When it comes to memorizing scripture, the psalmist put it best:
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11 NIV
That’s just one of hundreds of Bible verses that many children memorize in Sunday school. This one has stuck with me throughout the years along with many others.
In my high school years, I gave up sports for a different activity – Bible Quiz. For those who have never heard of Bible Quiz, it’s an activity in the AG churches that brings together youth to quiz them on different books of the Bible each year.
Yes, it sounds dorky, but we ended up memorizing over 2,000 verses that sharpened our minds and strengthened our faith!
You heard right, over 2,000 verses. My first year was the book of Luke (1151 verses), next was I & II Corinthians (693 verses), Gospel of John (879 verses), Hebrews and I&II Peter (469 verses).
It was quite a challenge to memorize entire chapters of the Bible and it would take quite a while. But when you could simply quote entire passages of the Bible, it was an awesome feeling!
Every day after school from 4:00-6:00 I would sit down and try to memorize a few new verses. My method took a while, but the verses stuck. I’d spend about 20 minutes per verse and move onto the next one, adding about 6 new verses a day. The next day, I’d review what I did the day or two before and I’d always try to quote through everything on the weekend to make sure I was ready for the quiz matches.
My Memorization Technique
Realize that I would spend 1-2 hours a day – it was what I did instead of playing sports, so it took a lot of dedication, just like any sport’s practice would.
1. Highlight Names and Underline Places
Before I’d even start studying a block of scripture, I would read through it and highlight names in yellow and underline places in orange. This technique will help you to visually remember passages better and will act like a ‘roadmap’ when you think back to the page of scripture.
2. Highlight Old Testament Quotes in Green
Did you realize that the New Testament is full of quotes from the Old Testament? Authors like Paul were extremely well-versed in the Old Testament and would use these verses to emphasize the Gospel of Christ. It’s worth highlighting these as additional points of reference.
Memorization is very visual! If you spend time memorizing a passage of scripture, you’ll literally close your eyes and envision the page in your mind. So highlighting can really help you to memorize more effectively!
3. Read the Entire Passage of Scripture
Read through the chapter and get an understanding of what’s going on.
My Memorization Process
Not everyone memorizes things the same, but if you’re curious to know how I was able to memorize 500 verses a year, this is it:
- Work on one verse at a time – not multiple verses.
- Read the verse aloud 20 times – don’t rush through this part.
- Read the verse aloud once, then speak the verse once from memory (10 times).
- Quote the verse without mistakes 5 times in a row. Once you can do this, move to the next verse.
Sometimes going through the process would take 15 minutes per verse, other times it would be about 20 minutes per verse. It’s not about spending a certain number of minutes – it’s about repetition and using your eyes, ears, and voice to get each verse down.
Are You Up for the Challenge?
Even if you could only spend 1 hour a day memorizing scripture, you could easily memorize 3-4 verses a day. That’s over 20 verses in one week – about an entire chapter in many books of the Bible. Imagine being able to quote an entire chapter after just one week of studying.
Trust me, it’s possible!