5 Helpful Tips for Memorizing Scripture

Got Truth Hide Word 2Since I’ve been encouraging my readers to join me in the “Got Truth?” Challenge, I’ve decided it’s important to give you some pointers on how to effectively memorize and integrate Scripture into your heart and life.

I have to admit I’m a bit rusty at the discipline, since it’s been well over a decade since I avidly and consistently pursued Scripture memorization.

However, here’s what’s been helping me to get back on track …

Tip One – Memorize the “address” or where it’s found first.

Often we launch into memorizing the verse because we long to hold the content close to heart, but overlook or downplay the reference. I’ve been guilty of that for sure!

But we can’t really hide God’s word in our hearts and not know where to find it—especially when others ask us or need to see it for themselves!

I’m still working on creative ways to improve my ability here, since the “address” in some ways is often harder to memorize than the verse. If you have any ideas, please share with us below!

Tip Two – Set specific times to read over, rehearse and memorize the Scripture each day.

Since I already have a set time for my Bible study and prayer time (usually in the morning), I’ve decided that’s an excellent time to incorporate going over my verses.

I also have printed out and posted the verses on a spot that I look at regularly in my kitchen. So when I am fixing dinner (something I do most evenings), I look over my verses and memorize while I chop, bake, wash or sauté!

I also have a reminder set in my phone’s calendar to review my verses before plugging my phone up to charge for the night.

Tip Three – Display the verses in various places for easy access.

As I mentioned, I work on my verses during my devotional time, which means I have the verses in the document where I do my prayer journaling.

You could also store it somewhere in a quick access cloud system like: iCloud, Googledocs, Evernote or even Dropbox, just to name a few.

I also put my verses in a list on my phone’s “Note app.” This also provides quick and easy access for when I’m out and about.

You could also display the verses on a chalkboard, whiteboard, or print them out on decorative paper and hang it somewhere noticeable.

One more thing I do is write them out on index cards and have them handy at my bedside, in my purse, or car console.

Tip Four – Write out/type out the verse repeatedly.

As I mentioned above, as you put your verses on index cards or type them out in a document, you are rehearsing the verse in a very visual way. This helps you to retain it better.

There are also lots of Scripture memory apps that will help you to hone the verses like, Scripture Typer and Bible Memory Verses. Their ease of access gives you the chance to memorize while waiting in a doctors office or while in line at the store. Look for these golden opportunities!

Tip Five – Find an accountability partner.

Like any new habit we want to develop in our lives, doing it with a friend who is also working at the same task adds extra motivation and consistency.

Hi, Marie! 😉 (That’s my accountability partner!)

You and your friend can text each other weekly to see how you are doing and/or text your verse(s) and ask your friend if you got it right. Then your friend should try to do the same back to you.

What other helpful tips would you add to my list?

 

What’s a verse you’d like me to add to our “Got Truth?” Challenge?

 

If you’d like the printable of the last three plus this week’s verses in the Got Truth? challenge, you can snag it here.

I can’t move on without mentioning Navigators and their incredible resources for memorizing Scripture (also see Topical Memory System). I hope you’ll check out their site for more tips!


Linking up with – Marriage Mondays, The Weekend Brew, Making Your Home SingMondays @ Soul Survival,  Sunday Stillness,  Sharing His Beauty, Spiritual Sundays, Words with Winter and  Playdates with God

 

  • Anita

    Oh, I’m so guilty of forgetting the ‘address’ (since it involves numbers, and I don’t really care for numbers)! I’m so thankful for Biblegateway.com, because I can type in the verse and it finds the address for me ;).

    • I don’t care for numbers either, Anita! I’m a word nerd for sure! Numbers are so arbitrary and hard to associate with a passage. And yes, I’m grateful for Biblegateway too! It’s been an incredible resource, but I think it’s also kept me somewhat relaxed in my memory efforts. The great thing is that things are easy to pull up and find these days and the bad thing is that things are easy to pull up and find these days! Lol!

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  • Mary

    First, I love that you are challenging yourself and others to dig into God’s word through memorization. I have felt God tugging at me to do the same but I am newbie at this. I am not familiar with the apps you mentioned above but probably will not choose those as one of my strategies because it might cause me to spend more time on social media than is necessary. Right now I am using index cards for my verses and spending time in the morning when doing my devotional/Bible time as well as carrying the cards with me to touch on throughout the day. It is a start and I am glad to be starting this strategy of learning God’s word.

    • I am not using either of the apps either, Mary. I tried out Scripture Typer but didn’t like some of the aspects of it. I tend to like the old fashioned method of index cards too, although I keep the verses in lots of places, as I mentioned above. I figure the more places I have to access them the better! I’m super excited about learning these verses though. It’s a refreshing new (or renewed) discipline. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, my friend!

  • You’re always so practical, Beth … one of the reasons I love you. You keep on giving us those helps to live godly lives and I’m so grateful. All those verses I memorized as a child come back to me over and over. I guess I thought I could live off those.

    Truth is, I think I’m just plain lazy and have been more interested in letting myself off the hook instead of hunkering down and doing a bit of work.

    Good stuff here, friend. A positive message for me as I’m working on Isaiah 12 …

    Hugs to ya …

    • Aw, I love you too, Linda! You are so sweet, my friend! Yep, I know what you mean about the verses coming back. There are some that never really left me, but some I am so very rusty on. It’s kind of discouraging that I’ve let them become that distant. But I’m encouraged that it is a bit easier to re-memorize them. 😉 Thank you for always being close at hand. I do hope you are encouraged by your focus on Isaiah. It’s one of my favorite books in the Bible. So full of encouragement!

