Scripture memory is a broad topic but it is also a niche subject. There are many paths that could be explored on the mountain of memorizing Scripture. In many ways, meditating on God’s word and remembering it later is a central concept in Christianity. However, in other ways the art and science of remembering God's truth verbatim can seem quite esoteric. In this article, I will briefly touch on different memorization techniques and give advice on how to memorize individual Bible verses and passages. It is my prayer that this article would serve to inform and motivate God’s elect to not only read but diligently apply Scripture to memory. When we store up God’s word in our heart, we are equipping our mind for action and inclining our heart to obey the commands of Jesus and live according to the Spirit. Before we begin, let me draw your attention to the words of Joshua, leader of Israel after the death of Moses. 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8-9 ESV

THE PROMISED LAND WAS FULL OF GIANT PROBLEMS

From the text, it is clear that God prepared a land for his people. The promised land, however, was full of giant challenges. The nation of Israel was hard-pressed to accomplish God's will for the promised land. God raised up mighty men of character, strength and valor to lead the people before the LORD in obedience and courage. God instructed his people to take possession of the land that he had given them. God knew that in order for them to be successful, they would need to be spiritually equipped for the task at hand, and so, he instructed them through the mouth of his servant Joshua, to obey the law of Moses, be strong and courageous and take possession of the promises. 

GOD HAS GIVEN US A TASK TOO GREAT TO ACCOMPLISH ON OUR OWN

In our lives today, God has given us a task too great to accomplish on our own. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching and baptizing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are commanded to forgive each other and love our enemies. We are called to be faithful to our families, friends and community. We must not lust after possessions, power or the flesh but instead seek after something greater.  In our ambition, we must not be selfish but consider the interests of others above own own. Joy should flow from the heart in plenty and in suffering. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. We must not be ashamed of the gospel, but speak the truth in love, like salt on food and light in darkness we are to be God's servants, ready to do his will. We must bless and not curse, hug and not hurt, work and not worry. 

As followers of Christ, our yoke is easy and our burden is light but God has called us to a perfect holiness we can not achieve on our own. Our hope in this life, and the life to come, is Christ is us - the hope of glory. 

WHY SHOULD I MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE?

In brief, reading God’s word and remembering it later is essential to living victoriously as a conqueror in Christ. Meditating on the word of God and memorizing Scripture allows us to remember the truth when it matters, so that we can effectively resist the devil.

When we actively meditate on the Law of the LORD, we are acting in congruence with the New Covenant in Jesus' blood - in which we live. The prophet Jeremiah prophesied in Jeremiah 33:31 that God would enact a new covenant with his people in which the law of God would be on our hearts and in our minds. 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jeremiah 31:33 ESV

Finally, we are obeying Jesus and abiding in him when we treasure his word in our heart. Jesus said in John chapter 15 that if we abide in him and his words abide in us, we will pray powerfully and produce the spiritual fruit of righteousness that brings glory to God. 

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:7-8 ESV

HOW CAN I MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE? I’M TOO BUSY!

Being busy has nothing to do with it. I guarantee, that you are already doing most of the necessary steps to effectively store up God’s word in your heart! Don’t believe me? … keep reading. For the past several decades, you’ve been developing your ability to memorize Scripture without even knowing it! 

What you may say about Scripture memory: 

  • I don’t know what Bible verses to memorize and I don’t want to spend a lot of time searching.

What you’re probably doing:

  • There’s a good chance you go to church on Sunday. This coming Sunday, make sure you have a pen or your smartphone, and write down a few key verses from the sermon or from the bulletin! Now, you’ve got your verses, the next step is to memorize one of them before you go go bed. Click here for some great Scripture passages to start memorizing!
  • Read this article to find out exactly how going to church can help you memorize Scripture!

What you may say about Scripture memory:

  • I tried to memorize a Bible verse but I forgot it. How can I remember a passage of Scripture when I sometimes forget where I put my keys!

