When I was a small child attending Sunday School, there was always a challenge to memorize Bible verses. A white King James Version Award Bible with Holy Bible imprinted with gold on the cover was my reward for memorizing and reciting several Bible verses. I was 5 years old.
I still have that Bible.
During Vacation Bible School every summer, one of my favorite games was the Sword Drill. Everyone would raise their Bible high in the air (and every child had a Bible). A Scripture address would be read. Once the leader would say, “Charge!” it was a race to see who could find the verse first and stand to read it. It was a fabulous tool for us kids to learn the books of the Bible.
I can still recite the Old and New Testament books in order by memory.
As a teen, I attended a Christian high school. Large chunks of Scripture were assigned each month. Every morning, our class would read aloud the passage together, and by the end of the month, we were to recite it verbatim to our teacher for a grade.
I remember most of those Scripture passages.
While attending a Christian college for two years, we memorized Scripture passages for Old Testament and New Testament Survey classes. We sang Bible verses as worship songs in our small group every evening.
I haven’t forgotten what I learned.
Why is it important to memorize Scripture?
1. First, because God tells us to.
Colossians 3:16 says: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” This happens when we meditate on His precepts and not forget His Word. (Psalm 119:15-16 NKJV). Jesus set the example for us by quoting Scripture when teaching.
2. It will transform us.
Scripture will renew our minds and help us to “test and approve what God’s will is – his good and pleasing will” (Romans 12:2 NIV). Scripture has the supernatural power to mold us into Christ-likeness, giving us the same mindset as Jesus. (Philippians 2:5 NIV)
3. It will help us live in obedience.
Scripture hidden in our hearts will keep us on the right path, living according to His Word. (Psalm 119:9-11 NIV)
4. It is vital in our fight with the enemy.
The Word of God is the only offensivefighting weapon we are equipped with (Eph. 6:17). That is because God’s Word is “living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12) and “God-breathed, useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV) Jesus used the power of God’s Word when Satan tried to tempt Him in the wilderness. (Matthew 4:1-11)
5. We can use it to encourage and give others hope.
Romans 15:4 says that “through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.” Our words are always supposed to be helpful for building others up according to their needs. (Ephesians 4:29)
6. Finally, it will help us as we communicate the Gospel.
Paul instructs us that we are to “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV). We are to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (I Peter 3:15 NIV)
All that memorization didn’t seem necessary to me at the time. However, when going through tough times, a verse I memorized in the past popped into my mind. When I needed encouragement, it became a habit to sing one of the songs I learned in my college small group.
It appears that in many churches today, children are introduced to the Bible, but memorization doesn’t seem to be a vital part of teaching. Without having this strong attachment to Scripture, it is no wonder that many young people are leaving the church.
Is there an easy way to memorize Scripture?
Everyone learns differently. This shouldn’t be a daunting task but something enjoyable to do! Here are some tips for memorizing Scripture – for adults and kids:
- Memorize the Word of God in community. If you are in a small group through your church, use that opportunity to memorize Scripture together.
- Memorize together as a family. When memorizing Scripture as a family, your children will see the importance of the example you set for them.
- Use note cards. Write out each verse(s) and keep them handy to look over during the day.
- Read Scripture out loud or write it down. Sometimes reading the passage aloud a few times a day or writing it out by hand helps with memorization. Doing both helps with two learning styles: visual and auditory. As a family, read it together every night before bed.
- Use it in song. There are many praise songs and children’s songs that teach Scripture! Once the song gets stuck in your head, so will the lyrics. Search for YouTube videos (many include lyrics) or try other websites like True Vine Music.
- Know the context of the verse. Knowing the what, where, when, how, and why of a passage will add value because you will also know how to apply it. Don’t forget to memorize the reference too!
- Pray for God to help you. He is the One Who wants Scripture to dwell within us, so He will answer your prayer for help!