“Memorizing scripture is so easy,” said no one ever (or at least not anyone I know!).

It takes a lot of discipline to memorize Scripture on a consistent basis. It’s something that I’m really trying to challenge myself with this year, but it’s so much easier said than done. I’ve joined up with several thousand women (and some of my own family and friends) to be a part of Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team this year, and it’s been a huge help to have some guidelines and accountability.

While it’s not always the easiest thing, it’s such a crucial spiritual discipline that helps me grow in my walk with the Lord.

“When Scripture is stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to take and bring to your attention when you need it most… Want your faith strengthened? What Christian doesn’t? One thing you can do to strengthen it is to discipline yourself to memorize Scripture.” Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney

Here are a few key things that have been helpful for me in memorizing Scripture:

  • Accountability – Have someone ask you how you’re doing and set deadlines for yourself. This year, I’m memorizing two verses each month, and one of my friends is checking in with me on the 1st and 15th of each month to see how it’s going.
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition – For some of you, that means writing the verse out several times, and for others, it’s saying it out loud. It may even be helpful for you to draw a picture that reminds you of the verse.
  • Meditate – Spend time reflecting on the meaning of the verse. Don’t just memorize it without looking at the context to see what’s really happening. Make sure you know the bigger picture, and it will usually give you a better understanding of the verse you’re memorizing.
  • Make it visible – For me, I often put my verse on an index card above my steering wheel or on the mirror in my bathroom. Sometimes, I take a picture of my verse with my phone and use it as the background. Find what works for you!photo (1)
  • Choose a meaningful verse – Find a verse that applies to your life. Is there a verse you’ve read in your Bible study that really stands out to you? Use that one!
  • Do the verse justice – Make it a point to know all of the words, and even the punctuation. It’s all there for a reason! It will also help you in the long run to know that you really know the verse.

Here’s the verse I’m working on this week:

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14 

What are some of your helpful hints to memorizing Scripture? Is there a verse you’re working on memorizing right now? 

Mary Margaret headshotMary Margaret is an Event Project Coordinator on the Church Education Ministry team at LifeWay. She works alongside Chris Adams and coordinates training events for women’s ministry leaders like YOU Lead and the Women’s Ministry Forum. Mary Margaret has served several churches in the area of Girls Ministry and she recently completed a Master of Arts in Christian Education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In her spare time, she writes for Story of My Life – her personal blog.

Comments

  1. I teach my toddlers verses using hand motions and it never fails I’ve memorized the verse too.

  2. Natalie Lenihan says:

    Memorizing anything has always been so difficult for me. Choosing a meaningful verse as you suggest is very important for me.

  3. During the school year, when taking my kids to school, we have a landmark (a specific stop sign) and when we reach that one of us will read our chosen scripture and then I will pray over my family for that day. We will repeat the same verse day after day……week after week, until memorized. I will admit we fall away from that, especially during the summer, but the prayer we do faithfully!

    It was also recommended to me to set the alarm on my phone…for instance if I would like to memorize Proverbs 3: 5-6, I would set my alarm for 3:56 and then look at, write, recite (personal choice) that scripture. I loved this idea!!

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Amy, that’s such a great idea! One of my sweet friends does that with prayer as she drives – she has specific landmarks that she prays for different people/situations as she drives to work. Love it!

  4. Yes!! It is the most important thing you can do for your spiritual walk. That is why I wrote my book, to help people see the unilimited benefits of memorizing God’s Word. :)
    Hi Mary Margaret, we met at LPL Maine. I told you about my book, it is out now! Trying to spread the word about it because this is such an important topic. Starting classes in our area also.
    Blessings to you :)

  5. I, too, am participating with the SSMT this year and I’m thrilled already with all that God has done with the Scriptires I have memorized! (And it sure isn’t hurting to stretch my brain and memory techniques:) I repeat them outloud while driving and I write them all out twice a day beginning my morning and my evening times with God. What a world of difference it makes for The Holy Spirit to have more to work with in my heart!

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Janet, don’t you just love how the Lord works?? He’s using the Scriptures I’ve memorized this year so often… what a great idea and such a great opportunity for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide!

  6. This is such a timely post. I desire to memorize more Scripture and have always struggled but even more aas I age.
    Amy, I love the phone alarm idea.

    Something that helps me is to copy and recopy and recopy the verse I want to memorize. If there is a portion I consistently miss, I write that part in a different colour.

    Thanks< Mary, for your thoughts on this topic.

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Susan, you’re not alone! It’s definitely tough… I wish it was easy, but often the most important things in life (especially in our spiritual walk) are the hard things. Keep at it!

