Before You Give up on Memorizing Scripture, Try This!

Are you ready to finally learn how to memorize scripture? Learn the three main obstacles to learning bible verses and how to overcome them, and how to create a scripture memorization plan. Plus, a tutorial on how to make a DIY scripture memory box.

When I was young, I remember memorizing scriptures so I could get stickers in Sunday School. I learned a lot of verses when I was in elementary school. I remember working hard to memorize the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23.

Somewhere along the way, as I got older, memorizing scripture lost its appeal. Maybe it was because I didn’t get stickers anymore?

Here’s what I’ve learned over the past few years: I must memorize scripture if I’m going to pray effectively and gain victory during my trials! During one of my darkest moments, I remember sitting by the water crying my eyes out when I heard a whisper…

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Psalm 23:1-2

Another time, I was taking my boys for a walk when I noticed a bird sitting in the tree. It had been a hard week. I was struggling financially and just wanted to get out and get some fresh air for a while. The sight of that bird brought another verse to mind:

“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” Luke 12:24

All those verses I’d learned just to get a sticker serve me well during times of trouble. The Holy Spirit brings those verses to my mind to calm my heart and encourage me.

Obstacles to Memorizing Scripture

When I decided to get serious about memorizing more bible verses I ran into a lot of obstacles. All of them of my own making. I had a running list of excuses that I thought sounded good. They didn’t. But I wonder if you’ve ever said some of the same things when it came to learning scripture?

I don’t have time

This is a popular one any time people try to add another element to their time with God. Usually, that’s because you feel overwhelmed or have unrealistic expectations. The truth is that memorizing scripture doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You can learn a bible verse in just a few minutes a day.

It’s too hard, I can’t do it

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean that you can’t do that thing. And just because something requires work doesn’t mean that it’s hard. Learning scripture is one of those things that may seem hard but really it just requires a little bit of work. And it’s work that can be done if you put your mind to it.

I don’t feel like it

Yep, I said it. I think a lot of the excuses made boil down to this one truth. We don’t feel like memorizing scripture. This is something you’re going to have to get over. Just put on your big girl pants and start committing the truth to memory.

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What the Bible says about Memorizing Scripture

Learning how to memorize scripture is something that every Christian should do. The Bible is clear about that. Here are some verses to get you started:

Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You. Psalm 119:11 NASB

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Joshua 1:8 NASB

You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead Deuteronomy 11:18 NASB

Benefits of Memorizing Scripture

Anytime spent in the Word will have a tremendous impact on all areas of your life, especially time spent committing verses to memory.

Spiritual power for spiritual warfare

Spiritual warfare is no joke. As a Christian woman, you have a target on your back from the enemy. He will do anything he can to distract you from your purpose and calling. And he is an expert at that job.

Memorizing scripture will help you fight against the enemies lies and schemes. When you have God’s truth hidden in your heart you have what you need to stand strong. That’s what Jesus did when the enemy tried to tempt Him. He simply quoted scripture and in the end, the enemy was defeated

Stronger faith for hard times

Hard times are when we need to be in the Word most often. But it can also be a time when it’s difficult to spend time in the Word. Having verses already memorized come in handy during those times. You can encourage yourself (and others) with all the scripture you took the time to commit to memory.

Enhance your prayer life

Memorizing scripture is a great way to learn how to pray. If you have ever felt like you didn’t have the right words to say, using scripture as a prayer prompt is a way to overcome that. I have found that the more scripture I learn the easier it becomes to pray, especially for other people.

Choosing verses to learn

Once you’ve decided to memorize scripture, the inevitable question becomes what to learn. Please don’t get stuck here by making it harder than it needs to be.

Follow a plan

The easiest way to decide what to memorize is to follow a plan. This will take all the decision-making out of the process and you can just focus on learning the verses.

Look to your church for a list of scriptures. If your kids are doing a program like AWANA consider learning verses with them. Sometimes a good bible study will include memory verses as well.  Whatever you choose, keep it simple.

Create your own plan

If you are creating your own bible reading plan that same plan could be used for memorizing scripture.  You could also create a plan based on anything going on in your life at the moment. During a season when I was struggling with my temper I memorized a lot of verses on anger.

