These fifteen simple tips will help you memorize the parts of the Bible that matter to you the most.
#1 Choose a verse you may already know
Memorizing Scripture is a wonderful way to keep the Word of God close to you. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” It is a good habit to keep reading the Word consistently, but memorizing can help you to better remember God’s promises in good or bad times.
An excellent place to start would be to memorize a verse you may already know, or find a verse that you already know a certain phrase from. This is an easy way to start since you may have a verse mostly memorized; simply go to the reference and memorize the full verse so you have the full Word of God at the ready.
#2 Use the right translation and stick with it
Some translations are harder to memorize than others; some may be paraphrased and not a full translation. Your choice of translation will also have to do with personal preference. You might try memorizing Scripture from the translation your pastor or church uses.
In order to help you keep memorizing Scripture, choose one translation and stick with it. You can and should read from a variety of translations to uncover the richness of the text, but memorizing from only one translation can greatly help you.
#3 Start small, then work in stages
Don’t assume that you can memorize an entire book of the Bible in one go. Choose one chapter or a short psalm. If that’s too difficult at first, start with just one verse (John 3:16 is an excellent starting place).
Once you have a few individual verses memorized, expand to slightly longer passages – no more than a few verses at a time. Keep going and growing until you can remember longer passages on command.
#4 Pray through scripture
An excellent way to help you memorize Scripture is simply to pray it. By praying Scripture, we mean taking a passage of Scripture and incorporate that language into your prayers. This practice is further outlined in Donald Whitney’s book Praying the Bible.
Start with a short psalm, and use each verse as a guide for your thoughts and petitions as you pray. Expand on what is written, and apply it to your unique circumstances or the state of your heart. As you continue in this practice, familiar passages will return to your memory as you pray them over and over.
#5 Use the reference
Memorizing Scripture is always a good idea; it’s an even better idea to know where it comes from. Even if you only memorize a short passage, memorize the book, chapter, and verse along with it. This will help you return to the full passage and read over it to understand the context. You can also direct others to this verse and help them with their own memorization of Scripture.
#6 Write it down
There are many different methods of learning and an equally infinite number of techniques for memorizing information. You can apply many of these techniques to memorize the Bible.
There is an abundance of Bible journals available, with open space on each page for you to jot down notes or capture thoughts that stand out to you. Or you can simply get a pen and paper, and copy a passage word for word. You’d be surprised how writing a verse down – not just typing, but writing – can help you remember the Bible later.
#7 Listen as well as read
Audio Bibles are another good memorization tool. As with our earlier note, if you are listening to help you commit it to memory you should choose the proper translation. But sometimes, hearing Scripture read aloud is a better way to memorize it.
You can find free online audio Bibles, or you can even record yourself and play it back later.
#8 Say it out loud
If you can find some time alone, speaking Scripture out loud is an excellent memorization technique. Read the words on the page out loud, and repeat it several times. If you are attempting to memorize a longer passage, take it verse by verse and only add another verse when you can successfully repeat the current one out loud a few times without looking at it. Before long, you can memorize whole chapters at a time.
#9 Keep it in front of you at all times
Psalm 1:2 says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.” If you want to keep the Bible fresh in your memory and continually add to what you have memorized, remain faithful in reading it daily. Whether it’s morning or evening, an hour or only five minutes, make time in your day to pick up the Bible and read it, setting aside some of that time to committing the Bible to memory.
#10 Use music, mnemonics, or another memory aid
There are lots of other memory aids that can help you store up Scripture in your heart.
Listening to Christian music is a good way to start memorizing the Bible. Christian songs by definition have their roots in the Bible, and many will quote Scripture word for word in their lyrics. It’s important to search for the chapter-and-verse passage when you find a song you want to commit to memory so that you can go back to the actual verse to memorize; but your favorite song can become your favorite Bible verse.
You can also use mnemonics or another memory aid. Assigning the first word of each verse with another correlating word, turning a passage into its own song, or using rhythmic pronunciation can help as well. If that doesn’t work, feel free to experiment and come up with your own method of committing verses to memory.
#11 Study a given passage in great detail
If you’re up for some additional reading and want to memorize a longer passage at once, you can study up on it. Find a trusted Bible commentary and dig into the deeper meanings behind the original languages; or explore the characters depicted in the passage. For example, memorizing the words of Jesus can be easier if you have a better understanding of the rest of His nature and teachings.
Couple this with other the other memory techniques described above, and you can have a richer appreciation for the Bible and a more valuable treasured memory.
#12 Try another language
If your native language is not English, simply choose another translation. Scholars, publishers, and mission groups have translated the Bible into hundreds of languages for this very purpose. If you find that you comprehend material better when it is in your chosen language, start with that translation of Scripture.
This tip also has wonderful applications if you are about to enter the mission field. Most shorter mission trips will work with a translator, but it can be more meaningful with those you are ministering to if you can repeat certain key verses in their native language. If you are prepared to commit to a more permanent mission field, choose their translation and learn the Bible as you learn their language to be a more effective gospel witness.
#13 Focus on what you are already learning in church
Consider paying closer attention to what your pastor preaches on Sundays, or what your small group covers during the week. It can be very easy to listen to a sermon and even take notes, then completely forget everything come Monday morning.
Many pastors will craft a sermon series that unpack an extended passage or book of the Bible over several weeks or months. You may not have to memorize an entire book of the Bible all at once, but you can pull out the verses used as the key points of the lesson and memorize them each week.
#14 Work with a partner
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him – a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Use your accountability partner or a trusted friend as a guide and partner in memorizing Scripture. Agree on a passage to memorize, work on it separately, then check in with each other to see how the other is doing and hold them accountable. You can encourage each other to keep pressing on, and it can be comforting to know that you are both saving up Scripture together.
#15 Practice, practice, practice – keep at it!
If at first you don’t succeed, don’t set the Bible back on the shelf and leave it there forever. Keep at it: memorizing Scripture will take time and repetition. Even with a photographic memory, it will still take time to successfully memorize anything, and the Bible is no exception.
If you have memorized one verse one week, make it two verses next week. If you memorize part of a chapter, consider adding the rest of the chapter to it. Be patient with yourself, but put forth your best effort.
And through it all, remember that it is the precious Word of God, and is worthy of our time and attention.
Here are some additional unique ways to memorize scripture.
5 Simple Tools to Memorize Scripture
The Easiest Way to Memorize Scripture
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.