Scripture Memory Made Simple

by JSheaForrest

Five easy tips to make memorizing Bible verses something anyone can do.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" Deutoronomy 6:5-7

Sure, you may say, that was easy back then. But nowadays, life is so much more complicated. How can I devote time to memorizing scripture when I can barely keep up with my family's schedules?

But fear not: Anyone can memorize scripture with these five tips that won't take more than a few minutes a day.

Write It Down

When I was a kid, and got in trouble for forgetting something -- my homework, to put something away, to lock the door behind me when I left -- my parents made me write "I will take my homework with me to school" over and over. I HATED it. But, it worked.

Writing down scripture verses on index cards, sticky notes, your bathroom mirror. Put the note next to your computer keyboard, on your fridge, on the windshield of your car. Remember the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind"? It's similar with this. Writing it down a few times helps it stick in your mind, and so does keeping it in mind by seeing it repeatedly throughout the day.

If writing and reading aren't your thing, another idea is to record yourself reading it. Most phones these days have a voice-recorder built in. Turn it on, read the passage, and play back the recording several times throughout the day, and you'll have it memorized in no time.

Suggested Scriptures To Memorize

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Break It Down

Not all Bible verses are little, easy-to-memorize chunks. For every "Jesus wept", (John 11:35) there's a "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23) And some of the best verses to memorize aren't single verses, but a few together - such as Deuteronomy 6:5-7 as I quoted at the beginning. How can you memorize something so long?

It's much easier if you break it down into smaller portions and memorize a little at a time. If you first memorize, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might"; then add on "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart"; then tack on each of the phrases in the last verse: "you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lay down and when you rise up." If you memorize in smaller portions like that, it's much easier.

First Things First

Studies have shown that actively recalling something you're trying to memorize is better than simply repeating it over and over. This is the key principle behind flashcards. In memorizing scripture, there's an even better online tool than flashcards.

Memorize Now is a site that lets you put in a passage -- or anything you want to memorize -- and it reveals it as just the first letters of each word. This turns Deutoronomy 6:5 into this:

"Y s l t L y G w a y h, w a y s, a w a y m."

Try printing that out onto a notecard, with the full verse on the back so you can check yourself.




Use It Or Lose It

Remembering something often is key to remembering it long-term. As the verse says, " You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." Using the verse you're memorizing in conversation with your kids, when you're sitting around the dinner table, when you're doing devotions, during your excercise routine, while you cook and clean and go about your day - that's a great way to make it stick.

Make It Matter

Meaningful material lasts with you longer. In school, the lessons that are relevant to your daily life and interests are much more likely to be remembered than ones you are disinterested in. The same is true with anything you're trying to remember: if it matters, it's remembered.

Don't let the words sit there on the page: Bring them to life. Think about what they really mean. Would your life be different if you applied them to your life? How would they be different? If you really take them to heart, they'll stay in your heart.

As David prayed, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You." (Psalm 119:11.

Updated: 07/11/2012, JSheaForrest
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Peter on 12/19/2013

I made a free iPhone Bible Memory app which helps me to practice scripture memory verses. It lets you memorize scripture in whatever size chunks works best for you, as you mention, and you can practice the verse by typing the first letter of each word.

It also schedules verses for review, so they can be practiced regularly.

If you try it out, please let me know if it's helpful! God bless you :)

BrendaReeves on 07/18/2012

These are some very good techniques for memorizing. I've been wanting to memorize the Amendments to the Constitution and the Periodic Table just for the heck of it.

JSheaForrest on 07/18/2012

Thanks Sheila, that's very true! There are all kinds of learners -- learning by moving = kinestetic, learning by hearing = auditory, by seeing = visual, etc. While some people learn best primarily with one method, most people learn best with a combination.
I'm glad to meet you too. *offers cookies and milk* :D

sheilamarie on 07/17/2012

I have often found that moving one's body can help some people with memorization, too. Part of writing it down is just that -- moving your hand as you make the letters to the words. It's important to realize that it's not just our brain that remembers things. Some things we remember with our whole bodies or with our whole persons -- body, soul, and spirit. When memorizing the Bible, this is especially important. We are not simply trying to repeat words by rote but to have those words settle into our hearts.
I'm glad to meet you and glad that you are writing on this site.

JSheaForrest on 07/11/2012

Good luck Chris! Let us know how well they work for you. :)

Chris on 07/11/2012

Love the ideas and I'm going to try them this week.

JSheaForrest on 07/11/2012

That's a fair bit to memorize! I looked it up and couldn't find the seven-long-paragraph version, but the one I did find - by Doreen Valiente - is quite beautiful. :) My long-term goal is to memorize my favorite passages from Isaiah - by far my favorite book of the Bible. Biblical poetry is so beautiful, even without the beauty of the promises in them. :D

JoHarrington on 07/11/2012

I once managed to memorize the whole Charge of the Goddess (seven long paragraphs and a Blessed be) by copying it out by hand. I then learned it line by line, reading it aloud, repeating it and carrying on until I had it.

I've forgotten most of it again now. -.-

JSheaForrest on 07/11/2012

With these tips, in ten minutes last night, I memorized Philippians 1:9-10 (chosen because I had heard it on the radio earlier that day.) "And this is my prayer: that you may grow in knowledge and in depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless til the day of Christ." (Holman Standard Version). Now that's no guarantee I'll remember it a week from now though! While researching this article, I found a free tool called Mnemosyne which helps you remember things long-term. ( I'm going to try it out over the next week or two and if I like it, I'll add it. :D

I should also do a bit on the different ways of learning -- sounds like your friend is an auditory learner. :) I'll add that suggestion up on the write it down section too.

JoHarrington on 07/10/2012

Great Wizzle! I love your ideas on memorizing things. I have a friend who has to learn lines for plays (she's an actress). She records it on a tape-recorder, then listens to it back while she's doing the housework or driving etc.

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