Published on June 15th, 2018 | by Katherine Forster
You Can Memorize More Than You Think You Can
How do you react when you hear someone talk about Bible memorization?
I know for a lot of us, it’s with a vague feeling of guilt. I should probably do that. I should probably do that more.
What stops us from memorizing God’s word? There are lots of reasons.
I’m not good at memorizing. I can’t remember anything.
I don’t have time.
I’m going to do that… later.
A Powerful Tool
The words on the pages of your Bible are the very words of the Creator God. The same voice that created this world and you has spoken to us.
That makes memorization one of the most powerful tools we possess.
Think about it. When you memorize the Bible, you’re imprinting eternal, unshakeable truths onto your heart and mind. That changes you. Even if you can’t recite that verse word perfect or remember the reference in five years, that spiritual growth will not be nullified. That truth will stay with you.
That’s not to say that Scripture memorization is always a profoundly spiritual experience. Anyone can put words into their head, and their heart can remain unchanged (I’ve done it). But even if you memorize with the wrong heart attitude, God can use those truths in your life. And when you memorize the Scripture with the goal of drawing closer to God and seeking Him more, it’s a powerful spiritual discipline.
But I Can’t Memorize
At this point you might be thinking, But I can’t memorize! I have a horrible memory. I would forget it right away!
I don’t want to discount that this might be a valid concern for some people. There are chronic illnesses or disabilities that might make memorization difficult to impossible, at least for a season.
But I think sometimes we use inability as an excuse. God made our brains with a remarkable ability to learn–and He wants us to use that. I’ve been told time and time again by older adults to use this time well, because right now, as young people, we have the best memory we ever will.
How often do you walk around singing your favorite song? Do you have the chorus memorized? What about the first, second, or third verse? Can you quote your favorite YouTuber? What about ads from TV or Spotify?
Is it possible you can memorize more than you think you can?
My first experience with serious memorization was with the Bible Bee. Suddenly, I had an incentive I’d never had before–competition. I took on a challenge I would never have considered before then, and while I didn’t win (or even memorize all the verses), it was a first step. It showed me that I could memorize more Scripture than I would even have imagined.
We talk a lot about low expectations around here. Maybe it’s time to rise above the low expectations we’ve set for ourselves.
Make a goal: maybe you could memorize a verse a week. Maybe you could do two or three, or even more.
Pick a chapter you love – Psalm 16, 23, or 139; Romans 8; Ephesians 1; Philippians 2. Challenge yourself to have it memorized by the end of the summer. Spend some time studying it, meditating on it, and praying through it. Let the truth seep into your soul as you cement the words in your mind.
Pick a memorization method that works for you. Some people like to just read one phrase at a time until they can say it without looking. You could try putting the verse to music (remember how well you memorized your favorite song?). Write it out by hand once or twice. Write it on a whiteboard (or just put it in a word processor), and then erase a few words at a time until you can say the whole passage without looking. And don’t forget to review the verses you’ve already finished! If you’re doing a chapter, you could just recite it to yourself until you come to the next verse you need to memorize.
Above all, remember to pray and seek God through the process. He’s the one who uses His word in our lives: to convict, comfort, and transform us. As you memorize, be encouraged: no matter how long it takes, how difficult it may be, or how many mistakes you make, His word will change you.