Believe it or not, our brains have an almost unlimited capacity for remembering things. Research by Paul Reber, professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, shows that our memory storage capacity is about 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes).
This means that, theoretically, humans can memorize large portions of the Bible (if not the whole thing). Famed hymn writer Fanny Crosby could effortlessly recite the Pentateuch, the Gospels, most of the Psalms, and Song of Songs. In fact, she worked at memorizing five chapters a week!
For the Spirit to use the Bible to transform us, we need to know what’s in it. And memorization is an incredible way to make us intimately familiar with Scripture. Making memorization a discipline can have a life-changing impact on our spiritual maturity.
Here are 10 Tips for Committing Scripture to Memory:
1. Start small and memorize incrementally
As the old saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, of course.” It’s the same thing for memorizing passages of Scripture. If you want to memorize a chapter of Ephesians, start with two verses. When you have those down, add two more. You’ll have the chapter memorized in no time!
2. Say it out loud
Nothing helps you memorize like recitation. Throughout the day, recite the verses you’re memorizing to yourself. Sometime during the week, take a walk and recite longer sections you’ve memorized to keep them fresh in your mind.
3. Write it down
Keep a notebook and handwrite verses multiple times. Handwriting helps to cement things in your mind. Alternatively, you can also open up a Word or Google document and type out what you’re memorizing, too.
4. Draw it
If you’re an artistic Bible journaler, you already know how conceptualizing and drawing out a verse can help you understand and internalize it. The time you invest in drawing, shading, and coloring a verse is time spent meditating on it.
5. Listen to it
Hearing things repeatedly can aid memorization. Listen to recordings of the Bible, or create your own recordings of verses you’ve memorized and listen to them regularly.
6. Take it with you
Some people swear by the Post-It Note® method. Write the verses you’re memorizing on notes, and put them up everywhere: your bathroom, fridge, car, desk, and computer monitor. You could even make it the background on your phone!
7. Use flashcards
Students have used flashcards for memorization for decades—because they work. Create some of your own with the verse numbers on one side and the actual verses on the other. You can use these to quiz yourself, or invite someone to help you.
8. Get a memory partner
Memorization takes a lot of work, and it can be hard to stick to it without discipline. Having someone else memorizing with you will provide the motivation you need to see it through. It’s helpful to work alongside someone else. Try practicing as if you were running lines for a play.
9. Use a Bible memory app
There are a lot of mobile memory apps that can help you set and meet memory goals.
For instance, check out:
● Bible Memory: Scripture Typer which helps you memorize Bible verses by focusing on three areas: audio, visual, and touch memory.
● Bible Memory: BibleMe helps with Bible memory by utilizing a learn and test method.
Since you probably have your phone on you at all times, use it as a tool to get Scripture into your heart.
10. Translate the verse into another language
If you’re bilingual, translating verses from the language you’re memorizing into another language can be a fun way to become more familiar with what you’re memorizing. And the more acquainted you are with a passage, the easier it is to remember.
Remember: When you memorize Scripture, you’ll be tempted to use it to impress others. Fight that temptation. You’re not memorizing the Bible as a parlor trick to impress other Christians, you’re doing it so that Scripture can transform you from the inside out.