What you’re probably doing:

  • You’re probably forgetting things every day and slowly remember them again. Here’s an example, you met someone at a social function on Saturday and today is Tuesday. You can see their face and even recall what you talked about but you can’t remember their name. You think about it for a second and it comes to mind! Or, you ask your wife and she remembers! That sequence of learning, forgetting, reviewing and remembering is going on all day in your mind! The same process happens with God’s word, when we learn a portion of it, we usually forget it later but by reviewing the text, you can actually strengthen the memory and ensure it becomes one of your long-term thought patterns.
  • Read this article to learn more about how forgetting something can actually help you remember it!

What you may say about Scripture memory:

  • I have memorized several Bible verses but I almost never recite them, I’m not in school anymore! 

What you’re probably doing:

  • We all communicate throughout the day in a variety of ways and there’s a good chance one of the ways you communicate is through prayer to God. When we pray, we have an open invitation to spend time with God and with his Son Jesus through thanksgiving, confession, petition, intercession and praise & worship. When we pray, we not only talk to God but we can listen to him by reciting his words from memory. We can grapple with his word as our spirit communes with God. King David wrote the majority of the Psalms in the Bible as prayers to God. The next time you pray, think about what God is saying to you and recall a well-known passage of Scripture. If you don’t know one, go here to store up 1 verse in your heart today! 
  • Read this article to learn more about how five types of prayer can help you communicate with God and remember his promises!

What you may say about Scripture memory:

  • Why should I go to all the trouble of memorizing Scripture when I can just read the Bible and meditate on God’s truth? 

What you’re probably doing:

  • If you’re reading the word of God and meditating on specific passages, wonderful! You’re actively treasuring up God’s word in your heart and that has incredible value. Now, image that you could recall those words of God instantaneously, anywhere / anytime! That would literally allow you to extend the discipline of Scripture meditation to all times of day or night and to virtually any environment! Committing a passage of Scripture to memory may not be simple, but it does pay off, and the more you “meditate from memory”, the more your initial memorization investment will bear fruit! 
  • Read this article to discover how Christian meditation and memorization are the same and different! 

What you may say about Scripture memory:

  • I’m an active learner, I learn things by doing, I do better when books aren’t directly involved.

What you can easily do:

  • If you’re an active learner and prefer a kinesthetic approach to acquiring new skills or remembering information, great! When you find a timeless truth from the Bible, you can easily engage your body in the memorization process. When you’re initially memorizing a verse with a SonicBiblia lesson, make the process active by associating and repeating gestures, expressions, intonation, or even large-scale motions into the verse as you recite it. This works! Keep reading to hear how kinesthetics was successfully put into action to help remember God’s word! 

What you may say about Scripture memory:

  • I’m a visual learner and I like to read the biblical text to fully understand and apply it to my life. 

What you’re probably doing:

  • The ability to see text and imbibe information directly from visual stimuli is nothing short of miraculous. However, much of what we think about comes from visual memories in the brain. Think back to the last time you drove in your car or had an ice cream or went on vacation or flew in an airplane. You will quickly realize that you’re not only a visual learner but you recall things visually. When you’ve committed Scripture to memory, your mind can visually recall God's words and his truth in remarkable ways!

What you may say about Scripture memory:

  • I’m too tired to memorize Scripture. 

What you’re probably doing:

  • Unless you are an extremely rare case, you’re probably sleeping between 5-9 hours every night. Those hours of shut-eye are incredibly valuable to your overall health and hold enormous potential for your spiritual growth. Every night you fall asleep, you’re literally too tired NOT TO MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE. If you’ve meditated on God’s word and captured it in your short-term memory (which, you can do with a SonicBiblia lesson), by the end of the day you’ll be so tired that you’ll eventually fall asleep and your brain will begin to do one of the things it does best! While asleep, your brain is busy at work organizing information, removing toxins, reinforcing memories and skills, and culling unneeded or potentially harmful information. Every night of sleep represents a free token of opportunity to assimilate information, organized data points and weight important memories. If you’ve spent 10 - 15 minutes saving a Bible verse in your short-term memory during the day, your mind will do the same amount of work, if not more, to assimilate the information and reinforce the memory...while you sleep! So, in a sense, you’re really too tired not to memorize Scripture because as soon as you fall asleep, your brain will begin to review the Bible verse and weight the memory to ensure it doesn’t fade and disappear (assuming you’ve invested 10 to 15 minutes during the day to lay the memory pathway in your mind). SonicBiblia can help you lay initial memory pathway in your mind for thousands of Bible verses, so that you brain can further review and codify the information while you sleep

What you may say about Scripture memory:

  • I’m too old to memorize Bible verses. 

