10 Tips for Memorizing Scripture

There are a plenty of tips out there on memorizing Scripture, but here are a few of my favorites that I use:

1.     Choose a passage that speaks into your life. Don’t just learn isolated verses here and there, but bite off whole chunks.   Alternating easy verses or passages with harder ones will help keep you from becoming discouraged.

2.    Establish a routine of a few minutes per day at a certain time, but be careful not to turn it into something mechanical.  Remind yourself of the reasons to memorize Scripture when you lose your motivation (see post: Why Memorize Scripture?).

3.    Memorize up to 3 verses a week.  More than that might tend to get confusing and recall may not be as simple.  Of course, this varies from person to person, so be sure to gauge how much overwhelms you and then back off if you are tackling too much.

4.    On the first day, read the verse you are memorizing 10 times to yourself (John Piper’s great idea).  Read aloud ten times, mentally picturing it in your mind. Hearing helps cement the words in your head.  Look at the words only when necessary.  

5.    On the following days, read the verse several times.  Break the passage into natural phrases.  Move on to the next phrase when you can say it several times without looking. See how many you can join together.  Peak for hints when you need to.  Keep doing this for several days because repetition and review is the key.

6.    Learn a little bit very well instead of a whole bunch poorly.  Writing it down helps you to think about each word.  Re-write sections you keep missing.

7.    Recite it out loud or listen to someone recite it out loud – not in monotone or as if reading aloud, but in a conversational style, thinking how it would sound if someone were just saying it for the first time.  I heard Beth Moore do this in reciting the book of James (Mercy Triumphs) and I still hear the words she emphasizes and the slow deliberate speaking style that sticks especially difficult verses in my mind.

8.    Speak it into your life and find ways to live it. Use it in conversation, journaling teaching, counseling, daily situations, and the self-talk in your head.

9.    Frequently review verses you have already learned.  Tim LaHaye recommends reviewing the new verses daily for 7 weeks, then reviewing them once per week for 7 months, then reviewing once per month for 7 months. 

10. Take advantage of downtime.  When you are waiting, driving, washing dishes or mowing the lawn, review what you know or repeat something new you are working on.

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