Strategies For Scripture Memorization

January 19, 2013

At the beginning of this year I suggested that we all determine to memorize at least one Scripture verse a week. It is not difficult to memorize God’s Word, as some people say it is. If we really want to do something, we do find ways to accomplish it. And certainly for things which we know are highly pleasing to God (such as memorizing His commands, warnings, and promises), we have more than enough power from God’s Spirit to do them!

There are several good strategies and methods for memorization. One, of course, is repetition, and repetition done in segments of time, not all at once. In other words, after reading our chosen verse each morning, we should repeat it, meditatively, several times, then repeat the same verse (or group of verses) several times again an hour later, and then do this periodically throughout the day.

Another technique is to visualize each phrase of the verse (and making the scene in our mind somewhat bizarre is especially helpful). Some verses are easier than others in forming scenes, but for most it can be done, and it actually makes memorization fun. For example, what could we visualize for Ps. 119:105? That’s easy. For it says, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” We’d likely envision an open Bible, a bright lamp sitting in it and shining out of it onto our feet, as well as onto the grassy little path just ahead of us.

Another method for memorizing verses is to break them down into short phrases. Let’s take Jude 1:21, for example. It says, “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” Here’s how I broke it down as I memorized it a few days ago:

~~ Keep yourselves (I envisioned my arms holding my body, soul, and spirit in so that I wouldn’t drift out from the sphere of God’s love. I meditated on how this verse teaches us that we ourselves keep ourselves in God’s love by choosing to do so, though from other Scriptures we know that it is the Spirit’s power which we use.)

~~ in God’s love (I envisioned God and His enormous love, like a lovely mist of comfort around me.)

~~ as you wait (I envisioned myself waiting at a bus stop.)

~~ for the mercy (I envisioned God’s mercy pouring down onto the cross and a river flowing from that, with the word “Mercy” continuously showing itself in the stream, the stream flowing into the lives of masses of people so that the people were relieved of their burdens and were joyfully giving thanks to God.)

~~ of our Lord Jesus Christ (I envisioned Him standing in glory, majesty, and power beside me.)

~~ to bring you (I envisioned Him taking my hand and leading me, even carrying me whenever I’m tired or hurt.)

~~ to eternal life. (I envisioned Jesus leading me along His road of righteousness all the way up to the Dazzling City.)

Another helpful thing to do is to intersperse one’s memorization plan with short verses or parts of verses, for not only does the simpleness keep us from getting discouraged or overwhelmed, but the ability to make a quick slice to sin and lies is mighty useful!  Matching up the short verses by subject or by reference is good.  For example, “Keep yourself pure.”  (1 Tim. 5:22)  And, “Avoid every kind of evil.”  (1 Thes. 5:22)  With those the numbers are all the same, only the books different, and having such commands written across our minds and hearts is to have a quick and ready power-sword for slaying temptation.  For keeping depression or discontentment far away, these next two commands would be good to know, quote, and practice:  “Rejoice in the Lord always.”  (Phil. 4:4)  And, “Be joyful always.”  (1 Thes. 5:16)  Short… easy… powerful…!

So, these are just some methods of memorization I use, and they work, for I’ve been able to memorize a lot of Scripture verses over the years.  If someone still claims they’re having trouble, then there’s one more thing you can try:  Sing the Scripture.  Sing it to a well-known tune.  Then later, when you have it down solid, just say it normally.  There. You’ve memorized it.  Repeat it often to yourself and others and you’ll never forget it.  In fact, once it’s solidified in your mind, you’ll need to review it only once a week, if that.

In Amos 8:11,12, the Lord declares that He will send a famine through the land –a famine of hearing His words. This has happened in history, but will certainly happen again, and in some places it’s happening now. How awful to not have God’s Word! How awful to not have His Spirit –who speaks through His Word– to guide, comfort, warn, encourage, and teach us! However, if and when this may happen for any nation or church, what benefit God’s people have if the Word of God is already in them! For if it is, the Spirit will bring to their remembrance the exact Word the Lord is desiring to say at a given moment. But, without the Word in them, how can they hear if there is a famine in the land? –If no one is preaching the Word of God by the Spirit of God? Moreover, if preachers twist His Word, how will the people know it’s being twisted if they don’t know the Truth? And if there’s no Word of God being proclaimed, nor is it available for reading, how will the people feed on Christ and live? How will they abide in Him who is Eternal Life?

Consequently, it is important to have as much of God’s Word memorized as we can. Then we will have the Truth filling our hearts and minds. Then we will not easily succumb to temptations. (Ps. 119:11) Then we will be able to immediately discern falsehoods. Then we will be able to utilize “the Sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) so that we slay those falsehoods and bring God’s power into the situation. If we know the reference, we can quote the Word of God with authority and easily prove we’re speaking from it. Even if someone listening doesn’t believe Scripture is what it claims to be, the power of God’s Word is not chained! (Rom. 1:16 // 1 Cor. 1:17,18 // 2 Tim. 2:9 // Heb. 4:12)

There is so much benefit in knowing the Word of God –and even more benefit in knowing it verbatim. Satan and his servants are sly. They often ask, “Has God really said…?” and then throw in a twist of the Truth. Certainly their favorite tactic toward those who want to follow God’s Word is to use a lot of Truth (at first), even while they mix in lies. Then the believers become confused. Unless those believers know exactly what Scripture says on the issues.

Jesus warned that deceivers would seek to sway even the elect. He told us to be on guard. The best way we can do this is to be filled with the Spirit by being filled with the Word; to be walking the holy road of Eternal Life by having the Bread of Life constantly in our mouths; and to be being taught by the Word (who is Christ) so that we are ready to use it (Him) for all occasions and at a moment’s notice.

The way we do this is to train ourselves, to devote ourselves, to knowing God’s Word, applying the memorization of it to our daily lives. It most certainly can be done, and it IS to be done. Today.

with love,

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