What you should be doing:

  • It is more difficult to created short-term memories that mature into long-term memories as you get older, but there are two things you should be doing at any age. First, “number your days” by calculating how old you are, and thank God for his steadfast love and faithfulness throughout all those years. Go here to read and meditate on what Moses, the man of God, wrote in Psalm 90:12 about the wisdom of calculating our days.  After you’ve thought about your age, make a decision to commit the next year of your life to maximally investing all the talents God has given you into his kingdom. Remember, one of the talents he’s given you is a mind to remember and recall his truth and his faithfulness. Second, take a moment to think about the younger people whom God has placed in your life, and encourage them to invest their little hearts and minds into the kingdom of God by memorizing Bible verses

What you may say about Scripture memory:

  • It’s just not for me but I’m glad it works for you.

What you could be doing:

TECHNIQUES IN PRACTICE TO MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE

The following techniques are best accompanied with a SonicBiblia memorization lesson. We have lessons for thousands of passages of Scripture. Each Scripture memorization lesson is located within a thematic category of the Bible. Click here to explore more and find a passage of Scripture to read and memorize! 

SUNDAY AT CHURCH

A Sunday church service is a great way to worship God corporately. We can encourage one another in the faith and learn from our differences as we serve the unified body of Christ. Sunday at church can be a great way to start your week. You can confess your sin (although, the best time to confess is immediately after recognizing your sin and failure), appeal to God in prayer, worship through the public reading of Scripture and sing praise to the name of the LORD. Sunday is also a good time to spend in fellowship with friends and with your family.

During the service, take a moment to write down a few notes on what stood out to you or jot something from the sermon message. Here, you could easily find a passage or two of Scripture that would be meaningful to you but also represent the larger context of corporate worship. I find it helpful to take a few verses from the sermon and save them to my memorize playlist on SonicBiblia from my phone. This is easy to do, especially if you’re using the Bible text from SonicBiblia’s app to follow along with the sermon.

Sunday is a slower day for me, and I usually like to recap the week in the evening. I’ll spend a few minuets consolidating notes and then listen to a memorization lesson from SonicBiblia. Before I know it, Monday morning is rolling and I’ve already got a memory in my mind from the Sunday sermon. If there were several verses or a passage that I saved from Sunday, I can work through the verses during the week. Imagine, driving to church on Sunday thinking about all the things you learned last week at church! "Memorizing Scripture on Sunday at Church" is a great article about how you can seamlessly invest your thoughts into remembering God's word!

HOW DOES THIS WORK?

I’ll give you an example of how this works. Several weeks ago, I went to a different church service as a guest. I remember the sermon was on Proverbs 6 and the virtues of wisdom vs the folly of the flesh. I also remember that one of the main points was that wisdom in and of itself is not sufficient to keep us from falling prey to the wiles of the devil. We are constantly pulled in dangerous directions and pressured to compromise the commandments of Jesus. The sermon message was about wisdom but it was more than wisdom. Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived but even his heart was lead astray by his wives who worshiped false gods. The preacher reminded me that we must abide in Jesus to live the supernatural life to which he has called us. 

The key verses from the sermon were from Proverbs chapter six

My son, keep your father's commandment,
and forsake not your mother's teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you. Proverbs 6:20-22 ESV

I saved them to my playlist on the SonicBiblia app and began to commit them to memory. Since hearing that sermon several weeks ago, I’ve read in my mind (recited from memory) that passage from Proverbs hundreds of times. Sometimes, I’ll think of them at night or in the morning and other times, when I’m driving or walking about the city. But the point is this: I’ve committed God’s word to my heart and every time I think of those verses, I remember the sermon and the message from God. 

HOW FORGETTING A VERSE HELPS YOU REMEMBER IT! 

