small phrases. Then don’t move on until you have the smaller portions well-memorized. 


11.   Stay Humble

As you memorize Scripture, It’s important to remember to remain humble with your newly gained knowledge

For example, recall Jesus’s criticism of the Pharisees for their pride (Matthew 6:1). In fact, seeking to be smarter or more holy than others will guarantee you are neither. 


12.   Warning! Scripture Memorization Doesn’t Make You More Spiritual

In reality, Scripture memorization alone doesn’t make you more spiritual or closer to God. In addition, you need to pray and meditate on Scripture. 

Eventually, the combination of those things will lead to personal transformation. Likewise, those things together will contribute to the right attitude of humility and dependency on God. Furthermore, it results in a genuine desire to honor God rather than ourselves. 

Head knowledge doesn’t mean life transformation. We must use what we’re memorizing to draw us closer to God and obeying him.


VII.   Don’t Wait to Begin Memorizing Scripture

When should I start to memorize Scripture? Right now!

Theology scholar Charles Ryrie once recommended that Christians learn 50-100 Bible verses over the next year. Whether we’re learning passages that are personally applicable, complete chapters, or based on a topic we want to think about, we will be dripping with God’s words.

This week, start to memorize Scripture. Embedding God’s Word into our mind and heart will draw closer to him and make use more like Jesus. But even more, we’ll be able to help others through life’s challenges too. 


Further Resources

Binmin Podcast Ep. 1a: “What is Bible Knowledge?” Part 1 of 2

Binmin Podcast Ep. 1b: “What is Bible Knowledge?” Part 2 of 2

Scripture Memorization: A Comprehensive Owner’s Manual for Life

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