I marvel at the saints who can recite from memory verses of scripture.
While my daily bible reading, devotionals, seminary classes, bible studies and writings have given me a better command of the Word. I still struggle when it comes to memorizing Bible verses.
And as I enter the world of seminary and preaching my worst fear is to be asked to recite a verse or two during an ordination examination or by a church member who is looking for inspiration.
Perhaps many of you share this same issue. A true desire to memorize the Word, along with a true inability to do so.
A Command To Remember
Memorizing Bible verses may seem like something kids do in Sunday school. However, the act of memorizing the Word is something that God commands us to do.
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. — Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV)
Why God Wants Us Memorizing
God wants us to memorize His Word becoming so familiar with it that:
- We can use the Word as a hedge against the evil that will come into our lives.
- We can use the Word as encouragement when times are difficult.
- We can use the Word as our guide to a prosperous life.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8 NIV
How To Memorize The Word
As an adult over 50 confronted with the notion of memorizing Bible verses my thoughts were that “I was too old.” Then somehow this old man recalled a verse that I had memorized in my youth Philippians 4:13(KJV) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
“Strengtheneth” by the power of Christ, I started the task of memorizing verses. With little success to show for my efforts I search for Bible memorization tips. Listed below are a few of the tips I have found helpful as “I lay up the words of God in my heart and in my soul.”
- Start with prayer
While many elements are the same memorizing Bible verses is not like the memorization of secular information.
Therefore we should pray for God’s guidance for not only in the memorization of the verse but for the application and meaning of the Word of scripture in our lives.
- Start Small
Work on one verse at a time not multiple verses.
- Start With Meaning
Start by memorizing verses that have meaning for yourself and your life. I started my road to memorization with:
Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
1 Corinthians 6:18: Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.
4. Find The Right Biblical Translation
Many fine and Godly scholars have translated the Bible into versions making the Word easier to read, understand and memorize.
I augment my several printed translations of the Bible with the website Bible Gateway a searchable reference tool for the desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone with all 66 books of the Bible in more than 70 languages and over 180 versions.
Using Bible Gateway I am always able to find the translation of the verse that speaks best to me and is easiest for me to memorize.
- Read, Write and Recite
-Read the verse over and over again for meaning and context.
–Write the verse several times (five or ten times is a good start) Experts advise that physically writing the words of Scripture out is an extremely useful tactile memory aid.
– Reciting the verse aloud is an excellent way to burn the Word of God into your memory. During a commute I often turn off the car radio and recite verses. I also record verses into the recoding apt of my smart phone for playback during a run or workout.
- Pray Some More
Incorporate elements of the verse you are trying to memorize into your prayers. And again in your prayers ask for God’s help in fixing the verse in your heart and mind.
The Bible is of no good to us when it sits on a shelf or in a pew or even in our hands. It is only of good to us when the Word of the Lord from its pages burns within our hearts.
If you are not in the habit of committing the Word to memory I hope this post will inspire you to start.
If memorizing the Word is a part of your faith tradition my hope is that this post reinforced what you are doing.
Either way I welcome your feedback and memorization tips. Please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org