This definitely seems counter-intuitive but it’s true. Let me explain. When you meditate on a Bible verse for 10-15 minutes, using a SonicBiblia lesson, you’ll have effectively saved the reference and passage in your short-term memory. Your short-term memory is short, and within a few hours the verse will seem to have disappeared. Don’t worry, you haven’t forgotten it. During the first 24 hours, the memory is in a formation process and not easily recalled verbatim. During that initial 24 hour period, it is absolutely necessary to recall the Bible verse and review the fragile memory. If you can’t recall it verbatim, don’t worry, it’s still there you just need to active the memory. In order to active the memory, simply look at the verse briefly and the memory will be triggered. Do not repeatedly look at the verse, but only enough to trigger and activate the memory. Subsequent review should be from memory because this weights the neural pathway and strengthens your memory. It is recommended to review in this way once or twice before bed on the first day, however, it is not necessary. On the following day, after a good night’s sleep, it is critical to review the Bible verse in the same way as described above, verbatim from memory if possible. If it's not possible to review the verse verbatim from memory, activate the memory by looking at the passage of Scripture and then recite it by heart. To learn more, read the article, "How Forgetting a Bible Verse can Help you Remember it".

YOU MAY JUST FORGET PART OF THE BIBLE VERSE

Once the initial short-term memory has been successfully reviewed the following day, the passage is on its way to becoming a more permanent and easily accessible memory. At this point, however, you may forget part of the Bible verse. Through much experience, I've found that this happens quite often. Either the beginning of a Bible verse will be fuzzy or a key word / phrase will fade from memory, or an article or preposition will be in question. When this happens, and it most certainly will at some point, as always try to recall it on your own and fix the glitch using your own brain power. This is the most effective method for creating a long-term memory. If you can successfully remember the sequence by yourself, it is recommended to then look at the Bible verse and verify that you’ve recalled the correct sequence. Remembering the wrong words is counter-productive and never recommended. If you stick to the text, word-for-word, verbatim, it will actually be easier in the long run to remember it. 

THIS IS WHERE FORGETTING HELPS YOU REMEMBER...

In most cases, you won’t be able to remember the “glitch” in your Scripture passage and you should look at the verse text to correct. This is where forgetting helps you remember. At this point, if you've spent sufficient time struggling trying to remember what you forgot, you’ll be creating an impression for that particular section of the Bible verse. When you finally do see the correct version of what you were trying to recall, you’ll remember it more vividly. When you see or hear the correct wording, it’ll resonate with the entire verse because you are returning to the original neural linguistic pathway that was established during the memorization / formation process. Now, when you recall the verse in the future, you’ll remember the correct version more easily and usually it’ll be the most vivid part of the verse. You’ll remember better because you almost forgot it!

PRAYING THROUGH MEMORIZED SCRIPTURE

Prayer is one of the greatest spiritual disciplines we can foster and develop throughout our lives on earth. When we pray, we are in direct communication with God. When we speak with God, it’s important to also listen. If we’ve stored up his word in our heart, we can hear his word when we pray from Scripture. Most of the Psalms can be meditated on, remembered later (memorized) and prayed back to God. We can also use prayers of Scripture to intercede for others. Paul’s letters, for example, were written with specific churches and people in mind but they are applicable for us today as we intercede in prayer for others. 

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23 ESV

The article, "Interacting with God through prayer and memorizing Scripture" can help you better understand 5 different ways prayer can be applied in your life!

MEDITATION VS MEMORIZATION

The question is simple, should I meditate on God’s word or commit it to memory by memorizing it? Does the Bible say we should meditation on Scripture or memorize it? The answer is both. Scripture teaches to read, understand, remember and live according to the word of God. Here is a sampling of some passages in Scripture that touch on the spiritual discipline of memorization and meditation.

