How many bible verses would you say you can quote by heart? 5, 10, 15, 20, 100? Or maybe you’re saying to yourself wait, I know I should read the bible, but I’m supposed to actually memorize scriptures too?
That’s a great question.
Is memorizing Scripture actually a requirement by God? Or, is it just another thing some Christians think is important to do, so they preach that everyone should do it? I mean, where in the bible does it say we should memorize scripture?
And, if it is a requirement, what bible verses should I memorize? Is there a certain plan or method?
If you have ever asked yourself any of these questions, then this is the post for you. Let’s take a look at exactly what the bible says about memorizing Scripture, why its important, how it benefits us, and how we can actually do it.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
What Does the Bible Say About Memorizing Scripture?
There are actually several bible verses that talk about memorizing scripture.
In fact, both the Old and New Testament, stress the importance of learning God’s Word to the point of committing it to memory.
Right before Moses died, he spent a considerable amount of time reminding the Israelites about God's law and exhorting them to make memorizing it a priority.
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 NIV)
Let’s dissect those verses a bit.
First he tells them the commands that God gave them are to be on their hearts. Think about that. God’s Word can only be on your heart if you remember them.
He then goes on to say impress them on your children. Impress means to make a mark or to fix on someone’s mind. So not only did God want his adult followers learning and memorizing his Word, he wanted them to teach their children to do the same.
Next he says to talk about God's Word – pretty much everywhere and as much as possible! Would you agree, we can only talk about His Word (His specific commandments in this case) if we know them or have them memorized?
Next, he says tie them as symbols on your hands, bind them on your foreheads, write them on the doorframes of your houses and your gates. In other words, put up reminders everywhere (post-its, index cards, posters, bumper stickers, etc.).
Let’s look at three other verses that reiterate the same principle of learning God’s Word and committing it to memory:
- The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. Psalm 37:31 NIV
- Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8 NIV
- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16 KJV
Notice how each verse indicates a step above simply reading God's Word. In order for the law to be in their hearts, always on their lips, and dwell in them richly, they would have to memorize it to some degree.
Now that we know that the bible does in fact call for us to memorize scripture, other than being obedient to God, let’s look at why it’s important to do so, and how it benefits us as Christians.
The Benefits of Memorizing Scripture
Let’s start with a few of Jesus’ words to his disciples:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26 KJV)
It’s important to point out here, that once we hear or learn God’s Word, that the Holy Spirit within us brings His Word to our remembrance as needed. However, keep in mind that in order for the Holy Spirit to bring something to our remembrance, we have to first commit it to memory. In other words, if we don’t read the Word of God in the first place, we won’t have anything for the Holy Spirit to bring to our remembrance.
The good news is that once we do start reading, learning and memorizing scripture, there are countless of benefits that will begin to result in our lives.
It Builds Your Faith
Our entire Christian faith is built upon God’s Word. It is faith in God’s Word that saved us, and the building of that faith will require our continuous action to embrace God's Word.
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:17 NIV)
God's Word is full of promises about His power, and reminders about His grace and mercy. God’s Word tells us who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He can and will do in our lives. Just like Moses told the Israelites not to forget what God had done, God’s Word is a reminder to us of the same.
Be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:12 NIV)
The more of God’s Word we learn and commit to memory, the more we can recount and stand on the promises of His Word. And the more we stand on His Word, the more we build our faith in God.
It Keeps You From Sin
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:9-11 NIV)
When you hide God’s Word in your heart, and it’s constantly on your mind, it will help you to obey God, live according to His Word, and stay away from sin.
In a sense, memorizing scripture gives us the ammunition we need to fight off the urges to sin. When confronted with sin, the Holy Spirit brings God's Word to the forefront of our minds, causing us to make better choices in obedience to God.
It Equips You For Spiritual Warfare
Whether we realize it or not, everyday we are in a spiritual battle against the influence of the carnal world in which we live (1 John 2:15-17), the sin nature of our flesh (Galatians 5:16-17), and our spiritual enemy the devil (1 Peter 5:8).
