Our oldest son texted me New Year’s Day this year. He wanted to practice memorizing Scripture again this year. He’s been out of college for several years and fell out of the habit. He used to do it regularly when he was in high school. He wanted to know if I have any tips.
Of course, he already knew I’m fairly simple-minded, so my response may be overly simplistic, but I think it may have been what he was seeking.
Here’s what I shared with him.
Four ways to start memorizing Scripture:
Find a verse you like, which speaks to you.
One way to find them might be to look at YouVersion’s verse of the day and pick one of those each week—perhaps for the next week so you’ll have it for the whole week. I usually find them as I’m reading the Bible and something jumps out at me.
For these purposes, especially as you are getting started in memorization, I would tend to pick shorter verses. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 was an early memory verse for me years ago. It simply says, “The God who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” I can remember that. Here’s another: 1 John 5:21 says, “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” I understand it, easy to remember, and it’s a huge truth to place in my heart daily.
I think it is important that you really glean something from the verse—it speaks to you. Make sure you know what it is teaching. Scripture may have multiple of applications, but it is only one truth—whether we understand it fully or not.
Try only one a week.
If you’re an expert at memorization you can move faster—and you will get better with practice, but don’t try to impress anyone with your skills. You shouldn’t be doing it for that reason anyway. You want to do something that will help you grow spiritually and you will maintain it as an ongoing spiritual discipline.
Write it down (not type) and place it somewhere you see frequently.
Educators will tell you we are far more likely to remember something if we write it down rather than simply try to remember it—or even if we type it. Something happens between your hand and your brain, which helps lock the words into your memory bank.
You may be like me and hate your handwriting. You may be like me and can’t even read your handwriting at times. But, take your time and practice the best penmanship you have. The more times you write it the better chance you’ll have of remembering the verse.
Remember how the teachers used to make you write out a statement as discipline? I will not chew gum in class. If you write that 100 times, it may seem cruel, but you won’t soon forget those words. Works here too.
Rehearse it over and over again throughout the week.
Place the verse somewhere you will easily see—perhaps in a couple places. You could put them on your mirror where you get ready in the morning. Put one on your dashboard and another on your desk at work. Carry one in your front pocket. The more you see it and recite it the more likely it is to stick long-term.
I hope this helps.
And, I have another suggestion. You could always buy Steve Green’s Hide ‘em In Your Heart CD’s! They are children singing Scripture verses. Our boys learned lots of verses that way. We learned with them.
This article originally appeared here.