“Mary had a little lamb… ”
“Thirty days hath September… ”
“O beautiful for spacious skies…”
I bet you could quote the rest of each of those! You probably learned them by first or second grade, but you’ll never forget them. I imagine that those, along with “Jesus Loves Me” and John 3:16, will be some of the things I will still be able to recall even if I live to be a hundred and have failing memory.
God created us with this amazing brain that has a huge memory. It still baffles scientists, and no computer created by man has been able to come close to doing all our brain does. Yet we tend to shortchange and doubt the capability of our brain’s memory. Especially when it comes to scripture memory.
We remember all the lyrics to songs on the radio. We can quote scenes from movies with our friends. We remember word for word the argument we had with our husband. (Yikes! Am I hitting too close to home?) But we cast off this great potential we possess when it comes to memorizing scripture with statements like, “I’m not good at memorizing things,” “I’ve tried. I never can remember scriptures,” or “I guess I’m getting too old to memorize scripture.”
Allow me to point out that the emperor has no clothes.
Those are just excuses! Granted some people seem to have a greater capacity for recall, and yes, remembering things does become more challenging as we age. But it’s not impossible. What we’re saying with our excuses is “It’s not a priority for me,” “I have other things I’d rather invest my time in,” or “I’m too spiritually lazy to try.”
Paul tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16) If we truly believe this, it should drive us to fill our minds with God’s Word. We need teaching and training. And though we don’t like it, we also need rebuking and correcting. And I believe each of you would say you want to be thoroughly equipped for everything God has for you to do.
So let’s get serious. Are you willing to put the time in to make a change? Are you ready to take on the challenge of hiding God’s word in your heart?
If you haven’t already read it, go back and check out Joy’s article on scripture memory first. Then come back here and check out these tips that will help as you get into high gear memorizing scripture. I’ve used all of these myself, so I know they work.
- Write your verse out by hand. (The more senses we include in memorizing the better it will stick. This also applies to #2 and #3.)
- Read the verse several times a day. Reading it out loud is even better! You’re tripling the reinforcement by letting your brain see, speak, and hear it at the same time.
- Listen to the verse repeated over and over. Simply record it on an app and let it play over and over as you’re working out, cleaning house, driving to work, whatever!
- Keep the verse in front of you in any way possible:
- Write it on your calendar.
- Use Post-it notes and put it in places you look frequently (computer screen, kitchen cabinet, dash of your car, etc.).
- Use a spiral or ring index card holder to keep in your purse for review in any spare time. Put one verse per card. This way you can easily review old ones.
- Set it as your screen saver or lock screen on your computer or phone.
- Write it on you bathroom mirror with permanent marker. You’ll see it and can work on it as you get ready and brush your teeth every day. (Don’t worry, it comes off easily with fingernail polish remover and a cotton ball.)
- Sing the verse. Just to reinforce what Joy already suggested… Set your verse to a tune you already know, or google scripture memory songs and find a composition that works for you.
- Make a game of it. (See examples below.)
- Make a chart with the verse repeated over and over several times. In each repetition underline the next key word or phrase. Read each repetition aloud emphasizing the underlined word. This helps you see the deeper meaning in what you’re memorizing.
- Type the same verse out several times on one page. Randomly leave out 3-5 words on each subsequent repetition. Print this out and keep it in a handy place. Work on reading the verse in its entirety first. After a couple of days, fold the lines of the entire verse over and try to say the verse while looking at the next entry with a few words missing. Can you recall the words? After a couple of days more, fold that over and go to the next repetition that has 6-10 words missing. Try saying the verse looking at this. Are you recalling everything? Keep doing this process until you reach the bottom of the page and do not need to look at it at all to recite the verse.
- Print out a chapter of the Bible one verse at a time, leaving space beside it and draw pictures depicting each verse. (This is similar to the idea of a doodling or journaling Bible. The difference is the purpose; you draw pictures verse by verse to help you with recall, not for the artistic value.)
- Check out these Word document samples: Scripture Memory helps