Thursday, May 15, 2008

Memorizing Scriptures

We interrupt this Bible study to discuss … well, Bible studying!

Several of you have been asking questions about how to study the Bible. So I want to take the time to address a few of these questions publicly in the next couple of posts.

Claire in Kenya recently wrote: “I’m having trouble where memorising verses is concerned. My pastor advised a bible with a concordance. A friend suggested a commentary. Kindly advice which of these I should start with and version u can use.”

Hers is really several questions in one but we’ll start with her first issue – memorizing verses. You do not need a concordance, or commentary, or special Bible memory cards or anything else of the sort to memorize verses. You simply need to exert some effort. Memorizing takes concentration and time, and nothing more.

Now if you want to use a concordance to look up a bunch of verses on a single subject so you can memorize lots of verses on that topic, then great. If you want to buy pre-made cards with Bible verses on them to sit on your counter in a cute little holder, that’s fine too. Go for it. But just don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you just possess this item, memorizing verses will be so much easier. It won’t. It always takes the effort of concentration and repetition over time – and no product can supply your concentration and time.

When I come across a verse I want to memorize, I look it up in my Bible or I write it down on something. Then I read it over and over out loud. I do this a few times each day for several days until I can recite all of it without looking at the verse. That’s it. That’s all you have to do.

The memorization will take place faster and easier if you practice reading/saying that verse frequently. For example, if you only read it once each morning you will eventually learn it, but it will take longer than if you read it several times in a row each morning. And if you also read it a couple of times again later in the day, it will go even faster. A little tip is research shows we memorize best if we review the material right before we go to sleep. So try reciting it before you get in bed at night. Maybe review it as you brush your teeth.

When I’m reading out loud to memorize a verse, I like to emphasize each subsequent word in the verse with each reading. Or sometimes instead of individual words, I’ll group some together as phrases - but its best to keep the phrases short if you do this. Let me give you an example using Psalm 139:14 from the New Living Translation. Read this out loud, slowly verbally emphasizing each bolded phrase as you do.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it.

After going through it all several times, I simply end by praying the truth of that verse. Emphasizing different words each time you say it out loud will help to draw some of the meaning out of the verse while impressing it into your memory. Now you try it! Pick a verse from our reading of Mary (or elsewhere in this study) that was meaningful to you and give this a try.

Post if you want and tell us which verse you want to memorize, and you can come back later and announce your achievement!


  1. I also find that it is easier to not only memorize but keep the verse memorized for months or years, when the verse has some sort of meaning to me. I have been in SS classes and part of the lesson was memorizing a verse for the week. I had very difficult memorizing verses that someone else TOLD me to memorize without them having special importance to me that gave me strength.

    Prov. 3:5-6 is one that I have never lost from my memory because I have always drawn strength from in the Lord with all my heart...every phase of my life I've been able to draw strength from that.

    The problem is the more I'm in His Word the more verses I love and want to commit to memory because of their simple beauty. I have a pull page with SMALL font of about 30+ verses on my goal to add to my current verses in memory. I have them typed on a piece of paper and carry them in my purse.

    Happy memorizing.

  2. Rachel,
    Thank you so much for this bible study and all you do. I can tell just through your blog and post you have a very kind spirit. I truly appreciate your time. I've grown so much since starting your bible study and always look forward to the next reading. I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  3. Thank you Rachel. I am here and have been reading along, I just haven't had a chance to post. My verse will be Jeremiah 29:11

    "For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. They are plans for good, and not for disaster, to give you a future and hope."

  4. Good Advice...

    I also find putting a "post-it" with a verse on my fridge is a good place for me :o) Each time I open the fridge door to get my kids juice, or whatever, I am reminded of the verse I am hiding in my heart.

    I'll have to think about what verse to memorize...

    Glad to see a new post... I was getting worried about you (I also wondered if there was something wrong with my computer).


  5. Hi Rachel,

    One of my favorites that I already have memorized is Phillipians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who stregthens me.

    I will like to memorize Isaiah 54:17: No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

    Thanks Rachel!

  6. Hello to all! Thanks Rachel for another post. I missed you. Thank you for this it is something I have wanted to do and have been working on, but the tips will help. I look back on what we read for Mary and this verse stood out.

    Luke 1:28
    Gabriel appeared to her and said "Greetings favored woman, the Lord is with you!"

    Hope all are well, as always thanks Rachel for your time.
    Be Blessed!

