Before we consider some tips on how to memorise Scripture, we’ll explore why it might be a good practice to develop. Going into the Old Testament we see that the word of God was always meant to be known by His people. More than that, to be stored in our hearts, for it to be written where we can see it, every day, and to be part of our lives.
Why do we need to memorise Scripture?
“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
When I first became a Christian, I remember being impressed by one of our Bible teachers who could quote long passages of Scripture. In one of our Bible study sessions, he shared that memorising scripture is a choice, it doesn’t ‘just happen.’ Some people will find it easier than others, but it is a conscious decision that we make, for God’s word to become part of who we are. I started then writing out verses on slips of paper and carrying them around with me, while I memorised them. It is a practice, that I keep coming back to.
Is memorising Scripture a Biblical principle?
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have, but do this with gentleness and respect.”1 Peter 3:15
This verse challenges us to be informed, to know and understand, who and what we are basing our hope on. To be prepared and able to explain the foundations of our faith, and what we believe. But we can rationalise and explain without quoting verbatim. Memorising Scripture, however, helps the word of God become a foundation in our life, in our heart and in our mind. The word of God becomes our protection and defence, through trials and difficulties – it is with good reason described as the sword of the Spirit.
Jesus is our Example
Jesus is always our example and He knew Scripture. During his temptation in the wilderness He demonstrated the main reason we need to memorise Scripture – to protect ourselves from deception. (Matt 4:1-11)
At a time when Jesus was physically weak, the devil tempted Him to use His supernatural power for His own benefit. Jesus rejected the temptation with Scripture – by quoting what God’s word declares, and what He was relying on to sustain Him.
The devil then tempted Jesus to publicly put God’s protection to the test. What we need to be aware of is that the devil quoted Scripture – he knows God’s word! He didn’t misquote, he misused Scripture, by taking the verses out of context. Jesus demolished the devil’s argument by quoting the truth of God’s word in the right context of the situation that He was in.
Finally the devil tempted Jesus to put immediate reward and honour above the will of God, which Jesus refuted by quoting scripture “For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”
How to memorise Scripture
Four Top tips:
- Start small with just one verse. Then when you can memorise that one verse you can build on it.
- Choose a verse of Scripture which resonates with your heart. Something which has particular meaning to you personally. The more relevant it seems, the easier it will be.
- Be prepared to make an effort, not because you have to, but because you want to. What you learn is laying a foundation stone. It may not benefit you today but it will be there to sustain you when you need it.
- Find out what learning method works for you. There are several different ways in which we learn and sometimes a combination of styles works best. I am definitely a reading/writing learner. This is why I started writing out Scripture onto pieces of paper and carrying them in my pocket to read and re-read. There is something about writing it down that helps fix the words in my mind – that works best for me. But we are all different and you need to find out what works for you.
Four main different learning styles:
- Visual – Some people are visual learners which means they learn by what they see. They prefer to have someone show them how to do something rather than explain it to them. Visual learners use images and pictures to help them to remember. There are Bible apps were you can create an image for a particular verse, and save it to your phone or computer as a wallpaper or screensaver. Journaling Bibles, where you can draw and doodle, are also popular. Colouring pages are another way to help memorise Scripture for visual learners.
- Auditory – Are those who learn best, by listening, who prefer spoken instructions. They may like to re-iterate what they have been told. Repeating instructions, even ‘talking’ to themselves, may be ways that auditory learners remember. Music and songs may also help. Again there are Bible apps, YouVersion is one, which have an audio option so you can listen to the Scripture being read out, rather than reading it yourself.
- Reading/writing – Is for those with a preference for the written word. Those who would automatically take notes, and write lists to help them remember. Post-it notes, or note blocks or list pads are all good tools for this type of learner – and a nice pen!
- Kinaesthetic – Are those who learn by doing, who are tactile, who like to engage all their senses, in a learning experience. They learn best while being active and engaged. To memorise words for kinaesthetic learners may mean incorporating auditory and visual tools. Songs with actions, doodling while listening, creating your own memory cards or flash cards may all be useful.
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”Benjamin Franklin
Today is as good a time as any to start….
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For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.Psalm 100:5