What is the best way to memorize scripture (an area I unfortunately lack)?
Daily personal bible study
@O_wretched_man I think it is different for different people in terms of the mechanism. However, repetition and sizable chunks are key. For example, if you wanted to memorize Psalms 23, in the morning of the first day you practice saying aloud Psalms 23:1-2 a few times so that you can do it without looking. A few hours later you try to say it by rote again and check it if you forget. The same a few hours later and so on. Then the next day you work on Psalms 23:3-4 in the same way, linking them together once you’ve got that down. After a week or so you have the whole chapter. If you struggle to get 2 verses in a day at first then take two or three days - people are different. Some people also find they need to write the verses down - however, for me it is enough to repeat it aloud to myself in my head (and much faster than writing).
A few passages I would recommend considering memorizing: Psalms 23, Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Romans 8, 2 Cor 5:17-21, John 15, Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Exodus 34:1-9, Isaiah 58:6-10, Psalms 1, Psalms 15, Psalms 19
And here is a great list of individual verses from navigators that are worth having in your memory.
Don’t worry about forgetting what you memorize. Just memorize things that touch your heart, in addition to these core verses, and trust me - it will stay with you. Even if you do not remember it word for word it has great value later in life. The Spirit cannot bring to remembrance what we have not stored within our heart at some point. Any time a verse really touches your heart in devotional time I think it is worth taking the time to memorize it and meditate upon it.
Christ grant you wisdom and a deeper desire for His Word.
Here are a few suggestions so that you engage as many of your senses with the words. Do your best to understand the verse (and it’s context) while you are memorizing–take the words into your heart.
Handwrite it out a few times, even doodle the words
Read/recite it out loud while memorizing
Sing the words to a tune, or do it as a rap
I am told the NKJV or KJV are easier for memorizing because they were written with an oral cadence in mind. (Can’t verify that, but I consider the person who told me to be very credible, as he’s memorized the NT in both English and Greek).
If you are doing large sections, create an outline of the section with keywords. Seeing the outline in your head can help prompt the full verse. It also aids in understanding the text as you memorize.
@Jennifer_Judson What version have you found to be easiest to memorize in your own life? For me, the HCSB is easiest. I could see the NKJV for the Psalms, but for Paul’s letters it contains some wording that I would find difficult and unnatural. I agree that knowing the context of the verse is very important! We should understand the passage in context before memorizing it…
@O_wretched_man Just to be in keeping with the times, here is a highly rated app if you would prefer such a method. I am actually going to give it a try
By way of a quick review of the app - I like it! You just type the first letter of each word and it vibrates if you get a word wrong. It’s not quite as fast as just saying it in your head, but probably more effective at preventing modification of the passage. So far it’s pretty fun actually.
I have been told that putting verses on music really helps.
It is very obvious that one remembers music lyrics a lot faster.
But I guess that when you have to recite the verses you might need the melody in order to remember.
I stick with the ESV because it’s the translation I use most. Have no idea if it’s the easiest, but it’s one I have confidence in.
@O_wretched_man I agree with Jennifer and Sean. Personally for me, most of the time I like to write down the things I want to remember. Visuals and audios also work for me a lot of the time. As Sean said it’s different for different people. So because I’m more of a visual person, watching a video or listening to audio a few times makes the content stick with me.
There have been many good points made in the above posts in regards to memorization. As has been said, there are many approaches that work differently for everyone. But I thought I’d add a few thoughts as memorization does not come easy for me.
Maybe you are aware that I am part of a team that learns a chapter at a time. Our approach is to learn 2 verses/week. I use the RSV because all of scripture that I have memorized has been that and I find that if it is similar but not the same, it can be confusing.
It’s imperative to have a routine. Memorize when you drive to work, when you are saunaing, when you are in the kitchen cooking - always having the verses to learn before you as well as those learned to review. If you can’t sleep at night, try your best to start from the beginning and take it to where you are at the time.
This may make for some disagreement but I learn the verses verbatim even before it makes sense to me. After I get it down, it begins to make more sense. Sometimes, in reviewing, it dawns on me much later what the verses are saying.
Some have said to learn with music but regardless, say the verses out load. Find someone who knows that you are not trying to show off to repeat them to with them following along with your Bible version so that they can correct you.
Do make sure that you have a system not only for memorizing the new verses but to review the old verses. They are easier to retain than to start over again.
Where you can, do the verses with others and review them together. And use them in prayer.
For everyone, it takes discipline but that is where I think, anyone can learn 2 verses/week rather than letting weeks go by and trying to cram in numerous verses rather than a steady 2/week.
Memorization has revolutionized my walk with Jesus.
I use the scripture typer and find it really good. It is also a good way to store scriptures on certain topics you may want to refer to. If you are a very visual person you could write out the verse and use colour as well as pictures or icons. This has been done by the bible project for whole books or parts of books of the bible. I think it is a really cool way to meditate and memorise scripture.