How to Memorize Scripture

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’”
— Matthew 5:17-21 ESV

In addition to regularly reading our Bibles and praying, I have found that memorizing Scripture is one of the most valuable spiritual disciplines, and usually one of the most intimidating. It’s not difficult to understand why our enemy would want to make us think it’s impossible. It’s because he is powerless against God’s Word! 

The goal of Bible reading isn’t to get through it. It’s for the Bible to get through us. This distinction often boils down to our ability to focus and fight to meditate (think deeply about for an extended period of time) on Scripture. Meditation doesn’t have to be 30 minutes. It can actually be done at any point throughout our day. This is where memorization comes in. On Sunday, January 25, I outlined 7 reasons to memorize Scripture. It would be helpful to review those ideas. Once you do, here are the specifics on how to get started in the method I was taught.

Let’s say you will begin with Matthew 5:17-21 (as was proposed to the whole church on 1/25/15). You’re now ready to get started on Monday, January 26. 

Monday 1/26: 

1. Read Matthew 5:17 10 times from your Bible. Don’t try to quote it, just read it 10 times from your Bible so that the words get imprinted into your mind as you go.

2. Quote it 3 times. I guarantee you will be able to do so if you truly focus and read it 10 times. You will also forget it as the day goes on, and that’s ok. You’re going to review again tomorrow.

Tuesday 1/27 and Wednesday 1/28:

Repeat the two steps above.

Thursday 1/29:

Try to recite Matthew 5:17 by memory 10 times. If you can’t get it, glance at your Bible.

Repeat this process Friday through Sunday. Take the card the church provided or make an index card of the verse and stick it in your pocket. You can also put it on your phone using your Notes app or some other means, ensuring you’ll have easy access if you need it.

Monday 2/2:

1. Recite Matthew 5:17 from memory 1 time.

2. Repeat the process from last week with Matthew 5:18, remembering to review 5:17 each day just 1 time.

You will repeat this process with all the verses, and then move on to another passage once you get to 10 verses. Each week, if the process continues, you’ll take out one verse and add a new one, which you’ll focus on throughout that week. After 10 weeks, you will have these verses available in your memory to fight against sin and temptation and to use to minister to others. It will be helpful to review them all once a month or maybe once a quarter.

I realize this process seems tedious. That’s why Paul told Timothy to train himself for godliness. Anything worth doing is worth working hard on. And, Scripture memory is worth it.  You’ll find so much joy in the process as you do!

Ben ShounComment