How to Memorize Scripture

If you or a friend are inspired to memorize Scripture but aren’t sure where to start, this resource is the perfect launching point to begin “hiding God’s Word in your heart” (Psalm 119:11). The Topical Memory System (TMS) is a simple, easy-to-use system for memorizing key Bible verses that point to essential gospel truths.

A Simple, Easy Bible Memory System

The Topical Memory System (TMS) is a simple, easy-to-use system for memorizing key Bible verses that point to essential gospel truths.

If you or a friend are inspired to memorize Scripture but aren’t sure where to start, this resource is the perfect launching point to begin “hiding God’s Word in your heart” (Psalm 119:11).

We pray this new journey into Scripture also helps you abide in–or stay deeply rooted in-Christ, which Jesus tells us is the key to having Kingdom impact in this world (John 15:5).

A Proven Approach

Memorizing Scripture is as an excellent strategy for spiritual growth. It allows you to have gospel truths ready at all times, whether your day brings you temptation, heartache or a friend in need of encouragement. Many thousands of people have shared that this system was what finally worked for them after years of trying other approaches.

4 Steps to Memorizing More Scripture

Step 1: Pick an area of gospel truth you’re motivated to understand more deeply

Use this topic and verse outline as a guide. It has been curated by The Navigators based on experience helping people of all ages grow in Christ since the 1930s. Keep a picture of this list on your phone!

Step 2: Dig into the context

  • Find the verse in your Bible and read the paragraph before and after it.

  • Use this context to gain a clear understanding of what the verse means. You may want to read the verse in other Bible translations or consult a commentary.

  • 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 out loud.

  • Discuss the verse with God in prayer, and ask for His help memorizing Scripture.

Step 3: Memorize in Bite-Sized Pieces

  • Memorize the topic and reference first.

  • Next, memorize only the first phrase of the verse. Once you can recite the topic, reference and first phrase from memory several times, continue to add each additional phrase, one by one.

  • Consider why each word was selected as you memorize it.

  • Think about ways the verse applies to you and your daily circumstances.

  • Writing the verse out can be helpful. This deepens its impression in your mind.

Step 4: Review with Friends

  • Review the verse immediately after learning it, incorporate it into your prayers, and repeat it frequently over subsequent days to others. This step is crucial for fixing the verse firmly in your mind because we tend to forget things recently learned.

  • Invite a friend to memorize with you! Set a time each week to check in and review verses. In just ten minutes you can give each other enough accountability to grow by leaps and bounds in your love for God and knowledge of His Word.

  • Review! Review! Review! Repetition is the best way to engrave the verses on your memory.

Living The New Life

Christ the Center 2 Corinthians 5:17 Galatians 2:20
Obedience to Christ Romans 12:1 John 14:21
The Word 2 Timothy 3:16 Joshua 1:8
Prayer John 15:7 Philippians 4:6-7
Fellowship Matthew 18:20 Hebrews 10:24-25
Witnessing Matthew 4:19 Romans 1:16

Proclaiming Christ

All Have Sinned Romans 3:23 Isaiah 53:6
Sin’s Penalty Romans 6:23 Hebrews 9:27
Christ Paid the Penalty Romans 5:8 1 Peter 3:18
Salvation is not by Works Ephesians 2:8-9 Titus 3:5
Must Receive Christ John 1:12 Revelation 3:20
Assurance of Salvation 1 John 5:13 John 5:24

Reliance On God’s Resources

His Spirit 1 Corinthians 3:16 1 Corinthians 2:12
His Strength Isaiah 41:10 Philippians 4:13
His Faithfulness Lamentations 3:22-23 Numbers 23:19
His Peace Isaiah 26:3 1 Peter 5:7
His Provision Romans 8:32 Philippians 4:19
His Help in Temptation Hebrews 2:18 Psalms 119:9-11

Being Christ’s Disciple

Put Christ First Matthew 6:33 Luke 9:23
Separate From the World 1 John 2:15 Romans 12:2
Be Steadfast 1 Corinthians 15:58 Hebrews 12:3
Serve Others Mark 10:45 2 Corinthians 4:5
Give Generously Proverbs 3:9-10 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
Develop World Vision Acts 1:8 Matthew 28:19-20

Growth In Christlikeness

Love John 13:34-35 1 John 3:18
Humility Philippians 2:3-4 1 Peter 5:5-6
Purity Ephesians 5:3 1 Peter 2:11
Honesty Leviticus 19:11 Acts 24:16
Faith Hebrews 11:6 Romans 4:20-21
Good Works Galatians 6:9-10 Matthew 5:16

You can order the complete TMS from our publisher NavPress (which includes a helpful guidebook, pocket-sized memory verse cards and a verse card holder) for yourself or as a gift for friends at navlink.org/tms. We also have another edition called TMS: Life Issues, found at navlink.org/tms-life