How to Learn Bible Verses

How to Learn Bible Verses
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Did the people of 2,000 years ago have better memories? When Jesus preached, did his disciples commit his words to memory? It seems very unlikely that they would have made notes. So, has the shift from an oral tradition to a written tradition reduced our capacity to remember? And now that we have portable recording technology, is our capacity for memorization reduced still further? I think that the answer to those questions is a definite yes, which is why so many of us struggle to learn Bible verses. So, should we bother? We can always use a search engine to find the verse we’re after. Before we look at the how, perhaps we’d better remind ourselves about the why.

Why learning Bible verses is so important

‘These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home or walk along the road, when you lie down or when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your gates.’ Deuteronomy 6:6-9

As well as giving some great tips about memorization, this passage from Deuteronomy makes absolutely clear of the need to internalize scripture by committing the Word of God to memory. Jesus knew the scripture by heart, he quotes from the Old Testament well over a hundred times and the New Testament in turn commands us to:

‘Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly…’ Colossians 3:16

Memorizing Scripture makes us wise, it nourishes our spiritual growth and it is our protection against Satan. When Jesus was in the wilderness, tempted by the devil, he used Scripture as his armor.

‘Take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.’ Ephesians 6:7

Though you may find it difficult at first, taking the Word of God into your heart and committing Scripture to memory is a spiritual discipline that will bring you untold joy and profoundly enrich your spiritual growth. 

Some techniques for memorizing Scripture that you may find useful

We all remember things in different ways; some of us find it easy to remember, some of us find it very difficult, but all of us can do it if we work at it. Repetition is of course the basis of most memorizing techniques. Way back in my early school years I was taught spellings using the Read/Cover/Say/Write/Check method and I’ve always found this a good method for remembering Scripture. Read the verse slowly and carefully, cover it over and repeat it, then write it down and check to see if you’ve got it right. Repeat this process until you’re confident that you’ve got it. The strength of this method is that it operates in three ways: reading, speaking and writing, so if you’re a visual learner or an aural learner, it’s going to work for you.

Writing the verse that you want to memorize on flashcards and posting them in eye-catching places around your home is also a great reinforcement technique. Bible verse decks are also a really good way to build the habit of learning Bible verses into your life. If you’re blessed with kids, you can make them a fun part of family routine: stick them in surprising places, discuss them at meal times, but don’t get too disheartened if the kids outpace you in their ability to get word perfect Scripture much faster than you. If you’re musically inclined, sing those verses, a tune can really help, think alphabet song. Choose a Bible translation that you’re comfortable with; it doesn’t suit everyone but I actually find the old fashioned language of the King James version the easiest to remember, because the language is that little bit different it sticks in my brain easier. Set goals and make yourself accountable to a fellow Christian or family member, memorize as part of a group.

‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another’. Proverbs 27:17

Whatever method works for you, don’t give up, for learning the Word of the Lord is pure joy.


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