Scripture Memorization

Dallas Willard wrote, “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth. That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization” (“Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person” in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2, Spring, 2001, p. 7).

Why memorize Scripture?


  1. Growing in Christ-likeness

    • If we want to grow in Christlikeness, we must see Him. Memorizing Scripture helps us to see Jesus clearly. The Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord (1 Samuel 3:21) 

  2. Daily Triumph over Satan and Sin

    • When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he recited Scripture from memory (Matthew 4:1-11)

    • When tempted by sin, we call to mind the word of Scripture. The beauty of the word of God - or the sword of the Spirit - is superior to what sin offers. (Psalm 119:9,11; Romans 8:13; Ephesians 6:17)

  3. Encouraging others

    • We can bless others when God speaks through us with His Word. (Proverbs 25:11). We don’t always have our Bible handy and at the ready. It’s powerful when God brings His Word to our minds and mouths to bless others.

  4. Sharing the Gospel

    • Again…we don’t always have our Bibles on hand. But we must always be prepared to share the Gospel. When we can share actual verses from the Bible, they can witness to the grace of God and can pierce the heart of the non-believer. We can be ready in season and out of session by memorizing a verse or two from each part of the gospel - creation, the fall/rebellion, the promises of God, redemption, and restoration. 

  5. Communion with God

    • We connect with God by enjoying and meditating on His Word. Memorizing Scripture helps us to relate to and connect with God always - not just when we have our Bibles open.

Scripture Memorization Strategies


Choose a Translation: Consistency in the Bible translation you use will help with memorization. Select a Bible translation that you find easy to understand and read. 

Start Small: Begin with shorter verses (a single verse or two) before progressing to longer passages of Scripture. This will build confidence! 

Repetition: Repetition is key to memorization. Read the verse multiple times throughout the day. Write it down, recite it out loud, and review it frequently. Use multiple senses - listen to it, read it, and write it down. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition! 

Break it Down: Divide longer passages into smaller sections. Memorize each section individually before combining them.

Use Mnemonics: Create mnemonic devices to help remember the order of words or phrases. Acronyms, rhymes, or associating words with images can be particularly useful.

  • To create mnemonics, identify the key words/phrases in the verse that are essential to it’s meaning. Form an acronym or a short, memorable phrase using the key words. Associate each part of the mnemonic with an image or story to make it memorable.  

  • Example: 1 John 3:16

    • Mnemonic: “Great love, One Savior, Eternal Life”

      • Great: God

      • Love: so loved

      • One: his one and only Son

      • Savior: whoever believes in him

      • Eternal: have eternal life

Write it Out: Writing the verse by hand can reinforce memory. Try writing it multiple times, focusing on understanding the structure and key words.

Use Flashcards: Create flashcards with the verse on one side and the reference on the other. Quiz yourself regularly or have someone else quiz you.

Understand the Context: Understanding the context and meaning of the verse can make it easier to remember. Study the surrounding passages and explore commentaries to gain deeper insights.

Daily Review: Set aside a specific time each day for scripture memorization and review previously memorized verses. Consistency is just as crucial as repetition for long-term retention.

Example Plan for Memorizing a Verse


Day 1: Read the verse aloud 10 times, write it out 5 times.

Day 2: Recite the verse from memory 5 times in the morning and 5 times in the evening.

Day 3: Write the verse from memory, check for accuracy, and correct any mistakes.

Day 4-7: Review the verse daily, reciting it multiple times and checking for accuracy.