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  • 3 Obstacles to Memorizing Scripture

    Memorizing Scripture can seem like a daunting task. Many people feel like they are just too busy to memorize. Others don’t understand its importance, or they simply don't know how to get started. The good news is that these obstacles can be overcome!

    Here are three common obstacles to memorizing Scripture and tips to help you overcome them:

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  • 3 Tips for Memorizing Scripture

    If you’re anything like me, memorizing can be hard and sometimes frustrating. Sometimes it seems as if I almost have a verse memorized, and then the next day I feel like I’ve forgotten it and am right back where I started! Over the years, however, I have discovered several tips and tricks that have proven helpful in hiding God’s Word in my heart (Psa. 119:11). Here are three of them:

    1: Be Consistent
    A dedicated musician practices his instrument every day. The same should be true for memorizers of Scripture. It's important to devote time on a regular basis to your memory work. If you don’t, it will be much harder to internalize the Word, and you will spend more time trying to remember old verses than learning new ones.

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  • On your mark, get set, snooze?

    After a long week at work, few things sound better than sleeping in and enjoying a lazy Saturday. But imagine instead being awakened by the rude sound of your alarm clock. As you roll over and see the time -- 7:00 a.m. -- you groggily remember you were planning to exercise this morning.

    Your first instinct is to roll over and go back to sleep. But there's just one problem: you're supposed to meet your friend at the track by 8:00. Your lack of internal motivation to get up and exercise is suddenly overcome by external motivation and accountability. In simper terms, your desire to keep your word is stronger than your desire for more sleep. Continue reading

  • Read It!

    “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Rom. 15:4

    What is the best way to begin memorizing? Simple. READ IT, but don’t be lazy. Read your memory verse in context thoughtfully and slowly. If you are memorizing a portion of a larger work, I recommend that you read through the entire chapter (or story) on the first day. If you are using SMF books, I recommend that you read through all of the commentary on the first day. Consider day 1 to be your overview. You want to have a general idea of the verses and what they mean.

    Now, the repetition begins. Read your memory verses aloud five times emphasizing different words each time. Try to make a visual memory of what the words look like on the page, then close your eyes and try to "read" your verse in your "mind's eye." Our VerseLocker app never places more than eight words on each line. Ancient memorizers called this an “eye’s glance.” The essential brevity of each line allows you to retain the short series of words in your short-term memory. In psychology, this is called The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two. Short-term memory can only remember around seven things at a time. You should read your verses aloud as much as possible. Leveraging your sight and sound will help make a lasting memory. Retaining words better by saying them aloud is sometimes called the production effect. It is proven that memories created across multiple senses at one time tend to be recalled more accurately (i.e. sound and sight working together).

    If you are working with small children, or if you consider yourself to be young at heart, I recommend making a game of your recitations. Read it forcefully, read it softly, read it with an accent…you get the idea. What is learned with pleasure is learned full measure.

    I like to read through my verses while I am waiting in line or on my lunch break. These few extra minutes of “redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:16) give me opportunity to reinforce my short-term memory. However, these occasional readings do not qualify as reading thoughtfully and slowly. The bulk of my quality memory work usually happens either early morning or late evening when distractions are minimal. I prefer to read and memorize one line at a time. I will say the first line out loud three times, then try to say it without looking. If I succeed, then I move to line two and say it three times. Then I try to say line one and two together without looking, etc.

  • Should I memorize individual verses or whole chapters?

    “Should I memorize individual verses or whole chapters?” This is a question we frequently encounter at SMF, and our short answer is simply “yes.” Whether you’re memorizing a collection of verses on the topic of prayer or all 111 verses of the Sermon on the Mount, you’ll reap the vast benefits of having God’s word stored in your heart.

    As someone who has enjoyed both topical and passage-based memorization, neither approach seems clearly superior to me. As a new Christian learning to share my faith with others, I greatly benefited from memorizing select verses on salvation from across the New Testament. Years later, God used my memorization of Jonah to reveal just how much grace my sinful, Jonah-like heart needs each day. Continue reading

  • "I'm Stuck. Now What?"

    If you memorize Scripture, then you've probably experienced getting stuck. It's that cycle where you practice a verse, can't recite it correctly, practice more, and still can’t get it right. The discouragement may freeze your overall progress for weeks or forever.

    So, take a word of advice. Move on! Skip it for now. If you’ve spent a week or more on this verse or passage without success, I suggest a new plan:

    1) Acknowledge that this verse is tough for you. There's no use hiding it. Other verses were easy or medium difficulty. This one is hard. Take it to the Lord in prayer.

    2) Commit to extra review. You need it, so plan on it. Whenever you review, add a few minutes for this verse. You might take this opportunity to experiment with other ways to memorize. (See for ideas.)

    3) Start memorizing the next verse or any verse that looks like it will be easier. You’ll be encouraged by progress! If you are memorizing on a schedule, this ultimately means staying on schedule and coming back to that tough verse with smart review (i.e. extra time, effort, and creativity).

    We're talking about individual verses here, but keep in mind this may apply to a whole passage also. You may never be able to recite Jonah as fluently as passages known from childhood, and that’s okay. The important thing is that your heart continues to absorb God’s Word with every passing year.

  • Dodging Landmines

    Article by Laura Laura Lynch

    If you’re like me, landmines dot the field of memory verse review. Here are a few of the struggles I encounter as a memorizer--with suggestions for combat!

    The Aimless Must-Do

    “I need to review sometime somehow...and I will…sometime somehow….”

    Combat: Make a specific review plan, and get right to it. Any plan is better than no plan. First, make a list of the verses to review, then decide which days of the week you will review each verse, and finally determine a realistic time. Don’t get bogged down making the perfect system. Test-run your plan for a few weeks, then tweak as needed.

    I’m-So-Behind Despair

    “There are last summer’s memory verses and last month’s and the ones from Bible study and the Sunday school set and… I’m so far behind I won’t even try!”

    Combat: Pick a manageable number to start with; once you have a good routine, gradually add the rest in. You may find it helpful to make an initial time investment in organization. Would a notebook, verse cards, or app be most helpful to you? Again, don’t let the setup overrule the objective. Limit yourself to fifteen minutes in your initial setup time, then start reviewing. The remaining verses can be added little-by-little as you gain confidence and have the time. Reviewing some verses on day one is better than reviewing none.


    “That verse again? I’m so tired of saying it. Enough already!”

    Combat: Pray for fresh appreciation of God’s Word. “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psa. 119:18). “The word of God is living and powerful…” (Heb. 4:12). Read a commentary and/or discuss with Christian friends for fresh insights. Regular review, though it may seem unnecessary, will dramatically improve your recitations in the long run.

    The old Latin saying is true, Repetitio est mater studiorum--"Repetition is the mother of learning."

  • It's Time to Make Time

    Article by Laura Laura Lynch

    Is accurate word-for-word memorization worth the time? We can semi-learn, recite-and-run, and skip review altogether. But, "every word of God is pure…" (Prov. 30:5). Since God has preserved His Word without error, won’t we care to know it deeply and exactly? The keys to accuracy are thorough memory work in the beginning, correction of errors, and regular review. We’ll touch on these topics in future posts.

    But for today, there’s a ground-level matter to settle: TIME! Continue reading

  • 4 Excuses for Not Memorizing Scripture

    Princes persecute me without a cause,
    But my heart stands in awe of Your word.
    (Psalm 119:161)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    If the thought of memorizing Scripture makes you cringe, then you know how I felt six years ago when I was challenged to start memorizing myself. It took me about four seconds to come up with a list of reasons why Scripture memory just wasn’t for me. I was quite proud of my list of excuses:

    • “I have a bad memory.”
    • “I don’t have enough time.”
    • “Scripture memory might be commendable, but it’s probably not a requirement.”
    • “Plenty of good people I know have never memorized a Bible verse.”

    Despite my excuses, I decided to give Scripture memory a try for the next 40 days and see if it was worthwhile. More than 2,000 days later I’m still memorizing, and here’s what I’ve learned in the meantime:

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  • Correcting Recitations - Help Without Exasperation

    Article by Laura Laura Lynch

    We all make mistakes in reciting Scripture. “To err is human;” perhaps nowhere more than in reciting Scripture! But because "every word of God is pure" (Prov. 30:5), make it your aim to find and fix every error. Being confident of the exact wording will make quoting more pleasurable and sharing more comfortable. An attentive hearer who catches your mistakes will help you make great progress toward the goal of having your Scripture ready to deploy in every situation (2 Tim. 4:2). If your hearer also quotes to you, this will make it much easier for him/her to have mercy on your miscues. Consider the two types of correction below:

    1) Instant Correction: Your hearer alerts you instantly, as soon as a mistake is made in your recitation. He/she can correct you with "Say that part again" or "Go back to the part where it says this.” Or, a hearer can simply say "again" at the exact point of error. Instant feedback prevents errors from lodging in the mind. Experience proves that errors allowed a foothold soon become permanent residents very difficult to evict! On the other hand, instant feedback can derail your train of thought.

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