John chapter 15

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:7-8 ESV

Colossians chapter 3

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

Psalm chapter 1

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 ESV

Joshua chapter 1

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8 ESV

Psalm chapter 119

Oh how I love your law!
It is my meditation all the day. Psalm 119:97 ESV

Psalm chapter 119

My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise. Psalm 119:148 ESV

Proverbs chapter 2

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; Proverbs 2:1-6 ESV

Proverbs chapter 7

My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 7:1-3 ESV

Psalm chapter 119

I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 ESV

Deuteronomy chapter 6

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 ESV

James chapter 1

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25 ESV

Matthew chapter 4

But he answered, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’" Matthew 4:4 ESV

John chapter 17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17 ESV

Romans chapter 12

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 ESV

Colossians chapter 3

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 ESV

Ephesians chapter 4

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 ESV

Romans chapter 10

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 ESV

1 Peter chapter 3

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15 ESV

2 Timothy chapter 3

and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV

Psalm chapter 138

I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word. Psalm 138:1-2 ESV

Proverbs chapter 6

My son, keep your father's commandment,
and forsake not your mother's teaching.
Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you. Proverbs 6:20-22 ESV

Psalm chapter 40

I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart." Psalm 40:8 ESV

"Christian Meditation or Scripture Memorization" is an article that helps explain the difference and benefits of both Christian meditation and memorizing Scripture.

KINESTHETICS AND THE BIBLE

We briefly touched on the subject of kinesthetics in Scripture memory formation and I’d like to give a practical example of how this can be applied. First, kinesthetics is nothing more than learning through body movement. For our application, we’re generally using small but memorable gestures to associate with particular parts of a Bible verse. 

I began to use kinesthetics as a way to make certain passages of Scripture more memorable to recall. One day, while waiting for my spouse at the dentist’s office, I decided to walk and pray and memorize a Bible verse. I had wanted to memorize Isaiah 40:28 for some time and it was in my saved playlist so I decided to go for a prayer walk and learn it. 

Isaiah chapter 40

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable. Isaiah 40:28 ESV

As I was engaging with the memorization lesson, I had trouble remembering part of the 3rd line: “he does not faint or grow weary”. It was a summer day, and I was wearing a black shirt so I naturally began to sweat. As I was trying to remember that phrase, “he does not faint or grow weary” I couldn’t help but think I was growing weary in the hot sun! The next time I heard the narrator say the line, “he does not faint or grow weary”, I wiped the sweat from my brow and repeated the words. I continued that kinesthetic motion every subsequent time I repeated the verse on my own and it helped me recall that particular phrase. 

KINESTHETICS - DOES IT REALLY WORK? 

I found that the next day, when I repeated the verse to myself, I naturally mimicked the hand gesture and was able to recite the Bible verse completely and without error. Praise God!

VISUAL IMAGERY VS MENTAL IMAGERY

Images are an important vehicle of transporting information. Images can contain a variety of data points but they can also leave a lasting memory. When we see something and try to remember it, we imagine seeing it in our mind. When memorizing a Scripture verse, visual activation is the first step. Spend a few seconds reading the verse and reference (preferably aloud) and briefly think about its meaning. Once you’ve seen the verse visually for a few minutes, begin a SonicBiblia lesson. The lesson will introduce the reference and verse with the visual text displayed. After a short period of time, the text will disappear. The lesson methodology relies on hearing the verse and seeing it in your mind before repeating the verse and creating a new neural pathway in your mind. It’s important to create the linguistic sequence from your own thoughts (word perfect), because this process ensures that you are sending electrical signals through a newly forming pathway in your brain. Each time you think of the Bible reference and begin to recall the words, you’re sending electricity through that pathway of neurons and synapses in your brain. As you recall the phrases of a Bible verse, you can sometimes see words and key phrases in your mind. By starting with visual activation and moving to mental imagery, you can effectively capture a new sequence of words and phrases in your short-term memory with the ability to recall verbatim and further strengthen the newly formed memory. 

LOSING TRACK OF THE BIBLE VERSES YOU’VE MEMORIZED

After some time, you’ll start to forget what you know. That sounds silly, but there is some truth to the idea that you know more than you can recall at any given moment. For example, suddenly smelling something can trigger memories from years ago! Vivid memories of the past can be activated and brought to the forefront of your mind by something as wonderful as the sense of smell. In a similar way, our brain prioritizes information that is uses often or used recently, while “archiving” memories that have not been accessed or used in the near past.