Memorize an entire book of the bible

You could also choose to learn an entire chapter or book of the bible. There are many short books in the New Testament that would make a great focus for your memorization time.

How to Memorize Scripture

Know your why

When it comes to anything, especially memorizing scripture, it’s important to know your why. You’ll need to have something more than “because someone told me to” if you want to stick with it. Think about the benefits of hiding God’s word in your heart and make that your purpose for learning.

Have a plan

When you are ready to get serious about memorizing bible verses you need to have a plan. You’re building a new habit so focus on baby steps and essentials. 

Think through when you will practice your verses. Will you work on them daily, every other day? Can you add scripture memory to your current quiet time routine?

Methods of Scripture Memorization

You want to choose a method of memorization. That’s just how you plan to learn your verses. And there are so many options for you to think through.

Write the verse down

This is probably the easiest to implement by simply writing out your verses. You can write out your verse daily — the act of writing will help it stick. You could even write your verse on a post-it note, notecard, or on a mirror somewhere in your home. Any place that you’ll see it often as a reminder to practice.

Visual cues or hand gestures

If you struggle with rote memorization try adding visual cues or hand movements. They will help jog your memory if you get stuck on the words. Sign language is a great way to learn as well. 

Listen to your verses

Hearing your verses over and over will help you to learn them faster. Just think about how fast you learn all the words to your favorite song.

You can repeat the verse out loud several times a day or listen to the verse with an audio bible or music. My boys and I have learned so many verses through song over the years. Here are some of our favorites:

Use Index Cards

Take your verse and write it out on index cards — one word per card. You can take one card away as you learn the verse or mix the cards up and see if you can put them in the correct order

Scripture Memory Tips

I’m going to share a great scripture memorization system with you in just a bit but I want to offer a few sanity-saving tips first:

  1. Focus on one verse instead of entire passages: The name of the game here is quality over quantity. Don’t try to cheat and memorize all the short verses in the bible. Take the time to really hide God’s word in your heart. Even if you are learning a whole passage take it one verse at a time.
  2. Study the verses: Memorizing scripture is not just about the head knowledge. It’s a great time to really meditate (think) about the words you are committing to memory
  3. Review your bible verses often: make time to review verses that you’ve already learned, this will make sure you retain more of your hard work
  4. Apply those verses to your life: the goal of being in the Word is to learn more about God and then to walk out the biblical principles found in scripture. If you are memorizing verses about controlling your anger then you had better work on actually controlling your anger

Creating a Scripture Memory Box

Supplies for making your scripture memory box

A scripture memory box is actually quick and easy to make. You only need a few things:

Assembling Your Scripture Memory Box

There are 2 parts to your memory box: scripture memory cards and dividers.

You will keep your verses on the index cards – remember to only write 1 verse per card.  I like to write my verses on the lined side of the index card. On the back, I write the reference and a hint. I use the first letter of each word as my cue or reminder if I get stuck.

Your dividers are important to the memory system. You want to have the following dividers:

  • Daily
  • Odd
  • Even
  • Sunday-Saturday (one for each day of the week)
  • the numbers 1-31

How to Use Your Scripture Memory Box

Your scripture memory box is a great way to be consistent with learning your bible verses. Using this system will help you spend a few minutes every day building this new habit and spiritual discipline.

When you start with a new verse it goes behind the “Daily” tab. Once you’ve mastered that verse, place it behind either “Odd”. Now you’re ready to add another verse to the “Daily” section. Once you have the second verse memorized move that one to “Even”. You’re ready for a third verse in the “Daily” section.

When you are ready to move your third card from “Daily” to “Odd” it’s time to start putting cards behind the days of the week. Start on Sunday and work your way to Saturday. Once that section is full you should have 10 cards total. Continue adding new cards and verses. The cards behind the days of the week will move to the numbered cards. The goal is to have one card behind each divider.

Each day you’ll go through 4 cards:

  • Daily
  • Even/Odd
  • Day of the Week
  • Number

For example, if today is Monday, September 6th then you’ll review the cards behind “Daily”, “Even” “Monday” and “6”.

This system will help you learn new verses while also reviewing the ones you’ve mastered along the way. And you can keep adding cards until you have even more cards behind each divider. Here’s a video tutorial if you want to see the box in action.

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