There is no doubt there are many benefits of memorizing scripture—hiding God’s Word in our hearts is a command that is an act of grace toward us helping us learn and grow in our walk with the Lord. However, so many of us already struggle to make the time for daily Bible reading, let alone for memorizing Scripture. For those looking for some new ideas to incorporate this important practice into your life—these 5 easy methods make it manageable on a daily basis.
Almost eighteen years ago after responding with an eager, “Yes!” to the big question, my new fiancé approached me with a second proposal: “What if we memorized the Song of Solomon together?”
I agreed (of course), but inwardly, I was skeptical. Song of Solomon?!
How was that mushy, hard-to-understand book, filled with strange symbolism and mystical imagery, going to help my walk with the Lord?
Still, I memorized it, pressing through the dryness, reasonably certain I wasn’t getting anything from it.
But then something happened.
THE LORD ENCOURAGED ME WITH A VERSE
During a busy church season, feeling weary and overworked, the Lord gave me a living verse from that odd text. I remembered,“My own vineyard have I not kept…”—and I knew I needed to return to Him for strength (Song of Solomon 1:6, KJV).
While sharing with a sister who couldn’t ‘feel’ God anymore, I remembered, “Where has your beloved gone?” (Song of Solomon 6:1). As I recalled the story in my mind, I was able to assure this young believer that her experience was normal.
Once, after a long season that felt like death, the Lord encouraged me with another verse, “Who is that coming up from the wilderness, leaning on her beloved,” reminding me that it is through difficult wilderness seasons that we best learn to lean upon Him (Song of Solomon 8:5).
When I finished memorizing Song of Solomon those many years ago, nothing immediately changed. There was no powerful experience that followed, no special moment of revelation. But in the 18 years since, the Lord has used this stockpiled treasury of words as His voice in my heart. Those words have given timely help and encouragement over and over again in my everyday life.
THE BENEFITS OF MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE
Throughout the Bible, God’s servants remind us repeatedly of the benefits of hiding God’s Word in our heart.
“This I recall to my mind; therefore, I have hope,” Jeremiah tells us (Lamentations 3:21, KJV).
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin…” David reminds us (Psalm 119:11, NIV).
Paul says the Word should “richly dwell within us” so that we may be able to “teach and admonish one another” (Colossians 3:16).
The Lord frequently quoted Scripture when answering the Pharisees and in response to Satan’s wilderness temptations.
WHY WE MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE
We don’t memorize the Word to get bragging rights; we memorize because we want to know Him more. When we sit and ask our Lord a question and He brings a living Word to our heart, we get to experience the richness of fellowship. We long to be useful in the body of Christ. God’s Word equips us to stand against temptation, to praise under a cloud of depression, and to have an answer when challenged by others. Each of these experiences is enriched through memorizing Scripture. The apostle John tells us the mark of a growing Christian is that the “word of God abides in [him],” enabling him to overcome (1 John 2:14). As we grow in the Lord and seek to know Him more, we should make time for Bible memorization.
5 METHODS FOR MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE
But how? I used to think you needed 30 minutes of daily study and a stack of index cards to commit to the practice of Bible memory. But when little ones came along, I needed to rethink how I memorized the Word. If you’ve written out cards, only to give up after a few weeks, perhaps these methods will encourage you to try again.
1 | Morning Manna—for Individual Verses
When God gave the Israelites manna in the wilderness, everyone gathered as much as they were able. They collected food only in the morning, but they returned to their gleanings throughout the day. Whether your morning devotional is 30 minutes—or just five—after you’ve meditated on a few verses, write one of them down on an index card. Keep the card in your pocket, on the kitchen counter, or somewhere you’ll see it throughout the day. When tempted to grab your phone, read the card instead. On your way into the bathroom, take it with you. Repeat it aloud at least 10 times, or turn it into a silly song. By the end of the day, you’ll likely have it memorized.