And the only way to fight in this spiritual war is with spiritual weapons:
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)
Our spiritual weapons are known as the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17). Of all the pieces of our spiritual armor, the Word of God is our only offensive weapon.
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17 NIV)
God's Word is our sword of the Spirit that we use to fight against the tricks, plans, manipulations, lies, and temptations of the world, our flesh, and the devil.
If you read the story of when the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10), you will see that Jesus fought the devil by only quoting Scripture. And the devil ran away from him! If this was Jesus' approach, how do we think we can overcome temptation utilizing all other methods besides this?
It Keeps Your Mind At Peace
When we aren't struggling with sin, temptation, or the distractions of the world, that leaves us with the day-to-day challenges of life to contend with. Whether its just the usual busyness of your daily routine, issues at work, problems at home, relationship or money problems - there is always something. And, it can be very easy for us to fall into a distress mode of being anxious, frustrated, stressed, aggravated, depressed, worried, or angry.
However, one of the things we can do to combat those feelings that arise due to our circumstances, is to meditate and focus on God's Word.
In fact, one way in which I have been challenging myself lately is to focus on scripture as my knee-jerk reaction to situations that come up in my life.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
Sometimes, the promises of God’s word may be the only thing that can provide comfort when you’re going through certain things. That renewed strength that comes from recalling bible verses, and then meditating on His Word can give you that extra push you need to keep moving forward in whatever situation you may be facing.
Fixing your mind on God’s Word regularly, can literally keep you in state of perfect peace. That is the importance of memorizing scripture.
It Helps You Know Biblical Truth & Keeps You From Error
There are so many religions, doctrines, and false teachings today. Even when you narrow it down to just Christianity, there are many contradictory truths being taught nationwide.
We read, learn and memorize Scripture so that we are not in error when it comes to what the bible says on certain topics. As a Christian, it is good to get into the habit of asking yourself “what does the bible say about …” (fill in the blank) and go research/study accordingly.
We will never be able to discern truth without first knowing what the bible (the truth) actually says:
- Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 NIV
- If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:31-32 NIV
Memorizing scripture arms us with truth.
Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God." (Matthew 22:29 NIV)
How To Memorize Scripture
When it comes to the 'how' of memorizing scripture, there are a variety methods. However, because we all learn in different ways, the key is to utilize the methods that work best for you.
Here are 8 key ways to help you get started with memorizing bible verses.
Generally speaking, nothing helps you memorize like recitation. This is the most simple method to memorize scripture. Simply read the verse(s) you want to memorize, highlight it in your bible, and then say it out loud - over and over again.
Throughout your day, you can simply recite the verses to yourself (at work, on a walk, while working out, while cleaning, etc.)
Write it Out
Another method is to write out the verses you want to memorize. You can keep a notebook and handwrite verses multiple times, or you can even open up a Word document and type out what you’re memorizing over and over again.
You could also write it on a white board or chalk board over and over in different colors.
If you’re looking for a more creative or fun way to utilize this method, you can also make posters with your favorite verses or try Bible journaling! This allows you to essentially draw out a verse. The time you spend drawing, shading, and coloring the verse is time spent meditating on it and committing it to memory.
Use Memory Cards
Students utilize memory or flash cards all the time for school and they have worked for decades! You can create your own using post-it notes, index cards, or a spiral notecard booklet. You can write where the verse is on one side, and the actual verse on the other. Then use the cards to quiz yourself.
You can post them on your computer monitor, on your fridge, in your car, and your desk at work.
Printable Scripture memory cards have become very popular as well, and are an excellent resource for this method!
Listen to Scripture
Are you an auditory learner, that finds it much easier to remember lyrics than spoken words? There are several groups that specialize in writing songs/music specific for helping to memorize scripture – both for kids and adults!
Scripture Release is a top one.
You can also make up a song by putting your favorite verses to music. You can create a song or jingle that will help you remember certain verses. You can even listen to recordings of the bible, or create your own recordings of verses you want to memorize and listen to them regularly.
