When Lackluster Looms

[caption id="attachment_14" align="alignright" width="209"]Article by Laura Laura Raborn[/caption]

“A thing worth doing is worth doing well.” Since you read this blog, I have a hunch you agree Scripture memorization is “worth doing.” But the part about doing it “well” – now that stings a little. Sure, some days we have lots of focus and some weeks we make great systematic progress. Then there are the other days. You know, the “not that verse again” review session, the “don’t care about that” new verse, and the “half-hearted and good-enough” attitude. If you’ve been there, read on.

Thoroughness, accuracy, review, assimilation, concentration—elements of high quality memorization—sound like work. And they are. Good news, there are some tips below. But hold it just a minute please, practical skim-readers! Consider why long-term, deep-down memorization matters.

When lured by sin, would you falter in reciting: “. . . God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond . . . .” What’s next?

When witnessing, would you stall here: “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and . . . .” What is the rest?

When pondering circumstances, would you stumble over this: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD . . . .” What?

When imprisoned for your faith, would you cry: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for . . . .” What did Jesus say?

The Bible’s Author gave us His Word without error, including all we need to be “thoroughly equipped for every good work” (Psa. 19:7; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). It seems fitting to be diligently accurate in memorizing what He has perfectly prepared.

Remember also our Lord’s whole-hearted sacrifice. It was not going through the motions, incomplete, or close-enough. Let’s respond with whole-hearted remembrance of His words!

Practical tips as promised:

1) Emphasize, EMPHASIZE When repeating a phrase out loud, stress a different word each time. From John 2:2, “WHATEVER He says to you, do it.” “Whatever HE says to you, do it.” “Whatever He SAYS to you, do it.” Etc. This is great for meditation as you notice each word’s distinct contribution to the verse’s meaning.

2) Visit Grammar and Word Choice Zoom in from the big picture and take time to notice structure and specifics. What’s the verb? Is it plural? Did the verse start with “for” or “and”? What title is used for Christ? How many items in a list? Noticing these things is especially important if you are memorizing similar verses. Sometimes I like to count the number of words in a phrase. It helps me check myself later if I don’t have a Bible/memory book/app handy.

3) Make Recitations Count This sounds like a no-brainer, but do we pay enough attention to corrections? If your live hearer or technological tool (memverse.com, scripturetyper.com, RememberMe) alerted you to an error, give that spot extra time later. Revisit the sections you struggled with. You may not have time right then; that’s ok. Just be sure to make time to solidify the trouble spots you now know about. Like weeds, quotation mistakes are best pulled early. Since “practice makes permanent,” aim for accuracy from the start – before neglected weeds take deeper root.

At this point, I admit feeling like the pot calling the kettle black. I’ve done a lot of heartless memory work. But remember the Prodigal Son? God welcomes those who return to Him. So, I’m asking the Lord to revive me—and you—so that this memory work worth doing, will be done well by hearts that love Him well.

References quoted in list above: 1 Cor. 10:13, Rom. 10:9, Prov. 16:9, and Matt. 5:10.


  • Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Laura! I especially appreciate your recommendation to emphasize each word of a verse.
  • Been requested to share a short message next week to a group of friends who meet online weekly for encouragement, fellowship, and prayer. What the Lord laid upon my heart to do is encourage them to seriously get into the practice of memorizing Scripture. So I'm browsing the blogs on this site hoping to gather material to incorporate into my brief devotional talk. This particular one, though, is something I myself needed. It truly blessed my soul and I thank God I read it. I am inspired to keep the standard high!

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