Bonus Tip: from Journeywoman podcaster, Hunter Beless: “Write the first letter from each word in the verse on the inside of your wrist, so it stays with you—but won’t wash off.”
2 | Scriptures in the Shower—For Chapters or Books of the Bible
Currently, I’m learning the book of First John in my shower. After seeing a similar method suggested by author and pastor’s wife, Glenna Marshall, I immediately made photocopies of the text from my travel Bible. I placed the copied pages back-to-back in small Ziploc bags, sealed the bags, and duct-taped them, book-style, to my shower walls. Now, evening showers bring a time for Bible memorization—and give me something to do while waiting on the conditioner.
3 | Learning with Letters—For Review of Longer Passages
If you’ve ever tried to retain a lengthy portion of Scripture but have grown frustrated by a wandering mind, you may appreciate this method. Writing out the first letter of every word in the passage helps your mind stay focused, enabling you to review quickly. I’m not too fond of this method for initial memorization because I feel it cheats your brain a bit, and the words don’t stick quite as well. But for reviewing an already memorized passage, this system is great.
Bonus Tip: Write small, and you can fit an entire chapter on one card!
4 | Follow Along As You Fold (or Wash, or Drive)—Making Use of An Audio Bible
These days, we have audio Bibles in almost every translation. The next time you are doing a household chore, take out your phone and play your favorite chapter. This works great for trips or extended errand drives too. It takes only minutes—sometimes less than a minute—to listen through once. Keep it on repeat and you may be surprised to find yourself familiar with the passage before you reach your destination or finish a chore. As you begin to get comfortable with the words, try speaking along with the reader. Keep this up for a month or so, focusing on one verse until you get it, then adding another and another, as you work your way through the passage.
Bonus Tip: From Susan Heck, a pastor’s wife known for memorizing the entire New Testament: Record the passage with your own voice and listen at double speed to increase brain connections.
5 | Sing the Scripture
When my children were still small, I felt overwhelmed by the idea of any type of memory work. But the Lord used Steve Green’s Scripture songs to minister to my heart. Later, we tuned into Seeds Family Worship, and my children began to memorize alongside me. Some days, we still take a verse and turn it into a silly song—not a musical masterpiece, but a tune to make it memorable. Songs remain one of my favorite ways to learn scripture and there are many helpful resources for this method.
AS YOU BEGIN MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE
NO WRONG VERSE
Proverbs 16:3 encourages us, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” If you want to memorize the Word, start by asking the Lord to lead you. There’s no wrong verse to memorize. Some chapters are suggested more often (Psalm 23, Psalm 91, Matthew 5-7, Romans 2-3, Romans 6-8). You could use key verses to help overcome a specific sin or struggle. But as my experience testifies, the Lord can and will use all of His Word. Choose a passage you love and begin, prayerfully asking the Lord to work in you (Philippians 2:13). Bible memory is hard, deliberate work. We like the idea of it and we enjoy the result—but many of the practices mentioned above are repetitious, sometimes tedious endeavors. You won’t always feel the immediate gratification of sweet encouragement as you’re drilling verses into your brain.
PRACTICE BRINGS MATURITY
“But solid food is for the mature,” Hebrews 5:14 (NASB) tells us, “who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” There are secrets to be discovered and communion with Christ to be gained. It’s there, and you can do it—but you won’t know unless you begin. Try one verse this week and another next week. Little by little, “because of practice,” we mature. The Word of God abides in us, and we begin to grow, unnoticed at first, but after a while, buds appear: Our stack of memory cards thickens, His Word comes alive in prayer, and His Spirit brings verses to mind when fellowshipping with a friend. Soon our diligence brings forth visible fruit, useful to the Master for His glory.
May the Lord help us begin this blessed work of hiding His Word in our hearts!
If you’re new here and haven’t heard, Katherine wrote a year-long curriculum to help families memorize the word together. Find out more by visiting her website, writethewordonmyheart.com, or look it up on Amazon. You can also see lots of details and preview the inside on Instagram @writethewordonmyheart
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