How to Memorize Scripture Part 1

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
The Basic Plan for Bible Memorization

The "nitty-gritty" for ease in memorizing is to simply select a short passage-a verse or two. Pray, read it, and then read the chapter in an easy-to-understand translation to see it in context. Then...

The Basic Plan for Bible Memorization

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. Psalm 119:9

The "nitty-gritty" for ease in memorizing is to simply select a short passage-a verse or two. Pray, read it, and then read the chapter in an easy-to-understand translation to see it in context. Then re-read your passage at least ten times in the translation you are using, such as the KJV, NASB, NKJV, RSV, NIV or the ESV. Then, write it out on a small card and re-read it at least ten times. Put it away for a few hours or a day, then pick up the card and re-read it aloud several times. You should have it memorized after a week! It does take a little effort, but it is not as hard as most people think. There is no reason to dread or stress in order to know God's Word.

The simple basic plan:

  1. Select a short passage to memorize.
  2. Pray over it.
  3. Read it.
  4. Read the chapter to know its context.
  5. Re-read the passage at least ten times.
  6. Write it out on a small card.
  7. Go over your card at least ten times, reading it out loud.
  8. Put it away and in a few hours or a day, pick up the card and re-read it several times. In a few days, you should have it memorized!

The Big Tip

Now, to make it even easier and more fun, do the above and also use a recording device such as a tape recorder, MP3 recorder, or a smart parrot. This is what I do because I have a terrible memory and learning disabilities I have had to overcome. So, for me, this was the worst of the worst of my stress and dread, but I learned to do it and have fun doing it. By the way, this is a phenomenal memorizing method for any literature, notes, text, readings, etc. Read it, record it, and then play it back anywhere you are-while driving, at the mall, or wherever. You can do this with your notes, study material, information you have to memorize, even terms and words for science, a foreign language, or math formulas. I have found this one of the best ways to study, and it works!

Tools, Steps, and Tips to Help you Memorize Scripture

Praise be to you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:12

Start with the proper approach-that of prayer and reverence before our Holy God. Have an honest desire to know Him more fully and with a good attitude based on growing in Christ rather than seeking just what you want. Our minds must be clear and childlike before Him, because, when you read His Word, you are standing before the face of God-the Holy God! So, adjust to a good attitude and reverence for God and His Word. It is simply not enough to know what you want to do-you have to know the right way to do it. It is like following directions to build something like a model; when we use the directions, we build it right. When we throw them away, we get it wrong and our efforts are wasted. If we do not have the right approach and attitude, we do not get much out of God's Word, because our will gets in the way of His!

First: Pray

I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. Psalm 119:10

This is the essential, first step to always, always starting anything-especially the memorization of Scripture and communication with God! Ask God to open your eyes so you can be confident and be able to do this with ease, passion, and impact (Psalm 119:18).

· Pray and ask God to help you memorize; ask Him for the confidence and perseverance to do so.

· Ask Him for His blessing and be positive that He will enable you to do it.

· To grow in Christ, we must desire to be with Him and to learn from Him. (Phil. 3:10; 1 John 1 :3-4)

· Prayer engages us with Christ and helps us in our best efforts,

· True obedience comes out of our love and gratitude for who He is and what He has done.

· Have confidence that Christ is working in you!

Second: Select

I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Psalm 119:16

Choose a short passage-a verse or two that you wish to memorize. Either start with our recommendations below or with what your pastor or mentor suggests.

· If this seems too much, then begin with one of the simple, one-verse passages.

· Choose a verse that speaks to and/or touches you.

· Never consider this as a chore or burdensome; it is our joy to know our Lord more!

· The point is to do it. Do not jump into large passages or tough passages; get to know the basic passages in the Gospels or Psalms first!

· Discover what our Lord has to say to you!

· Think Big - Think Smart, not small or with an "I can't' or "I have to"' attitude; rather have a will to do it - our identity is in Christ.

· Remember the context! See the whole picture of what is going on. The reason most people do not get it is because they do not get in it!

· Set aside time and be consistent; try at least 5-10 minutes a day to practice your Bible memory.

· You can easily memorize one to two passages a week.

· Do not be overwhelmed! Yes, memorization looks ominous and un-climbable, but you have to just start. Just as when putting together a big puzzle-start with what you recognize, do it one piece at a time, and then one day it will be done!

