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6 Tips for Memorizing Scripture

May 1, 2012

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Earlier today, I read a helpful little booklet written by Susan Heck entitled A Call to Scripture Memory. In this 21-page booklet from Focus Publishing, the author answers five questions:

  • Who should memorize Scripture?
  • Why should we memorize Scripture?
  • What Scripture should we memorize?
  • When should we memorize Scripture?
  • How do we learn to memorize Scripture?

She then ends the booklet with these 6 simple tips:

  1. Work on memorizing when you are mentally alert and free of distractions.
  2. Stick to the same Bible translation until you master the passage.
  3. If you are having trouble with a certain verse of passage, put it to music.
  4. Another helpful tip is to try to teach the verses to your children or to other children.
  5. Remember you are not just memorizing words, but God’s words!
  6. Lastly, if you find yourself leaving out portions or phrases, ask yourself, “What logically would come next here?”

The following portion, containing illustrations from church history, was especially convicting to me.

Even as the New Testament church progressed, according to church history, many Christians cherished God’s Word much more than we do, and would memorize great portions of it. Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), an early Christian apologist devoted his days and nights to Bible reading, so much so that he even memorized much of its punctuation. Theodosius the Younger (347-395 A.D.), a Roman emperor known for making Christianity the state religion during his reign of the Roman Empire, could repeat any part of Scripture exactly. Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556 A.D.), a leader of the English Reformation could repeat the entire New Testament from memory. Theodore Beza (1519-1605 A.D.), a French theologian who played an important role in the early Reformation could repeat all of Paul’s letters in Greek at age 80. Finally, Frances Havergal who wrote my favorite hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” memorized the entire New Testament, the Psalms, and Isaiah, in her teenage years, and in her later years she memorized the Minor Prophets. She died at the age of 43, and had already committed 12, 935 verses to memory.

NOTE: This article originally appeared on Counseling One Another and is used with permission.