  7. Debbie McGrath says:

    Dear Mary Margaret,
    This is an excellent article you wrote. I have really been working on scripture memory the last two months.
    Thank you for writing this – it really spoke to me.

    Debbie McGrath
    Cross Pointe Church

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Hey Debbie! I was just thinking about you and our Atlanta YOU Lead… I can’t wait to see you again! I’m so glad that this post spoke to you – it’s definitely something that the Lord is teaching me about right now! See you in May!

  8. Melissa Teets says:

    I am excited about this! I have always been horrible at memorizing scripture and I have been studying the Bible everyday. I am also working on reading the Bible through for 2013. However, I also want to be able to hold on to some scriptures that have meaning in my life and have them memorized not only to repeat but memorized in my heart, head and soul. Thank you for your help!

    Melissa

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Melissa, I’m glad you’re excited! It’s amazing how the Lord brings memorized Scriptures to mind just at the right time.

  9. Just as Soloman asked the Lord for wisdom and was granted it, in January I asked the Lord for the ability to memorize His Word. He has answered with a resounding, “Yes!” I want to be able to “meditate on it day and night.” We are called to “encourage one another and build up one another”, and I can think of no better way t do this than to have God’s word on the tip of my tongue! I have placed 3×5 cards in little photo holders with the wire thingy on top in strategic spots around my house. I read them several times a day out loud. I also write them in notes or emails to friends as a way to speak Truth into their hearts. So, my main bit of advice is to pray and ask the Lord to help you to “hide His Word in your heart.” He will!

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Elaine, I’m with you! Speaking truth to your family and friends is so powerful… as I wrote this post, I had Psalm 119:11 in my head – “I have treasured Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You.” Knowing the Word is such a powerful tool and weapon!

  10. Mary Margaret,
    I too am doing Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team work this year! It is challenging to say the least. Additionally, I’m memorizing 2 more verses a month with our women’s Bible study! I think I’m nuts!

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Lisa, that’s fantastic! You’ll never regret the time you’ve spent memorizing Scripture. Way to go!!

  11. Jenny R. from TX says:

    I ask the Holy Spirit to help and for a tune. This has really helped me this past year in my bible study group to memorize some verses in Hebrews :) Holy Spirit has helped me memorize Hebrews 1:1-2 tothe tune of Go Tell It on the Mountain, Hebrews 4:12 to the tune of Sanctuary, Hebrews 7:24-25 to the tune of It Came Upon A Midnight Clear, Hebrews 10:23-24 to Oh How I Love Jesus, Hebrews 11:1 toAmazing Grace! Music speaks to my heart and so to me singing scripture is perfect! Just be sure to ask for help from the Spirit because otherwise it’s really difficult :)

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Jenny, what a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

    • Barbara Collins says:

      Jenny, that is the best idea for me also. Memorization has been a problem for me all my life, but I can still remember words to songs I learned in Chorus in jr. high school…..even in foreign languages, without understanding a word of its meaning! Thank you for this reminder of what is the best approach for me to memorize scripture. I’ve been trying, but it’s very difficult for me.

  12. Kimberly Miskiewicz says:

    I am using an app called “Remember Me” and it is phenomenal! By the power of the Holy Spirit , it has helped me to memorize whole chunks of the Bible – and I am not a young chicky anymore! I never thought I would be able to memorize more than a verse or two but, Praise God, I am. It is amazing how having the scripture in my head and heart is helping me throughout the day as I interact with people. My next goal is Romans 8.

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Kimberly, I’ll have to take a look at that app… I love using my phone as a tool! Thanks for sharing! Keep at it!

    • I agree, Remember Me is awesome! I also create my passwords for computer, app and website access. It’s always good to change passwords monthly anyways, so I choose a verse, select key numbers and letters from it and make up the password. Then, every time I log in, I say the verse in my mind while I’m typing the password. The same verse is in my RM app, for the sake of repetition!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    My children participate in a program called AWANA. One of the tools we use is a dry erase board. The verses they are learning are written out. After each recitation of the verse a word or two is erased. “word perfect” and application of the passage is stressed. helping them study I have memorized many, many verses.

    • AWANA is so awesome! My son was in that and got the Timothy Award. My husband and I helped for a few years. So worth it to spend that time with kids. I loved listening to them recite. My son still remembers those verses and he is a junior in high school now.

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Elizabeth, great idea! Being “word perfect” is SO important… I love it!

  14. Theresa says:

    I go to “google images” on my phone and google the verse I like and save that as the wallpaper/background on my phone. And I put my FB app and Bible app (the ones I use the most) by themselves on the last “page” of my iPhone is I am sure to intentionally see ( and hopefully read) the verse a couple times a day.

