Raise your hand if you went to Christian school for 11 years and spent that time frantically memorizing weekly Bible verses in order to pass a quiz.
Just me? Cool.
I know that scripture memorization is an important part of my spiritual life. I know that the more of God’s wisdom that I store in my heart the better I am able to use that wisdom a) in times of spiritual attack or b) to encourage others.
But it’s boring. I have a good many verses memorized from incidental exposure, but the idea of actively sitting down to memorize a passage makes me want to kick my feet in rebellion. Nevertheless, I know it’s important and I’m trying to do better. To make easy myself into it, I chose a familiar, but not yet memorized verse and gave myself the month of July to learn it. If you are trying to commit words to memory, here are a few ideas!
1) Start slow
You don’t need to memorize the Old Testament in a year. Just let that dream die. Choose passages of special significance, or common usage. It’s probably way less important for you to have the genealogies memorized than the Romans Road. If you’re new to the Bible, the letters from Paul or Jesus’ sermons are a good place to start. Be gentle on yourself, don’t expect to know it all right away.
2) Front and center
Post the verse(s) you want to commit to memory in a place where you’ll see them often. Stick a note card to your bathroom mirror or on the fridge. The more you see it, the more likely it is to stay with you. I keep mine in my planner, since you know I’m never without that. Use different colored pens, or circle key words to make it visually interesting.
3) Meditate on the words
Instead of trying to remember a random sequence of words, think about the verse. What does it mean? How does it apply to your life? What was the context of the passage? Think about the choice of words and what God wants you to glean from them.
4) Write (or draw) it out
If I really want to learn something, I write it down again and again. If you are skilled at lettering or sketching or any kind of art form, try that. If not, just jotting down the passage in a notebook or the margin of the newspaper will reinforce it in your brain. I’m not at all skilled in the art of lettering, but I like to dabble, so I do it anyway.
5) Make it a habit
Say the verse out loud while you drive, or when you brush your teeth. Use it as a prayer to open or close your quiet time. Get into the habit of saying it a few times a day. Don’t worry if you mess up, there won’t be a test!
What’s your secret for memorization? Share below!