Hiding the Word in our hearts is one of the most important things we can do as Christians. Memorizing God’s Word helps us to grow deeper in the Word, helps us to be better at witnessing to others, helps us to defend the faith, and helps us to grow closer to God.
Hiding the Word in our hearts is part of getting closer to God.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Deuteronomy 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
It is important that we memorize scripture in order to defend the faith.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Memorizing Scripture can help us fight temptation.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Jesus fought Satan with “It is written”.
There are many Scripture memory systems out there. I’ve used many techniques over the years. There are verses that I’ve written over and over, but never did memorize. Then there are verses that I never once tried to memorize, but I couldn’t forget them if I tried. For me it is much more difficult to memorize the reference than the verse itself. This is a simple list of a few memory systems and techniques. This list is nowhere near exhaustive. I’ve just covered a few basics that I think are the most helpful.
These are easy to make and can be a powerful tool for memorizing Scripture. I find it’s best to buy a pack of index cards. Write the verse on one side and the reference on the other. It’s best to read only the reference and try to quote the verse. Look at the verse if you need to, but trying to quote the verse yourself will help build your memory. You can also read the verse and try to quote the reference. Flash cards can also be made with software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or OpenOffice Impress.
Typing a verse over and over might help to drive it in. I find a different type of writing more helpful- I write about the verse. By teaching about a verse, I remember the verse without trying. The trick is to talk about it. Explain the verse like you are a teacher. Break the verse down into individual elements and teach each component. Then, teach the verse in its proper context. This is the most helpful for me. I’ve memorized more verses by teaching and writing than all the other techniques combined.
Keeping a memory list in your Bible is a handy way to memorize Scripture. If you have your Bible with you, you have your memory list with you. You can also write, or type, your memory list and keep it with you. This has the benefit of being readily available.
My personal favorite memory list is software on my smart phone. I’ve used several electronic gadgets over the years including the Franklin Bookman, a Compaq iPaq with Laridian, and now a Palm Centro with Olive Tree. I use the bookmark feature as my memory list. I almost always have my phone with me, which means I almost always have my Scripture memory list.
Which Verses to Memorize?
There are many verses that every Christian should know. Some verses are considered ‘standard’ and we are judged by the world whether or not we know them. I recommend learning them for this reason alone. If we know verses that the Christian world thinks we should know, we build credibility as Christians. Verses in this category include Psalms 23 and John 3:16. Verses that help to defend the faith are the most important verses you can memorize.
Hints and Tips
Picture the verse in its proper context. Don’t just try to memorize John 3:3. Recognize that John 3:3 is part of a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus and that the verse is about salvation. Remember the subject or topic. Remembering the subject of the passage helps you to relate the Scripture to something. If all you do is try to remember references you will have a much harder time remembering verses because they will be abstract thoughts that do not relate to anything. Write and teach as much as possible. Use software, especially handheld programs that you can keep with you. Keep your list with you and go over it as often as possible.
The Secret to Scripture Memory
What is the secret to help memorize Scripture? USE the Scripture. Use the Scripture in its proper context. Talk about it. Write about it. Teach it. Reflect on it. Meditate on it. The more you use the Scriptures, the longer they stay in your memory. Verses that I teach stay with me much longer than verses in my memory list. I can go over and over my memory list and I might or might not memorize what’s in the list. But once I have to teach about a verse, once I use the verse, that verse is embedded into my memory. The more I teach a verse the better the chance that I will remember it- without even trying.
My Memory List
This is the list in my phone. I look at the references and try to quote the verses.
Your list doesn’t have to be this big (or this small, depending on your point of view). I add verses to this list all the time. Some of these are verses that I memorized years ago, but I want to make sure I keep them in my memory.
Memorizing the Word of God draws us closer to God. It helps us to grow and see things the way God sees them. It keeps us from being deceived and gives us the knowledge we need to defend the faith and witness to others. It allows us to make disciples and spread the Gospel. It helps us to overcome temptation. Jesus fought Satan with the Scriptures. When you are being tempted, it is nice to have the power to just say “It is written…”