How to Memorize Scripture

Navigators value Scripture memorization as an important tool for spiritual growth. But many people find it challenging to do. If you struggle with memorization, you’ll find these tips for hiding God’s Word in your heart and recalling it to mind really helpful.

From its beginnings, The Navigators has encouraged Bible memorization as an important tool for spiritual growth. The ministry has developed packets of verse cards to enable people to learn verses that will help them share their faith and become more like Christ. These cards are grouped by subject or “topic” and comprise what we call the Topical Memory System. This article references these topics in its suggestions for effective memorization. Find out more on the Topical Memory System.

As you start to memorize a verse…

  • Read in your Bible the context of each verse you memorize.
  • Try to gain a clear understanding of what each verse actually means. You may want to read the verse in other Bible translations or paraphrases or perhaps consult a commentary-after you’ve done your personal study!
  • Read the verse through several times thoughtfully, aloud or in a whisper. This will help you grasp the verse as a whole. Each time you read it, say the topic, reference, verse, and then the reference again.
  • Discuss the verse with God in prayer, and continue to seek His help for success in Scripture memory.

While you are memorizing the verse…

  • Work on saying the verse aloud as much as possible.
  • Learn the topic and reference first.
  • After learning the topic and reference, learn the first phrase of the verse. Once you have learned the topic, reference, and the first phrase and have repeated them several times, continue adding more phrases after you can quote correctly what you have already learned.
  • Think about how the verse applies to you and your daily circumstances.
  • Always include the topic and reference as part of the verse as you learn and review it.

After you can quote correctly the topic, reference, verse, and reference again…

  • Writing the verse out can be helpful. This deepens the impression in your mind.
  • Find a friend to check you on the verse. Better yet, memorize together!
  • Review the verse immediately after learning it, and repeat it frequently in the next few days. This is crucial for fixing the verse firmly in your mind because of the tendency to forget something recently learned.
  • Review! Review! Review! Repetition is the best way to engrave the verses on your memory.