Invest in Scripture Apparel or Other Items
One of my favorite methods of memorizing scripture is to purchase biblical apparel or paraphernalia.
You can get banners, flags, bumper stickers, mugs, pens, keychains, dog tags, jewelry, T-shirts, or hoodies with your favorite bible verses on them!
Get an Accountability Partner
Memorization can take a lot of work, and can be hard to stick to without accountability.
You can team up with someone who can quiz you, or simply check-in regarding your progress to help keep you motivated throughout the process. You can also join a bible study group and work as a team to memorize bible verses.
Utilize a Bible Memory App
I’m sure you know at this day and age there is literally an app for just about anything, and that includes apps for memorizing scripture!
Most apps will allow you to pick the scriptures you want to memorize, or you can have the app randomly select a memory verse at the time interval you choose (daily, weekly).
RECOMMENDED: 7 Best Bible Memorization Apps
Make it a Game
Turn the act of memorizing scripture into a personal challenge. Whether you utilize flashcards to quiz yourself, create a fill-in-the-blank verse quiz, or even get a friend or family member to quiz you – find a way to make it a challenge.
NOTE: some of the bible memorization apps listed via the link above include quiz games.
Also if you want to turn memorizing scripture into a family conquest or if you want to get your kids learning with you, you can check out this article: 21 Fun Bible Memory Verse Games
What Bible Verses Should I Memorize?
The truth of the matter is that because the ENTIRE bible is the Word of God, it is entirely relevant.
That being said, typically what you will find when you google anything about memorizing scripture, are lists of “key verses" that people have put together. You will find lists based on specific topics (i.e. prayer, love, or forgiveness). You will find lists of the most commonly memorized scriptures (i.e. top foundational verses to memorize, top 100 bible memory verses, bible memorization challenges, etc.).
These lists are great starting points, especially if you don’t know where to start your memorization journey.
Apart from utilizing those lists, when it comes to selecting what specific verses to memorize, I recommend the following:
- Pick verses that speak to you – whether its something you read in your bible reading, in your devotional time, or a verse you heard quoted from someone else; if it resonated with you, and God is using it to speak directly to you, or a situation in your life, memorize it!
- Pick verses by topic – if there is a specific topic you want to study in the bible, research that topic and start by memorizing 3-5 key verses related to it.
- Pick passages you have a desire to learn by heart – you may have heard of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), or the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20), but have no clue what they are and want to learn about them. These are great passages (groups of verses) to challenge yourself with. Other examples could be the 10 commandments, the beatitudes, the gifts of the spirit, or the 23rd Psalm.
- Start with the promises of God - As a matter of fact, I have a FREE download to help you get started today:
Other than the tips above, there is no special "memorizing scripture plan". There’s also no such thing as the fastest way or the easiest way to learn the bible because everyone’s learning style is different. It’s all about what methods work best for you. And, you may have to try a few to determine that.
I personally like diversity, because I get bored using the same methods over and over again. So I utilize a combination of the methods listed in this post and have tried them all at one point or another.
Get Started Memorizing Scripture Today!
The MOST important thing when it comes to memorizing scripture is to simply get started.
And you start small, and memorize incrementally. There is no rush. You are not in a race with anyone but yourself. It all comes down to how much of a priority you are going to decide to make this venture.
Committing God's Word to memory is not something we do, nor should we seek to do in order to impress others, or to show off how much bible we know.
We read, learn, meditate on, memorize, and study God’s Word first and foremost because God tells us to. And secondly, because of why He tells us to (all the benefits mentioned in this post).
Whatever method or combination thereof that you choose to follow in memorizing scripture, do it repeatedly, until it become something you do naturally. The point is to internalize it over time.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while. Consistency is the key. One thing I know for sure is that you’ll never regret spending more time focusing on God’s Word. And I promise you, there is nothing as wonderful as having an encouraging verse come to mind at just the time you need it most.
Encourage someone else today by sharing: