A Beginner's Guide to Memorizing Scripture

"And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." (1 Corinthians 9:25)

[caption id="attachment_14" align="alignright" width="209"]Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch[/caption]

One of the most common obstacles in the way of potential memorizers seems to be a general uncertainty of where to begin. Aside from trying to pick just a few of the Bible's 31,102 verses to start with, many people are intimidated by the perceived complexity of an effective memory routine. It's only natural to wonder how many verses you should learn in your first week, or how often you should review them after that, but the first and most important step is simply deciding to begin. Fine-tuning the practical aspects of your commitment is an ongoing process that may never be fully complete.

Just as we've each been gifted with a unique personality, it has been my observation that successful Scripture memory routines vary greatly from person to person. This means what works for me may not work for you, and vice-versa. There are, however, three main learning styles that most people rely on to a certain extent:

    • Visual Most visual learners greatly benefit from the use of flashcards, writing down Scriptures, or any other method that utilizes the written word. Consequently, avoiding visual distractions during memorization is often just as important.
    • Auditory Auditory learners depend primarily on sound when memorizing, making audio Bibles and Scripture songs especially valuable. Reading memory verses aloud and reciting them dramatically is usually beneficial, as is limiting any exposure to background noise.
  • Kinesthetic Kinesthetic learners generally prefer hands-on education, which is not necessarily incompatible with Scripture memory. The best resource I've found for this type of memorization is an online translation of the Bible in American Sign Language (ASL), graciously provided free of charge by Bible.is. In addition to acting them out, associating any type of physical activity - even exercise - with your memory verses can be helpful.
If you're not exactly sure what type of learner you are, spend a few weeks experimenting with different methods and stick with whichever one is most effective. It may be immediately apparent that you fall exclusively into one of the above categories or even a combination of all three. Memorizing Scripture will never come effortlessly, but it's made much easier once your determination to memorize no matter what leads to a realization that it does become less difficult with time.


  • I remember in (Christian) high school being required to memorize Scripture in order to be eligible to play sports. The Scripture I memorized then has been invaluable to me, even today.
    • Thanks for sharing this, Craig. Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Seminary once made the statement that if it were his decision, every student graduating from Dallas Theological Seminary would be required to learn one thousand verses word perfect before they graduated.
  • Good words Dakota! As in so many other areas of life, we have to avoid paralysis by analysis and, as you suggest, do the hard part by actually getting started with memorizing. Thanks for your encouragement to that end! 2 Tim. 2:15

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