  7. AnonymousMay 16, 2008

    Hi all,
    I also enjoyed reading about the memorization methods. I have been out of touch a few days and am glad to see I didn't miss too much. Thank you Rachel and everyone for insights and comments.

  8. Thank you Rachel for the good advice. I am a Christian Educator and when I taught Understanding God and His Covenants my students had to memorize the books of the Bible and a verse each week for 20 weeks. Some of them had difficulty so I taped my voice over some peaceful instrumental music and instructed them to listen throughout the day but especially at bedtime. This was successful for most of them. It is just one technique. Again as you stated, repetition is the key.

    Have a blessed and productive day.

    Grace and peace, Linda in Columbus OH

  9. I haven't really tried memorizing scripture before, but I'm going to give it a try. The verse I've chosen is Luke 1:38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

  10. Hi Rachel,
    I have a child who is left handed (which means she is right brained) and she struggles with rote memorization. So, we have found if we make the verses into a song she will memorize it in no time! So, if any of you are struggling with memorizing, try putting it to a catchy tune!

    Right now I am memorizing:

    Acts 20:35 "Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'"

  11. I have been a Christian since I was 2 years old. (Really, 2 years old). I have made many more formal committments to the Lord since that time, but it amazes me how many verses are hidden in my heart from sunday school, quizzing. etc... I can only imagine God will honor a more concentrated effort for a 35 year old who doesn't memorize as easily as she used too!
    I do love Davone Lee who turns verses from quizzing in to songs. One of my best friends has also used her musical creativity to do this. You can look at davone lee's stuff at It is really worth looking at and purchasing. (the cd's are cheap.) She has many children, and the cd's are of her and her children doing the verses in very creative form. I too would like to memorize Isaiah 54:17: No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. THanks for posting that verse. I need to remember that!
    Kelly in Pittsburgh

  12. Sharon Sloan ministered to me in the last post with this verse. I would also like to memorize this verse Christ made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant...He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death..." Phil. 2:7-.

    Kelly in Pittsburgh

  13. Post-its on the bathroom mirror also help. Someone once suggested to me that this is a good way to also involve your husband; so a post-it on each side of the mirror is a good way to go (this is another way to pray for each other if you are the one posting the verse on the other side...).

    I want to memorize the verse from Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He wil quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with signing."

  14. I have memorized many verses throughout my life and also encouraged my Sunday School classes to learn verses. Repetition is the key whether by concentrating on the verse several times a day or through music or even a game (when working with kids). I like to write a verse I am trying to memorize on a card and then take it with me wherever I go so I can look at it several times a day.

    Deb - Ohio

  15. AnonymousMay 16, 2008

    Wonderful. Thank you again Rachel.
    I memorized Rom 8:28 (all things work together for good...) when I was a new christian. It still continues to remind me when I'm in another faith building, seemingly terrible situation, that all will eventually come out for the best - God's way. After all, who cares for me more than Him and wants the best for me.
    My husband and I used to sing scripture together while I played the guitar, so I agree with Sonya. It is helpful, but can really be fun. Surprising how often I have a tune float thru my mind and then the words are there for encouragement. Blessings to you all dear sisters.
    Jo Beth

  16. First I would like to thank everyone who prayed for me. I went to the doctor today and everything is fine. The problem, if it continues, can be taken care of with medication. Praise God, no surgery. I told her that people all over were praying for me. I had to give God the glory. Again, thanks so much for your prayers.

    The verse I would like to memorize is the second part of Isaiah 60:19 ".... When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him." This verse has helped me through many trials.

  17. Ladies, I am leaving for now, I am being admitted to the hospital. I am scared and ask that you pleaseee put me in your prayers. I haven't been able to keep food down and what food I have has made it soo painful. The doctor says its either my liver or gall bladder. I am having very bad chest pains.
    Rachel thank you for all I have learned.
    May the Lord Bless ALL OF YOU!
    Chat soon
    Love, Sharon

  18. Hey,
    Thank Rachel for this. I too like to memorize with music. Amazing Grace music will fit a lot of scriptures. I know doing First Place the scriptures on are cd to music and that helps listening to them several times. But it's like someone else said, you have to listen, to write, read, or say it over several times, but you have to "just do it".
    My children learned their time tables with music and now that they are grown they still have that jingle of the time tables in their mind.
    I'll be praying for the prayer request.
    Have a good weekend Rachel and to all the other ladies.
    sharron in louisiana

  19. Thanks Rachel, I have been trying to do more memorizing and I am very grateful for your suggestions. I also enjoyed reading everyone's verses that they want to memorize. The verse I will be working on is Psalm 139:23&24 - Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

  20. Hi everyone,
    I'll add to this discussion with a big YAHOO. Memorizing scripture has really built me up. After I memorize something I'll find it bubbling up in my conscience at the most unplanned but needed times.

