Why and How I Memorize Scripture

For years I told myself I was memorizing Scripture. I had all of the plans, notecards, and passages picked out, but little resolve to do the work of Scripture memory.

Then, anxiety rocked my otherwise calm lifeboat and I didn’t just want to memorize Scripture. I needed to do it.

I’d wake up nervous, go throughout my day with fearful thoughts, and head to bed unable to fall asleep with a never-quiet mind. I didn’t want to live that way. But sometimes the mind makes up a reality of its own.

I remember sitting on my couch with an open Bible in my lap, reading through some Psalms on a quiet, dark morning.

“I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be on my lips…” Psalm 34:1

How could I, anxious and fearful me, bless the Lord at all times?

The answer came as a gentle nudge: think on the things of the Lord more than the things of the world. And what better way is there to think on the things of the Lord than by memorizing Truth?

I wrote out several verses and began reciting them throughout my day. I’d carry those handwritten verses with me on notecards and pull them out when I was feeling afraid, overwhelmed, or anxious. I learned foundational promises of God in those early months of devoted Scripture memory.

Then, the Lord placed it in my heart to memorize longer portions of Scripture – whole chapters of the Word. This is my current journey. It is not always fast. It is definitely not easy. And yet, as I bury the truths and promises of God into my weary soul, the hard work falls to the side.

How can you memorize longer portions of Scriptures with the intent to remember them forever?

Here are some thoughts:

1. Know the context of the Scripture.

If you are memorizing a book of the Bible, discover the author, audience, and purpose of the book.

Or, if you are memorizing a large passage of Scripture, read the chapters surrounding the verses you are studying. What do the verses say about God and about you?

Knowing the context solidifies the truths of the passage in your mind, which will help you remember the verses much easier.


2. Start slowly.

Memorizing Scripture is not a race, but is a journey. Starting small is the best way to guarantee long-term success.

Even if your goal is to memorize a long portion of Scripture, it is easiest to do so verse by verse. Choose one verse every two or three days, or if you find that you can move a bit faster, one verse each day.


3. Recite often.

This is the key to long-form memorization. If you memorize a Psalm in January, you will need to continue reciting that Psalm for the rest of the year – at least once every other week.

Keep a list of passages you have memorized and periodically work your way through the list, reciting the passage and the reference.

Maybe you’re saying, “Okay, this all sounds good. I can study the context, start small, and recite often. But how do I actually get to memorizing every day?”

I’m sharing my favorite way to memorize Scripture over at the Arabah Joy blog today. Walk with me?


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5 thoughts on “Why and How I Memorize Scripture

  1. Oh Alison! I hope you can feel God using you to speak to my anxious heart! I have been dealing with anxiety and panic attacks the last few weeks. I stumbled upon your blog while desperately searching on line for anything that could help me cope. Your sweet prayers on anxiety have been an incredible blessing to me, and I am feeling light years better. Thank you for being an obedient and faithful servant <3

  2. Hi, Alison
    Your blog seems very interesting, m already inspired by your work.
    I’m prayerfully joining​ with you all that I will learn a lot about mysterious God.
    God bless

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