If you haven’t read Part 1 of this three-part series, you can check it out here. Are you convinced yet that memorizing Scripture is important for every Christian? As I said in Part 1, it’s not so we can check it off a holy to-do list, but because of the medium Scripture provides for the Holy Spirit to guide us, day by day.
Maybe you are sold that memorizing God’s Word is important, but you’re wondering where to begin. How does someone memorize Scripture, just read it over and over? Here in Part 2 of the series, I’m going to give you a few tips and strategies on how to memorize Bible verses.
First, let’s get a few technicalities out of the way. Before you start memorizing, I think it’s important for you to define what “memorization” means to you. Do you consider a Bible verse as “memorized” if you can write it all out? Or maybe write it out with a few of the filler words given (like, “a,” “an”, “the”)? Or should you be able to say it out loud, off the top of your head? Do you need to get every single word right, or is it okay if you say “disciple” instead of “disciples”? Or what if you forget the word “therefore” at the beginning of a sentence?
I know it all sounds technical, but it’s important for you to have a clear understanding of your goal, so that you know what success looks like for you. Success may look different for everyone, but I’d say that for Scripture to have an impact on us, we should be able to say it out loud, even if we get a few of the words wrong on occasion. We should aim to get all of the major words right 100% of the time, but if we accidentally say “a” instead of “the”, etc, we don’t have to sweat it.
In my opinion, being able to say Bible verses out loud is better than just writing them. As you’ll see below, I do think that being able to write out Scripture is an important way to memorize, but I think that the best way to tell if Scripture is “on your heart” is if you can speak it. From what I’ve experienced, when you can speak Scripture you can usually always write it out. However, being able to write it doesn’t mean you can also say it.
Now that we’ve gotten those knitty-gritty details out of the way, here is my list of tips and tricks to memorize the Bible!
First Method: Memorizing by Writing
Personally, writing out Bible verses is how I always begin with memorization. For me, once I get a grasp on the flow of the verses through writing, it is easier for me to start saying it out loud. I will start with writing it out and then move to speaking it as I’m writing it. Here are a couple tricks to writing Scripture.
Trick 1: Erase words as you go
This is easiest if you have something like a chalkboard or whiteboard where you can easily erase words. To do this method, first write out the entire verse or passage you want to memorize. Read it over a few times, saying it out loud as you read. Then erase a few of the major words. Now go through it again, filling in those blanks with the correct word. Erase more major words. Keep erasing and keep writing the missing words in, while saying it out loud. Eventually you will be left with only the little words like “and” or “the”. You may even erase these little words!
Trick 2: Fill-in-the-blank worksheet
This is very similar to trick 1, but doesn’t require a chalkboard or whiteboard. After you’ve read through your verse or passage several times, create a fill-in-the-blank worksheet for yourself. You can do this on the computer or write it out by hand. Write out the Scripture, creating a blank for all the major words, leaving the small words like prepositions or contractions. Before you start filling it out, make copies! Or, just speak it, saying the missing words out loud.
Eventually you will get to a point where you could write it all out off the top of your head! But don’t stop here, be sure to take it to the next step: saying it out loud.
Second Method: Memorizing by Speaking
Like I said before, I think that the best way to evaluate if a Bible verse is memorized is if we can speak it out loud. But it can be hard to start with speaking it until we get a handle on the verse (done by writing it). Once you are familiar with the verse, now is the time to start speaking it! There is only one trick to this: speak! Say it over and over again. But here are a few tips to help you.
Tip 1: Be active while you’re memorizing
Walk around or jog while you memorize. Or even do something as simple as chew gum. Studies have shown that moving while you memorize helps you memorize faster. This is because you are using both sides of your brain at once!
Tip 2: Act out what you are memorizing
You might feel a little silly doing this, but it can help you immensely! Make up gestures and actions that go with the words you are memorizing. Similar to tip #1, it will cause you to use both sides of your brain, and the actions will help you remember the key phrases.
Tip 3: Draw or imagine a picture of the verse
Create a picture of the scene or some kind of representation of the concept of the verse. The Scripture will cease to be just a string of words, but will seem more tangible. Envisioning the picture will help you recall the words.
Tip 4: Try the buddy system
If you have a friend who also wants to memorize Scripture, try memorizing together! Get together for a memorization date and try saying the verse back-and-forth, each of you saying only one word at a time. This is tough, but fun!
Not all tricks or tips will work for everyone. We all learn differently, which means we all memorize differently. Don’t be afraid of trying out some new methods to find out what works for you. If one trick doesn’t work, move on to another. Remember the old phrase: if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Find what works best for you, and don’t feel discouraged if memorization doesn’t come easy at first. It takes time and hard work, but it’s worth it!
Here’s one last tip: make it visible
Keep the Scripture that you are memorizing somewhere you will see it often. Write it on your mirror. Put it on flash cards that you tape up around the house or in your car. Keep it visible and handy. The more often you see it, the more it will be on your mind, and the faster you’ll commit it to memory!
I hope these tricks and tips have inspired you to embark on a journey to hide Scripture in your heart! Be sure to comment and let me know of some of the tips you have used to memorize. And be on the lookout for Part 3 of this series, where I’ll give you an idea list of Bible verses to memorize.