  • I would add: review, review, review.
    I find that the older I get, the more leaky my brain becomes, and I am always sad when I find that I’ve lost a whole chunk of something and didn’t even realize it until I checked back with the text.

    • Yes, that’s the key, Michele. And like I mentioned to Linda, those verses that we “let go” come back so much easier when we are trying re-memorize them. I’m grateful for that bit of encouragement in this process. Thanks for coming by!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I’ve never tried this, but it’s supposed to help…when what you’re memorizing allows, act out the scene. Use as much body motion as you can. Something about forming a sort of kinetic memory.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2015/10/your-dying-spouse-65-heaven-bound.html

    • Great idea, Andrew. I bet that would make it more memorable. I think anytime we engage more than one of our five senses, the more we will remember something. Thanks for that helpful tip!

  • Such great tips, Beth! Love this. Reviewing is the most laborious part for me, but without it, I know I won’t retain the words.

    If you have time, I’d love for you to link this post at Do Not Depart today. It’s our Bible Memory blog post linkup and this would be so helpful for the ladies there to read.

    • Yes, I agree, Lisa. That’s why I’m trying to do the reviewing when I’m doing mindless tasks like cooking or incorporating it briefly with my quiet time routine. It seems to make it less of a burden than trying to work on it here and there throughout my day. And I’m amazed that I have already memorized the four passages that I’ve been encouraging others to learn in my “Got Truth?” challenge. The brain is such a wonder, isn’t it? Seems like there’s always room for more … especially when it’s God’s Truth! Thanks for letting me know about the linkup, my friend!

  • Great tips. I must get back into this. It was easy to find the regular time when it was a part of our day with the kids, but now they are all doing their own thing, I need to pick this up for myself.

    • Hi there, Belinda! Nice to meet ya! Back a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I used to have this discipline down with many Scriptures packed neatly in my brain years ago. Then I could easily recall them whenever I was going through something painful or tough, like the time I had to have fluid drained from my knee! Little did my doctor know that I was focusing on God’s word while he performed that painful procedure! The same holds true for any struggle we’re facing–it’s always made better with God’s word running through our minds. Thanks for coming by!

  • Your right, memorizing the reference or address is very important. Yes to scheduling the time for memorization work. This is my downfall, I don’t schedule a time and then forget to memorize…period. I’ve tried storing my memory work in digital format. To my dismay, I have had to admit that it does not work for me. I am a bit of a technology geek, so for Evernote and the like to not lend itself well for memorization, well, that was a bummer.
    Scripture Typer does work well for frequent “rewriting” of the verse at hand. That is an aspect of Scripture Typer that I like a lot.

    Good tips, they are helpful. Thank you.

    • Yeah, when I first started the Scripture memory effort, I wasn’t choosing a specific time to practice them and, like you’ve said, it was difficult to master the verses. I would get discouraged quickly without that key component. I much prefer typing to writing out, so keeping my verses in a document with my prayer journal and quiet time stuff makes it easier for me. But everybody’s got their own preferences and needs to see what works best for them. Thanks for coming by, my friend. It’s nice to meet ya and hear your thoughts on the subject.

  • Marie

    Love all the tips you’ve listed Beth-very helpful. As your accountability partner, (yes, this is Marie!) I appreciate being challenged and I want you to know that I’ve memorized James 1:19-20! YAY! I’m moving on to memorizing a new scripture verse tomorrow-just need to decide which one. I cherish our friendship, your commitment to Messy Marriage and your love for our Heavenly Father! Love ya!

    • Well, look at you, Marie! Visiting me here in this cyber-space without a date at Panera to make it happen! 😉 I’m so glad that you’ve got that passage down! That’s great. I’ve got the four Bible verses/passages from the Got Truth? challenge down, but I have to say that most of them, except for James 1:2-4 are super easy. But I’d rather start out easy and gain some sense of mastery than try to bite off more than I can chew and get discouraged easily. I cherish our friendship and love you too, sweet Marie! You are always such an encouragement to me and your friendship means so much! I look forward to our get-togethers later this week! Thanks for getting out of your comfort zone to visit with me here.

  • I like tip 4! – write them out by hand. That would make me ponder and think about each word – circle words I like; set it out on the page; etc.

    Also, Andrew’s idea below, to remember the text with as much of your body as possible (I’m sure actors do that).

    Only thing I’d add is to *use* the verse after you’ve learnt it – and even while you’re learning it. I’m very bad for learning a piece of scripture, playing around with it in my head for a few weeks, then it goes. I have kept some lines from James in my head, probably because I find them useful.

    My question to you would be – how does one use the scripture once it’s been learnt?

    David

    • Yes, writing or typing the verse out several times in various ways is always so important to our retention, David. I even keep a database of Bible verses by topic that has helped me with this step. And then I have the bonus of having verses easily accessible when I need to find them or provide them for others.

      Yes, I like Andrew’s answer as well. I think anytime you use more than one of your five senses to remember something you are helping to reinforce that memory.

      I agree on “using it” too. In fact, my post that goes live later today will kind of flesh out some of the ways Bible verses can be utilized. I hope you’ll come back by to check it out. And yes, the more useful a passage is to our lives and situations, the better we are at keeping it alive in our hearts and minds. Especially if we recall and meditate on it when we need it most. Thanks so much for joining the conversation, my friend!

  • Anastasia Safee

    I used to memorize so much Scripture as a teenager but that seemed to go right out the window as an adult. I definitely need to get back into it!

    • Yes, I’m a bit rusty on a habit I had years ago too, Anastasia. However, some of the passages never left me, for which I’m so very grateful. I hope you do get back in the swing of things! I know it will encourage you like it does me!