Friday, May 23, 2008

Scripture Memorization - Part 3

Please see my previous posts (Part 1, Part 2) for the introduction to scripture memorization and why every Christian should be memorizing scripture.

To try and answer the question of how to memorize, I have put together a list of potentially helpful memorization techniques, some of which I use regularly, and some with which many of my friends have had success. I have highlighted the ones I have found most helpful, but all of them have provided value to someone in the past. I list so many different ways to memorize here that it may seem a little overwhelming. But the key here is to use as many avenues of memorization as possible. The greater the variety of interaction with the verse, the better.
  • Pray and ask God to enable you to memorize His Word.
  • Set aside at least 10-15 minutes a day to do nothing but Scripture memory.
    • The TV is a great distraction which grows to consume more and more of your time. It can take over your family time and any spare time that you have left after that! Many people do not realize that (almost all) the time spent in front of the TV could be invested elsewhere.
    • Use your break times or lunch time to memorize at work.
    • Use meal times as a time to memorize.
    • Memorize while exercising (i.e. while riding a stationary bike, running, walking or reading on a treadmill, etc.).
    • How about memorizing while showering? Use a plastic pocket or write the verses on a slip of paper that can be thrown away when it gets soggy. Better yet, write the verses on apiece of plastic (an old tablecloth, or clear plastic from the hardware store) using a permanent marker. If people can sing in the shower, why not say verses aloud in the shower?
  • Say the verses out loud several times.
  • Say the reference before and after.
  • Add voice emphasis on certain words and phrases.
  • Read the verse you are studying several times, emphasizing a different word each time. This will help you with understanding.
  • Memorize word perfect (close enough isn't good enough).
  • Read the verse in the Bible context.
  • Try to gain a clear understanding of what the verse means. (You may want to read the verse in several translations and consult a commentary to get a better grasp of the meaning of the verse.)
  • Assign a topic to the verse and include that on the memory card (e.g., God's sovereignty, assurance of salvation, etc.)
  • Meditate (reflect) on the verse (who, what, where, when, why, how).
  • Personalize the verse (How does this apply to my life? Insert your name in place of pronouns like you, he, they, etc.)
  • Visualize the verse (the words themselves and the meaning of the words).
  • Think through the logical flow of thought in the verses. Notice what the subject of the passage is and what is said about that subject. Notice the verbs and how they relate to the subject. Notice the order of events or ideas. Visualize the passage being acted out.
  • Think about memory tools for the verses. Try to think of things that jog your memory about the passage. For example: "The meek shall inherit the earth." There's a cliché that says "meek as a mouse" and I imagine a mouse scurrying along the ground and it reminds me that earth goes with meek. Don't worry about silly ideas, the sillier the better because it is more memorable.
  • Use the verse in prayer (Pray to God incorporating the verse into your prayer).
  • Write out the verse a few times. Writing helps solidify the words in your mind.
  • Make an audio recording of yourself reciting verses several times through to listen to as you drive your car or get ready in the morning.
  • Write verses down on post-it notes and place them in places you will see them (on you computer monitor, refrigerator door, etc.).
  • Use 3" x 5" cards to write the verses down. Put the reference on the back and the verses on the front. Write down the topic of the verse at the top corner.
  • Make two stacks of cards: 1) One stack for verses you know but need to review occasionally; 2) Another stack for verses you're still working on memorizing that you go over daily.
  • Don't immediately look on the 3" x 5" card when you can't remember! Make your mind do the work of recall. Recall locks the verse in much more than repetition.
  • Some people find that writing out the verses by hand on an occasional basis helps them learn faster and remember longer.
  • Write out the first letter of each word or key word. Then practice saying the whole verse from this.
  • You can write out a verse on a white board or chalk board. Read the verse and then erase the last word and read it again. Repeat the process until al the words are erased.
  • Quote a new verse out loud at least seven times a day for one week, then twice a day for a week, then once a day, then once a week, then once a month.
  • It is hard to memorize if you only do it “in your head”. When you are reviewing your verses recite them out loud whenever possible. Make sure that you do not just speak in a whisper. Speak in a clear full voice as if you were talking to a group of people. In doing this, you re-enforce what you have learned.
  • Use a partner to quiz each other frequently on your verses.
  • Remember why you're doing this! See Psalm 119:9-16, note especially verse 11.
  • You will increase your chances of remembering new verses the next day if you review your verses right before you go to bed at night.
  • REVIEW! REVIEW! REVIEW! Repetition is the best way to engrave the verses on your memory.


Christopher said...

Like the posts on Scripture memorization. My name is Christopher Pearson, and I run a site/ministry by the name of Dwelling Rich, which is dedicated to Scripture Memorization. You can find it at

Anyway, I was wondering if it would be possible for me to use your three posts on my website in my article session? You can e-mail me back at

Joel said...


Thanks for writing and inquiring about using my posts for your site. I would be honored if you would include these at your site. It's encouraging to hear of others who are excited about memorizing the words of God and applying them to their lives, and to find a young man who intends to do what you are doing and bring others along with him is exciting. It is easy to get discouraged when you meet many people who are so against memorization (what is that all about?), but keep on working and I believe that God will richly bless you and others with whom you come in contact.