For years I told myself I was memorizing Scripture. I had all of the plans, notecards, and passages picked out, but little resolve to do the work of Scripture memory.
Then, anxiety rocked my otherwise calm lifeboat and I didn’t just want to memorize Scripture. I needed to.
I’d wake up nervous, go throughout my day with fearful thoughts, and head to bed unable to fall asleep with a never-quiet mind. I didn’t want to live that way. But sometimes the mind makes up a reality of its own.
I remember sitting on my couch with an open Bible in my lap, reading through some Psalms on a quiet, dark morning.
“I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be on my lips…” Psalm 34:1
How could I, anxious and fearful, bless the Lord at all times?
The answer came as a gentle nudge: think on the things of the Lord more than the things of the world. And what better way is there to think on the things of the Lord than by memorizing Truth?
I wrote out several verses and began reciting them throughout my day. I’d carry those handwritten verses with me on notecards and pull them out when I was feeling afraid, overwhelmed, or anxious. I learned foundational promises of God in those early months of devoted Scripture memory.
Then, the Lord placed it in my heart to memorize longer portions of Scripture – whole chapters of the Word. This is my current journey. It is not always fast. It is definitely not easy. And yet, as I bury the truths and promises of God into my weary soul, the hard work falls to the side.
How can you memorize longer portions of Scriptures with the intent to remember them forever?
Here are some thoughts:
1. Know the context of the Scripture.
If you are memorizing a book of the Bible, discover the author, audience, and purpose of the book.
Or, if you are memorizing a large passage of Scripture, read the chapters surrounding the verses you are studying. What do the verses say about God and about you?
Knowing the context solidifies the truths of the passage in your mind, which will help you remember the verses much easier.
2. Start slowly.
Memorizing Scripture is not a race, but is a journey. Starting small is the best way to guarantee long-term success.
Even if your goal is to memorize a long portion of Scripture, it is easiest to do so verse by verse. Choose one verse every two or three days, or if you find that you can move a bit faster, one verse each day.
3. Recite often.
This is the key to long-form memorization. If you memorize a Psalm in January, you will need to continue reciting that Psalm for the rest of the year – at least once every other week.
Keep a list of passages you have memorized and periodically work your way through the list, reciting the passage and the reference.
Maybe you’re saying, “Okay, this all sounds good. I can study the context, start small, and recite often. But how do I actually get to memorizing every day?”
Here is my favorite way to memorize Scripture:
1. Choose your passage.
Study the context. Read a few commentaries about the passage. Understand every sentence about what you are preparing to study.
2. Gather a notecard book.
Choose something small enough to fit in your coat pocket or purse.
3. Each morning, write one verse on a notecard in your notecard book.
If you are memorizing Psalm 34, you will start with verse 1 on card 1.
4. Throughout the day, recite the verse aloud.
If you have a FitBit, you could recite the verse every time it buzzes – walk while you recite. Or you can set a timer on your phone to remind you several times a day. Every time the phone buzzes, stop what you are doing and recite the verse two or three times.
This method only works if you are diligent to actually recite the verse numerous times throughout the day.
5. On day 2, write verse 2 on card 2.
Then, throughout the day, recite verse 1 and verse 2.
6. Continue in this pattern until the passage is memorized.
7. Finally, even as you move on to a new passage, recite the previous passage over and over.
I suggest reciting the passage once a day for several days, then once a week for 6-9 months, and then once a month for the rest of your life.
If this method seems overwhelming, I promise it is not. In reality, it takes 10-12 minutes a day to write the verse and then recite the verse several times. And I mean 10-12 minutes for the whole day!
Ten-twelve minutes is most definitely worth the heart change you will experience and the transformation you will undergo. It’s a holy process – and the Lord meets us in mysterious and marvelous ways when we commit to knowing Him more.
If you are not sure where to start, here are some passages that I recommend memorizing:
The 10-12 minutes of memorizing daily is most worthy of your attention. How can we bless the Lord at all times?
We can seek Him through the Word and commit to allowing it to change us.
I pray that Scripture memory becomes a tool for you like it has for me.
Alison is a wife, blogger, and Jesus-follower growing in grace and truth daily. She loves coffee in the morning, experimenting in the kitchen, camping with her husband, and reading in a hammock just about anywhere. Her blog – AlisonTiemeyer.com – exists to encourage bold living rooted in God’s gift of grace. You can find Alison on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.