    I usually write a verse over and over until I have it memorized. Another thing that works for me is to write the verse(s) on an index card, link them together with a keychain and carry them with me wherever I go. Anytime I am still, such as at stoplights or in the line at a checkout, I pull the card out and review. Writing the verse on one side of the card and the reference on the other helps me to check myself as I study.

    The verse I have held onto for the last two years is Romans 8:28 "For all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose"

  21. May God be with you, Sharon, and may you feel Him right there beside you.

  22. I would like to memorize a second scripture that was on my blog today. I did a card ministry for about 6 or 7 years and quit within the last year. I just did not have the passion for it anymore plus I was recovering from back surgery which was 1 year ago yesterday (May 17). I don't exactly feel quilty but I feel others do not understand. The scripture on my blog today gave me peace. It is Hebrews 6:10
    "God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them." I feel He is taking me in a different direction and hopefully with let me use this blog to help others.

  23. For any who are interested I have put one of Dottie Rambo's songs on my blog and a website you can go to for information regarding her death. She was 74 years old.

  24. Ladies

    How are all of you!! I have been so sick the for the past 2 weeks..I was in the hospital for pneumonia last year and I am having the same issues again. Please pray for me. The doctor told me I am on the verge of having emphasima (I can't spell!!)after having quit smoking 10 years ago. Well I come against that..I also come against going back to the hospital...anyway, that is why I haven't written in my blog or here.

    I wrote in my blog today and went back to bed. Also I finished my painting and posted that. As far as memorizing favorite is, "Trust in the Lord at all times and lean not on your own understanding, but in everything acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths" I memorized that when I was hasn't let me down since. When we trust we are in a sense telling the Lord, okay Lord, take over because you are my path of direction. If I don't follow you I will fall down. Help me find my way to you and all that you offer.

    Thank you ladies for your prayers and please visit my blog, its about our future generation and my painting has a little view..when my husband gets in the mood he will make it bigger later!!

    Love you all

  25. I will memorize Psalm 91. I know its a big undertaking- I have tried to do so in the past, but this time... I will do so. I am thinking that writing it and taping it in my car and on my mirror will help.

  26. AnonymousMay 19, 2008

    Rachel - With summer here, everything is getting busier, so I'm glad that you're not posting to often, as I'd find it hard to catch up!
    I've always found it hard to memorize scripture, but it is a desire of mine, so your pointers, (and the others)are great! Concentration and time. It's now a matter of being intentional about it, just like devotions. I always thought that I needed to set aside at least an hour to have a great devotional time. I'm learning that a half-hour or 15 minutes are enough time for God to speak to me! God doesn't cancel me out if I only have a few minutes! Other times I know that I want to spend more time with Him because I want the intimacy to grow.

    Karen, thanks for your comments in response to mine, on the last blog. I appreciate them. God has been asking me to have unwavering faith, so your comments and scripture are timely.

    Sharon- I hope you are doing well, please update us! Praying that you will get better, and not fear. God is in control. Many blessings!

    Connie, Canada

  27. Bobbie,

    Psalm 91 is a beautiful Psalm and you are truly an inspiration to us that you picked it to memorize. I know God will be faithful and will help you achieve your desire since it will build a better intimacy with Him.

    I will be rooting for you!

  28. Loved that.... it appears that I am so good with numbers, but I forget words--LOL.... I love the Contemporary English version, too. Right now I am dwelling in I Corinthians, but I will begin to search for a scripture that speaks to me.... I have in front of my monitor that I have memorized and I thought I would share this with you Rachel and my other "online sisters". It says, " God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage." Just to read that alone stirs something in me... Be blessed :)

  29. Another tool for Bible Memory is using You can either use one of their programs or build your own. The first day you type out the entire verse, days 2-4 one word is omitted, and day 5 is you typing the verse with no prompts. Day 6 is a review day, and day 7 is a sabbath :) The cool thing is you can't move on to the next verse until you have it EXACTLY right. I've been using it for about a year, and have memorized about 25 verses (I obviously don't get everything right the first time!) It's been amazing how many times the verse is totally fitting for my life...

  30. I've been away—travelling internationally, so now trying to play catch-up.
    I love to memorize scripture through song. That works best for me, and also a lot that I learned from Sunday school, Scripture exams, etc. has stay with me.


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