A Scatterbrain’s Guide to Memorizing Scripture

scatterbrainLet me tell you something that everyone else knows about me: I am a forgetful person. My grandma would always say, “You would lose your head if it weren’t attached to you.” She is right. I can just imagine my head laying somewhere on a shelf in Target right next to the sunglasses I lost 10 years ago. However, I did figure out how to stop losing my sunglasses. I attached them to my head. Actually they’re attached to my neck by a band, but I have yet to lose my pricey shades since. Good thing too, because my husband vowed he would never buy me another pair of expensive sunglasses. He knows my history. (My dearest & generous aunt gave me my current ones in case you mistook me for someone with wealth.)

Now that you can imagine what kind of flighty, absent-minded gal I might be, you would also benefit to know that I love to memorize Scripture. I admit it comes easy for me. But the rewards are worth the effort also. The verses I memorize can be:  meditated on while waiting in a long check-out line, recited in my prayers, help encourage/instruct someone else in conversation, ward off temptation, edify my spirit, and draw me closer to God.

As I said earlier, I don’t have any wealth. But I can share with you ways to help Scripture stick if you struggle with memorizing Scripture.

  1. Write it down on a note card. The act of writing it down incorporates both your visual and kinetic abilities. Things tend to stick better if you are using more than one of your senses to help you remember. (More on that later.) A note card is preferred because it is small, durable, and portable. I can take it with me wherever I go to look at and practice. Sticky notes are too flimsy and can be easily  lost once they lose their stick. The last verse I just memorized was placed on the window sill over my kitchen sink. I would practice it while doing my dishes.
  2. Repetition. I repeat aloud small chunks at a time over and over again until I can recite it without looking at my note card. After I can recite the first chunk of words or phrases, I move on to the next chunk. I repeat this process until the entire verse can be read at once without peeking. Then I repeat the verse in its entirety 3 or 4 more times. Then I work on the Scripture reference in the same way. I found that it’s helpful to memorize the reference in case you want to go look it up again in its context one day. Notice the hearing sense is used in this step to help solidify the verse in your brain.
  3. Make correlations. Remembering the reference can be more difficult, because the numbers don’t have an impact like words do. I look for patterns or similarities in numbers. For example, I recently memorized Proverbs 3:13-18. The 3 and the 13 were easy to remember, because they both have the number 3. Then I looked at 13-18. 18-13= 5. So whenever I would recite the reference I would just add 5 to my 13. The only numbers I had to memorize were 3 and 5. I used correlations to come up with the rest.
  4. Visualize the verse. When I memorized Psalm 23, I visualized the still waters, green pastures, and valley of death. I played out David having oil poured over his head like a movie in my mind. I saw a picture of a cup overflowing and spilling out.
  5. Connect your verse to real life. When I memorized Proverbs 3:13-18, I connected myself wanting an iPad versus getting wisdom. It says, “Nothing you desire compares with her.” (vs. 15) I was really desiring an iPad for Christmas but didn’t get one. (Remember that lack of wealth part?) That verse easily stuck in my mind, because I had a strong connection to it. It also says, “Her revenue is better than gold.” (vs. 14) Since gold is at an all-time high these days, this one was also an easy connection.
  6. Revisit. Newer verses are revisited more frequently than older ones. Older verses still get revisited just not as often. If I observe that I am a little rusty on an old one, I will go through step 2 until I feel confident with it again.

Let me know how the steps worked for you. I will write another post in the future on how to help kids memorize Scripture also.

Do you have something to add to my list?  I would love to hear from you.


2 thoughts on “A Scatterbrain’s Guide to Memorizing Scripture

  1. Pingback: Arming Our Kids with Scripture not Guns « Growing Faith

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