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Theresa, I do the same thing! It’s a great way to keep verses in front of you all the time.

  15. I tell kids to make sure to memorize the “address” too. Otherwise you will be like me…I know lots of verses but not the references because I didn’t do that as a kid. I do now though!

  16. Monica says:

    Great tips. I’ve also heard Beth Moore say…RENEW.. basically to..READ it like 3 times out loud. EXAMINE it..(Is it 1st person, 3rd person?) …NEED it…(this was a big one for me)..she said look for a verse YOU need..not what your husband or anybody else needs, but what you need. . EVALUATE(how many of the same word repeated?, etc,)..& WIELD it..& by wielding, I mean wielding our swords at the real enemy..not another person. We can cut their hearing of when we do that. :)

  17. Fran Reese says:

    My daughter who homes holos my 13 yr.old granddaughters recommended Fighter Verses on-line. I’ve using it and have had success in hiding the Word in my heart.

  18. I’ve taught my 4 children (an myself) a lot of verses using singing…what ever little tune comes to mind. We did a couple months very intesively and I have them remembering 21 verses simply by beginning to hum the tune. Sadly, I haven’t focused on that for a while. But they still remember several of those verses and every now and then we try to see who can remember the most. I guess it is time to go back to it. It started at a VBS contest with Proverbs 3:5-6 in one week everyone could sing the verse…surprisingly so did my little guy who was only about 2 – he wasn’t perfect but he was very good! If it is hard for you to remember a made up tune then record yourself on a camera or other recording device and use it every night to ‘remember’
    In Bible school we had to have the verses down word and punctuation perfect…if we learned them by writing them out 5 times a night it was usually enough to get 5 verses a week, though you had to continue reviewing them to hold them for a long period of time. I used that same method to memorize accounting terms this past year and it still works.

    • Mary Margaret Collingsworth says:

      Debra, singing can be such a huge help! I’m a big believer in the importance of memorizing scripture word and punctuation perfect as well. Love it!

  19. Nancy Phillips says:

    I believe that memorizing scripture is very important. I love the lady who said she memorized with her toddlers. I started memorizing scripture with my kids in Kindergarten with a bible quiz program. It has been a wonderful family activity. If you memorize as a child and young adult, it will be so much easier for you to make time to memorize and to be able to memorize as an adult. My quizzers memorize at least 92 verses word prefect with reference. I even have one that has memorized the entire book of Matthew by reference this year. All of them have it memorized in essence. This Word of God promises that it is living and active and I believe it will impact their lives and divisions forever. We often expect our kids to make Godly decisions, but then we don’t give them the tools to do that. We help them study for test at school, for the SAT’s, to get a job, but how seriously do we take getting them ready to make Gody decisions? If they don’t memorize scripture, how can God bring to their attention that specific verse he needs them to comptenplate during a specific time in their life? Memorize scripture all the time with your kids.

  20. I’ve been using Google Images to come up with a picture for as many words in a verse as possible. Sometimes I have to be creative like showing a golfer swinging for the word “for” or showing dew on the grass for the word “do”. The ladies in my group and I have found this method very helpful as we can “picture” the verse in our head when we recite it.

  21. I struggle with memorizing anythng, especially the verse with where it is found. I really hadn’t found a way to focus on memorizing scripture until I downloaded the free app Evernote to my phone (and can access it from my PC). I now have a folder just for scripture. This is where I put my favoriteverses and a few favorite quotes from recent devotionals. I took it a step further to focus on three (1 John 4:19; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:28). I have each of these verses setup as an appointment, each on a different day on phone calendar so in the morning first thing a verse pops up for that day. I practice it from memory then move it to another day. Most of the time after practicing Romans 8:28 I have a popular song with that verse stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

  22. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this but I got this tip from Ann Voskamp. I write down the first letter of each word of the verse, usually on my bathroom mirror or on a post-it or even sometimes on my arm. I have found that gives my memory just enough of a reference point to push it along but not so much that I’m not being challenged to actually remember it instead of just reading it. I’ve learned so much faster that way!

  23. Roxanne Nanney says:

    Thanks for these tips. I have been memorizing scripture regularly for about 7 years. A key to long-term retention is REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW. I like Jennifer Rothschild’s method: once a day for six weeks, once a week for six weeks and then once a month for the rest of your life. I also have two charts, one that show the reference and one that shows the first few words of the verse. I alternate my monthly review verses starting with the reference one month and then starting with the first words the next month. My sister and I enjoy reviewing together when we get to see each other. Accountability is very important.

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