rebelling against low expectations

6 Tips to Memorize God’s Word Better


My memorization journey really began in 2009, when I signed up for the National Bible Bee competition.

That first year, I probably didn’t memorize more than a hundred verses — and my motivation was definitely no higher than the $25,000 Primary division prize. But by God’s grace, over the past eight years I’ve grown so much — both in faith and in memorization ability.

The hundreds (maybe thousands) of verses I’ve learned through that time gave me a love for God and His word that I hadn’t thought possible.

If I’ve learned only one thing through the Bible Bee, it’s the importance of God’s word in our lives. But when I don’t have the competition to motivate me it’s so easy to slip into laziness or forgetfulness.

Here are a few things the competition has taught me about memorization.


Apart from the Holy Spirit, all of our work will be merely of ourselves — in our own strength and for our own glory. While God’s word will never return void, when we try to do His will apart from His strength it will lead to pride and, ultimately, discouragement.

Pray that God would use His word to to increase your knowledge of and love for Him, to heighten your understanding of the gospel, and to transform the way you think, speak, and act.


During Bible Bee, memorization is obviously a priority for me. But when I don’t have that motivation, it’s easy to let it slip — even despite my best intentions. If you don’t make Bible memory a part of your daily routine, it will most likely never get done. That may look like setting aside that half hour before bed, or doing it as soon as you finish school; it will be different for everyone. But you have to plan for it.

Challenge yourself.

When I started Bible Bee, I don’t think I’d ever memorized more than three verses a day (and that would be pretty unusual). Back then, if you had told me twenty verses a day would be normal, I would have laughed. Twenty a day may not be feasible for you (it isn’t for me either, outside the chunk of time I have during BB season).

But God has given us brains that can do marvelous things, and He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Are you used to memorizing one verse a day, if that? Try two or three, or even five. Not only will you memorize more, you’ll actually have more motivation!

Get creative.

Simple, phrase-by-phrase memorization works well for many people (and I’ve used it plenty). But for those passages you can’t seem to keep straight, or that verse that you can never quite remember, there are plenty of other techniques.

Try writing out the verse by hand, writing down the first letter of each word, or printing it and covering up two or three more words every time you read through it. You could also try to visualize images related to the words and imagine them interacting with each other, maybe in a place you know well (this works particularly well for lists!). Don’t feel like you have to get locked into one method. Figure out whatever works for you.


You can memorize all you want, but unless you don’t review it you won’t be able to remember it a week later. You could set up your own review system — for example, review the verse (or passage) every day for a week, then once a week after that, or review each finished chapter on a particular day of the week.

There are many other resources, too. I like to use to keep my verses current, and also has an effective review system.

During Bible Bee season I try to recite all of my verses out loud to my parents at least once a week. If you can recite to someone, do it! It’ll help you know your verses much better, and it can bless the person to whom you’re reciting as well.


This is one of the most important aspects. Recite your verses to yourself as you go running or biking in the morning, while you wash the dishes, or as you go to sleep. Think and pray about them — ask God to teach you more about Himself, and stand in awe of Him as you see His glory through His word. Worship Him for His goodness, and allow His word to convict and comfort and transform you.

Memorization is important, but it’s just the first step! The Scriptures have to move from your head and sink into your heart.

May God’s word dwell in you richly and may He bless you as you seek to know Him better!

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Photo courtesy of CollegeDegrees360and Flickr Creative Commons.


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About the author

Katherine Forster

Katherine forster is a college student who serves as a regular writer for TheReb. She writes on the importance of serious Bible study for teens and is the author of "Transformed by Truth: Why and How to Study the Bible for Yourself as a Teen" (Crossway, 2019). You can find her writing at her website or on Instagram.


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  • Ohh what great timing, Katherine! I have been memorizing the book of James for a while, but not very consistently–I work on it every day for a week, then don’t look at it for two weeks. Etc. (sigh… ) This article was just the push I needed, and now I’m determined to memorize through the end of chapter 2 this week! Thanks!

      • to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

  • Thank you so much, Katherine! I needed this reminder. I’ve been trying to get back into memorizing since we found out we couldn’t go to nats this year but it’s been really hard to be motivated. I need to keep praying and keep doing it! THanks so much – miss you and everyone lots and hope to see you next year!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 (P.S. — Do you know if there's going to be a Quizlet meeting at nats?)

    • Aw, I’m so sorry you couldn’t be at Nats (my fellow NASBer!). 🙁 Yeah, I totally understand the difficulty with motivation too… right after BB I tend to be really into it, but then as I get busy I often slack off a lot. I’ll be praying for you, and hopefully I can see you next year! What are you memorizing right now?
      (And I have no idea if there will be a Quizlet meeting… I haven’t been on there too much lately :P)

      • Nothing right now, but I really need to get into it. I’ve been in a slump since we found out we couldn’t go and I’m hoping it goes away soon because I need to get back into memorizing. Yessssssss, how many BBers actually use NASB? Do you have any idea? I know some friends of ours who switched over to NASB after BB quit NIV but I really haven’t heard of many others who use it. I hope we can see each other next year too – it’ll probably be my last year ( *tears* ) unless nats falls before my birthday in 2018. Can’t wait to watch everyone! (So glad I’m homeschooled :D)

  • Wonderful article! I’ve been challenged recently to be more aggressive about memorizing Scripture. My favorite tool for this has been Remember Me, a Bible verse memory app. I love memorizing Scripture on my morning runs or listening to passages I’m working on over and over again when I’m driving to work. Thanks again for this reminder and these tips!

    P.S. It’s SO GREAT you’re doing the Bible Bee!!

    • Those are some great ideas! I’ve used listening to the passages before too (although I’m more a visual learner so that’s more of an extra help). That’s so great that you can memorize while you’re running! A few years ago I did a lot of my memorization while biking around my neighborhood… it worked surprisingly well. 😛 I’ve never heard of the Remember Me app but it sounds great!
      Aw, thanks! 🙂 Have you done Bible Bee before?

      • Amen! God is good! It so happens that I have been feeling somewhat discouraged in my Bible verse memorizing these times, and that article really helped. I have a question: do you have any advice on associating the definition to the verse? That is where I struggle the most 🙂

        • Hmm. For references, I usually have to think up some sort of mental trick; imagine the different numbers “doing” things, or draw a picture that would connect them to the content of the verse. is also an awesome resource; you can make virtual flashcards and quiz yourself (I’ve used that a lot with my Bible Bee verses). God bless you in your memorization! 🙂

  • Wow, this was really good. I also happen to be part of a Bible memorizing competition, but I can’t imagine memorizing twenty verses a day.
    Motivation is really hard for me, so I’ll definitely try some of your tips. Thanks!

rebelling against low expectations

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