How To Memorize Scripture

Last Sunday Luke Safford, the lead pastor at Terrace Heights Baptist Church, challenged his congregation to memorize a verse from the text of his message. It’s a verse which comes from King David’s response to God’s promise to build David a dynasty. It also reminds us that in Christ God has done so much for us, which gives us courage to pray to Him.

I decided to memorize the verse, too. The ESV puts it, “For you, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. Therefore your servant has found courage to pray before you” (1 Chronicles 17:25).

As I thought about memorizing the verse this week I realized that maybe not everyone feels confident to memorize Scripture. It can seem a little bit intimidating, especially for those of us who have a hard time remembering such trivia as our wife’s birthday or wedding anniversary.

Well, if you want to be a Scripture memory stud, follow the steps below and start doing what the Psalmist did: “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11).

Step 1 (Day 1)

Read the verse 10 times out loud.

Recite the verse without reading 10 times out loud.

Step 2 (Day 2)

Recite the verse without reading 10 times out loud.

Step 3 (Day 3)

Recite the verse without reading 10 times out loud. (Are you beginning to see a pattern?)

Step 4 (Day 4-7)

Recite the verse from memory every day.

Step 5 (Day 5+)

Recite the verse every day for at least one month. Then recite the verse once a week so you’ll never forget it.

Remember to say the reference every time you recite the verse. Don’t give up! If you miss a day, go back and review and continue to make progress.

You’ll find that by following these simple steps you will begin to store up God’s Word in your heart. His promises are your ammunition against sin as well as your comfort in every circumstance of life.

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So you want to memorize Scripture?

The psalmist wrote,

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

(Psalm 119:11)

There are so many good reasons for memorizing Scripture. For one, the Bible tells us that Scripture guards our hearts against sin. Jesus tells us that out of the heart, the mouth speaks. Whatever we meditate on, whatever we pour our hearts into, will come pouring out of us. Shouldn’t Christians be known for pouring out what is honoring to God and useful to others. And not just useful — life-giving! That’s what happens when we have Scripture in our hearts.

But how should we go about storing up God’s word in our hearts?

Here’s a simple method for memorizing one short passage or verse of Scripture each week.

Day one: Pray. Read the passage aloud 10 times; then, without looking, say it out loud 10 more times.

Day two: Without looking, say the passage aloud 10 times.

Day three: Without looking, repeat the passage once.

Day four: Repeat the passage once.

Day five: Repeat the passage once.

Day six: Repeat the passage once.

Day seven: Repeat the passage once.

Review that passage every day for 1 month. Then review it once a week to retain it in long-term memory.

You can add a new verse or short passage every week using the same method. And make sure to take advantage of the time you have while riding the bus, sitting in a waiting room, etc.

Keep at it and you will begin planting seeds that will bear much spiritual fruit!