· Keep in mind why you are doing this! Read Psalm 119 and do a study on verses 9-16.

· Remember, we are called to memorize Scripture!

Third: Read it

I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. Psalm 119:15

Read the verse that you have selected and then read the book and chapter to know its context. Then, read the verses, verse-by-verse in order, and write down what you see and learn. Then, you will be amazed at how much more you will pick up!

· Remember to read the verse in its context.

· Study the passage first to better understand what you are memorizing and to increase your understanding of what the verse means. Do not assume anything; do the research and study. Many Christians think they know something when in fact they do not, or at least not well enough.

· Read your passage in another translation or a paraphrase. If you do not know what something means, look it up in a good commentary or Bible Dictionary.

· State the reference of the passage before and after, such as John 3:16.

· Make sure to say the passage accurately.

Forth: Re-read

With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. Psalm119:13

Commit your verse to memory by reading and rereading it. It is best to read the passage you want to memorize at least ten times in your translation of choice. If you are using the King James (this is great to do and my personal favorite for memorization), don't forget to also read it in a translation you can understand with more clarity.

· Read and review it; say it out loud several times.

· Then, read the passage several times a day for one week. Then slow it down and read it once or twice a day for a week; then, to keep it memorized recite it once a month.

· Make a prayer out of the verse; pray to God, incorporating the verse and its precepts into your prayer.

· Meditate on the passage-this means to reflect and ponder on it.

· Do an Inductive study on it.

· Break the verse down into its natural phrases; comas are your clue, and do a section at a time.

· Emphasize with your voice the key words. Try to stress certain words and phrases with different pitch and tones of our voice, like actors and public readers do.

· Study at times when your biological clock is active, i.e. if you are a morning person, study in the morning more than in the evening. (Take your temperature every hour on the hour throughout the day and chart it. Do this 2 or 3 times in a week; chart the times your temperature is highest and study hardest at those times.)

· Think positively and affirm yourself. A negative attitude will get you just that...a negative response from Scripture and a disconnection from what God is seeking to teach you and use you in others' lives as well. A positive attitude will also help you achieve what Christ has for you and others in your life, too.

· Use memorizing techniques like making up stories to help you remember, or tie what you are learning to something else that you know as a synonym.

· While you read, say it out in a loud voice!

· Imagine yourself as a participant-as if it is your story or as if you are there.

· Let God speak to you; the main goal is to know our Lord better, not just to gain more knowledge!

· Try to create a jingle or write a song!

Fifth: Write it Out

I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame. Psalm 119:31

Write out your verse on a small index card or flash card along with the passage reference. Then, use your card as a memory tool to look at, and re-read it at least 10 times. Put it away for a few hours, then pick up the card and re-read it aloud several times.

· How to review with 3x5 cards: study in short periods, i.e. five to 10 minutes at a time, and then go on to something else. Then, do it again for five to 10 minutes and so on. (The human mind has a short attention learning span.) Take breaks, carry cards around with you, and do this at different times throughout the day.

· Studying for five to 10 minute segments 10 times a day is much more efficient than studying for four hours at a time, and you will grasp it better!

· Read the card quietly to yourself several times and also aloud; review-spending the time and repetition is your key to success.

· Carry some of the cards you have done with you when you go places for practice and review.

· You can also write out your passage several times on a note pad. Repetitive writing helps the words sink deeper into your mind.

· You can also write verses down on "post-it" notes and stick them in prominent places were you will see them often, such as your bathroom mirror, computer monitor, desk top, refrigerator door…not on your car or where you should not be distracted (This is my wife's favorite way to do it)!

· Make sure the passage is written down accurately.

· On the card, you can also write down the category, such as a promise, a command, or a fruit, etc.

· Organize your cards into categories such as in chronological order or in topics such as Holiness, Salvation, God's Character, Sovereignty, Faith, Assurance, etc.

Questions to Ponder

1. What are you going to do now about Scripture memory?

2. What Bible passages do you have that you want to know?

3. When will you compile your Bible memory cards?

Now do it, set aside the time and begin the process of Bible memory, you will be so glad that you did!

© 1984, 2006, Rev. R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Discipleship Tools

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