Summary: Take time to develop memorization skills so you can memorize the Bible little by little. Memorizing the Bible is useful for growing in godliness.
In my last post, I described how to study the Bible in depth. In this post, I talk about how to memorize the Bible and why this skill is necessary for your walk with Jesus.
When I was in Bible Quiz, a ministry in my denomination that helps teenagers learn Bible books, I memorized eight books of the Bible. Those books still come back to memory when the Holy Spirit reminds me of something in the Bible that applies to my life situations.
This psalmist talks about storing up God’s Word in our hearts to keep us from sinning against Him (Psalm 119:11). Scripture memorization has many benefits. Memorize God’s Word to access the many benefits of knowing His Word on hand without having to look it up. Let’s dive in and discover how to memorize the Bible.
Excuses against Memorizing the Bible
When I talk to people about the discipline of memorizing God’s Word, most people have an excuse for not memorizing. I use the word excuse instead of reason because anyone can memorize God’s Word. Think about music. The more you listen to a song, the more you remember it. Most of the time, you don’t even realize you are memorizing the lyrics.
The most common excuse I hear is, “I have a bad memory.” This is not true. Your brain can memorize many things. Your memory stores experiences and important data all the time. You don’t realize how well your memory works.
People who say they have a bad memory just choose not to expend the effort to exercise their “memory muscles.” The more you practice memorization, the better you will get at it. But you have to be proactive about memorizing the Bible.
Another excuse I hear often is, “I don’t have time to memorize.” But this is another fallacy people tell themselves. We take time to do the things we prioritize. When you see Bible memorization as important, you will find the time to practice it.
Can you think of any other excuses you may have? If you don’t take the time to practice Bible memorization, you will be unprepared to handle life situations and spiritual warfare. Let me give you some reasons you should prioritize Bible memorization.
Why Memorize the Bible?
When you memorize Bible verses, it gives the Spirit ammunition. How can the Holy Spirit bring back to remembrance God’s Word if you don’t memorize it? I talk about memorization as given the Holy Spirit ammunition for you to use later.
You will encounter life situations in which knowing God’s Word without looking it up will give you wisdom to handle these situations. God can speak to you through His Word when you hide it in your heart. It will become second nature to use godly wisdom when you memorize the Bible.
Second, It keeps you from having to refer to the Bible text all the time. You don’t always have the Bible with you. Even more, you won’t always know where to look up a Bible reference to help you. You must be familiar with where to find the things you need to know in Scripture.
Memorizing the Bible gives you the mind of the Spirit to know what God’s Word says and where it says it. You need to be familiar with the Bible. There’s no better way to know where everything is recorded than to memorize Scripture.
Third, you can meditate on it without the Bible in front of you. The psalmist talks about meditating on the Word all the day long (Psalm 119:15, 97; 1:2). Throughout the day, you can think about God’s Word and what it says. You train your brain to think of Scripture when you face trials and life situations.
Fourth, you can use it in spiritual warfare. When Jesus faced off with the devil in the wilderness, He used Scripture against him (Matthew 4:1-11). You can use Scripture in the same way when you cast out demons. You must know Scripture and how to use it in context to cast out demons.
Finally, it provides godly guidance and wisdom, and keeps us from sinning against the Lord (Psalm 119:24, 99-102). We know what God expects from us because He told us in the Bible. The more we know God’s Word, the less we make foolish mistakes and sin against Him.
How to Memorize the Bible
Anyone can memorize Scripture. It’s more a question of motivation than ability. We must realize the great value in remembering God’s Word for the purposes I mentioned in the previous section. When we see the value of memorization, we make time and effort to do it.
There are different ways to memorize the Bible. Some people are kinesthetic learners. When they move as they memorize, it becomes much easier to memorize them. If you plan better through movement, try walking as you memorize, tapping your foot, or moving your hands in ways that help you remember.
Other people write out the Bible verses, and that helps them to remember them. It engages more senses of the mind. The more senses you use while memorizing, the easier it is to recall them later.
Do not take full books and try to memorize them all at once. Take the Bible in small chunks. It’s easier to eat a meal by taking pieces at a time. Memorizing the Bible is the same way. If you try to memorize large chunks at one time, you will probably not do well. Then you will think it’s impossible.
Start with one verse at a time. Break the verse down into phrases. It takes the mind 6-8 times of repetition to remember it. So take the first phrase and repeat it to yourself. Do it out loud if you can. Then move to the next phrase. Repeat it to yourself. Combine the two phrases and repeat them to yourself until you can remember them.
Move to the third phrase and repeat it to yourself. Combine the third phrase with the first two. Follow this method to memorize the verse. The next day, move to the second verse and use the same practice of repetition. Once you have that verse memorized through repetition, combine the two verses. Use repetition to solidify them in your long-term memory. The third day, move to the third verse. Use the same practice of repetition to combine the first two verses with the third one, and so on.
Use the best way you learn to your advantage from memorization. If it’s moving, move while you learn the verse. If writing out the verses helps you to remember them, use this practice. Speak the verse as you write it. You hear it as you write it. You combine the sense of hearing with the sense of touch and with movement.
The more of your senses you can involve in memorizing, the easier your mind will recall the verses later. Memorization helps us recall the verses later. Then we can use God’s Word for the purposes we talked about in the first section. Most of all, remember the reasons you are memorizing Scripture. When it is harder for you to memorize, these reasons will empower you to keep trying.
The more you practice memorization, the easier it gets. Don’t give up. Keep trying, and you will succeed. You use the parts of your brain that help you memorize. It’s like using your muscles or lifting weights. The more you use your muscles, the stronger they get. The more you use the parts of your brain that help you memorize, the more your memory will improve.
If drawing a picture helps you to remember, draw pictures of the Scriptures. Try using pneumonic devices. Some people use acronyms to remember what they have memorized. If spelling out words that begin phrases that help you remember the verses, do that. I take the first letter of each word and remember the letters. That helps me to remember the phrases.
Here are a few resources to learn how to use mnemonics for Scripture memorization. Use the principles and examples to find your best memorization techniques to use this method.
- Mnemonic Devices Explained: 5 Types of Mnemonic Devices
- Memory and Mnemonic Devices
- Using Mnemonic Devices to Make Memorization Easier
Make it a daily practice to memorize the Bible little by little. Find passages that deal with your life experiences and circumstances, and memorize verses that have to do with them. Keep at it to become proficient in Bible memorization. Recall Bible verses to deal with your life situations.
Now that we have covered worship, prayer, and Bible intake for the purpose of godliness, I want to revisit the subject of prayer and offer practical tips on how to learn how to pray.