If you grew up going to Sunday School or confirmation classes, I can almost guarantee that you had to memorize Bible verses. It likely went something like this: You remember you have a Bible verse due today. You quickly memorize it by repeating it to yourself a bunch of times, stumble through presenting it to your teacher, and then immediately forget it.
Many of us don’t have any Bible verses memorized besides John 3:16. This is a problem.
Memorizing Scripture has a lot of benefits for every Christian, but we usually don’t think of it as a spiritual discipline along the same lines as Scripture reading, prayer, and fasting.
We hear stories of people in nursing homes who are unable to remember their children’s names but can still recite hymn stanzas and Bible verses. Or we hear about Christians in captivity who repeat verses of comfort and peace in the midst of their persecution. If we were in a situation like that, what would we have to hold onto? A One Direction lyric? A baseball statistic from 1967?
Let’s look into some of the reasons why we should memorize Scripture, and some practical tips for incorporating it into your daily life!
Why Should We Memorize Scripture?
To Remind Us
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
When we memorize a Bible verse, it reminds of the truth of God’s Word every time we think of it. Depending on the verse, it could also remind us of God’s providence, sovereignty, love, peace, power, or forgiveness.
These verses from Deuteronomy really cement how God’s Word should be in front of us in everything we do—sitting, walking, lying down, and rising up. When you start memorizing Scripture and hear or see certain words, you’ll be reminded of these Scriptures wherever you go.
To Strengthen Us
Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses My servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 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 good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
One of the greatest motivations for memorizing Scripture is to have the comfort of God’s Word with you wherever you go! If you don’t have access to a Bible, you can tap into the Scriptures you’ve memorized to provide godly comfort whenever you need it.
Whether you’re taking a final exam, getting ready for a big meeting with your boss, or at your wit’s end with parenting—no matter the situation, you can find comfort in God’s Word through the Scriptures you hold in your heart.
To Prevent Us from Sinning
I have stored up Your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against You.
If you read all of Psalm 119, you’ll see a common theme—love for God’s Word. These verses show us all sorts of reasons for memorizing Scripture and holding it near our hearts, but verse 11 is the one that always sticks with me.
Memorizing Scripture can prevent us from sinning. Of course, on this side of heaven, we will sin often, but having God’s Word inscribed on our hearts can encourage us in our battle against sin and the devil.
How Can I Memorize Scripture?
Use an App
There are a variety of apps available to aid you in memorizing Scripture. I personally use a free app called “Bible Memory,” which allows you to import verses and has three levels to help you gradually memorize them. As you memorize a verse, the app automatically schedules the next time you need to practice based on how many times you have repeated the verse correctly. The more times you repeat it correctly, the longer you can go without practicing it.
One nice thing about this particular app is that you only have to type the first letter of every word in the verse, not the whole word, making it quicker and easier to memorize!
I used to use the notecard method, where you write out each memory verse on one side and its reference (book, chapter, and verse) on the other side. If you prefer handwritten methods, this is definitely the way to go! Notecards are portable, but not quite as portable as an app.
With a Friend
Memorizing Scripture with a friend is a great way to encourage each other! Whether you memorize a verse each week with your small group Bible study or a longer passage every month with a long-distance friend over FaceTime, involving other people can help keep you accountable as you consistently memorize verses.
To start your Bible memorization journey consider getting The Lutheran Study Bible: Journal Edition to take notes in the margins and highlight important verses.