Which parts of Scripture?
The first question that arises, is: which portions of Scripture do we want to memorize? Essentially, all of the Bible is worth studying and memorizing, for it is all God’s inspired Word (see 2 Timothy 3:16). But since the number of words we can memorize is limited, we prefer to take short portions of Scripture that make sense in themselves. They should be understandable and meaningful even if we don’t know all of the context.
Therefore, narrative sections generally are not the most suitable Scripture portions to memorize. Memorizing that Canaan fathered Sidon his firstborn and Heth, and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites (Genesis 10:15-18) also might not be your first priority. Rather start with the sayings of Jesus, verses from the Psalms, short commandments or promises from the Old Testament, or with some verses from the New Testament letters.
Make it part of your daily routine
Memorizing Scripture is not something you do once; it is a long-term project. It is helpful to make it part of your daily routine. I personally take a couple of minutes right after breakfast. Any time of day is okay, but practicing every day at the same time helps you to not forget about it – and to go on memorizing after your first burst of enthusiasm has gone. It is of course possible to start memorizing Scripture portions on your own, but it could also be done as a family or with your roommates.
Learn and repeat
Some Christians have memorized Bible verses for years, and found great ways to make this doable. It is important to both learn new Scripture portions regularly, and to repeat the verses you have already learned. In my own family, we use a system based on Charlotte Mason’s Scripture Memory System.
The basis of this system is quite simple:
- Learn a new Scripture portion by repeating it daily
- Do not forget the verses you learned, but repeat them. Initially you do this every other day, later on you switch to once a week, and finally just once a month
- Keep your Bible portions organized, so you know exactly which one you need to learn or to repeat on a particular day. Charlotte Mason writes her verses on index cards and puts them in a box. We write them on small pieces of paper that fit in a flip-up photo album. Just find a set-up that works for you
Recite or… sing!
Bible verses of course can be recited. But we find it especially helpful to sing them! The tune helps us to keep track of the text. I even find myself humming Scripture portions while doing my household chores, because these tunes are so memorable. To make things easier for you, there are websites with lots of Scripture portions set to music. These are freely available. See for example Scripture Singer.
Memorizing Scripture is doable for everybody
At first glance, it might seem difficult to memorize Bible verses, particularly if you are not used to learning things by heart. But if you start with short verses and take enough time before adding new Scripture portions, I am convinced you can do it. Memorizing Scripture is a great way to store up God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11).