If you’ve memorized many different passages of Scripture and don’t have a methodology to review them systematically, you’ll tend to review some more often than others and in the process start to lose the memory of certain Bible verses. This happened to me, before using SonicBiblia’s GIR (graduated interval recall) methodology of review. I can remember the reference and parts of the verse but I can’t recall more than 50% of Psalm 9:10.

 Psalm chapter 9

And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10 ESV

The most important dynamic activity to maintaining accurate, long-term memories of Bible verses is to review frequently. If you memorize a Bible verse with SonicBiblia, you’ll automatically see the verse in your Review queue within an hour and a half. After you review it and send it back to the Archive, it’ll start the second cycle in a series of graduated intervals, each being longer than the previous until a max review time is hit. The max review time repeats indefinitely to prompt long-term memory review.

Beyond having a systematic method to review Scripture memory, it’s helpful to memorize and review Bible verses based on their book and chapter. For example, a good friend is memorizing several verses from each chapter in the book of Psalms. In this way, you can go from one chapter to the next and review a large number of verses without worrying about skipping a passage. It makes reviewing a lot easier!

A FINAL EXAMPLE

I started with a verse that I've knows since childhood: 2 Timothy 3:16. I wanted to build on the verses I know from 2 Timothy so I added 3 verses from chapter one, 1 verse from chapter two, and 1 more from chapter four. So, now I have at least one verse from every chapter of 2 Timothy, and it’s easier to review them in my mind going from chapter to chapter. 

 2 Timothy chapter 1

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,  2 Timothy 1:7-9 ESV

2 Timothy chapter 2

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 ESV

2 Timothy chapter 3

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

2 Timothy chapter 4

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5 ESV

In the future, I’ll add more passages to capture the surrounding verses in my mind, but for now, I have a good book and chapter based structure to remember and review. 

THE NAVIGATORS TOPICAL MEMORY CATEGORIES

The Navigators have a well-known system that contains five general categories, each with six sub-categories, with each sub-category containing 12-15 Bible verses. The five general categories are “Living the New Life”, “Proclaiming Christ”, “Reliance on God’s Resources”, “Being Christ’s Disciple” and “Growth in Christlikeness”. These categories can help you remember what verses you know. You still have to memorize the Bible verses but the categories can help you organize and review them in your mind.

SUPERNATURAL AID

There are few things that have the potential to change your life like reading the Bible and letting God’s word accomplish its purpose. 

 Isaiah chapter 55

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV

When we invest into learning more about God through his word, we are better able to discern God’s will in our life and live accordingly. Engaging with the word of the LORD is a supernatural experience that evokes praise and worship. God's servant, King David said in Psalm chapter 138

I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word. Psalm 138:2 ESV

Our response to the steadfast love and faithfulness of God should be thanksgiving and praise. When we commit our thoughts, words and ways to the kingdom of heaven, we are better aligning ourselves with God’s plan and pursue for humanity and beyond! 

As you approach the discipline of reading and remembering the Bible, don’t forget that you are reading the words of God that have effectual power in the human heart. 

2 Timothy chapter 3

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

REVIEW THROUGH READING & LISTENING TO THE BIBLE

Another important aspect of remembering God’s word is seeing and hearing the spoken word. The apostle Paul encouraged his spiritual son, Timothy, to practice godliness. 

1 Timothy chapter 4

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.  1 Timothy 4:13-16 ESV

A PRACTICAL WAY WE CAN REVIEW SCRIPTURE

A practical way we can review what we know and learn new things is to consistently read and listen to the Bible. Our hearts will resonate more and more with the sound words of doctrine found in the Bible. As we read familiar and unfamiliar passages, God will continue to reveal his insight and truth through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us. I was recently meditating on Philippians 2:3-5 and verse 5 especially spoke to me, reinforcing the reality that as children of God, we have the mind of Christ and part of the nature of his mind is to consider the interests of others above our own. 

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  Philippians 2:3-5 ESV

Frequently reading the Bible will help reinforce our understand of the text and better contextualize the passage we know by heart. 

SLEEPING TO MEMORIZE SCRIPTURE

As I mentioned earlier in this article, sleep has the functional ability to change the way we think. The adage “let me sleep on it”, is profoundly true in many regards. When we get a good night’s sleep, concerns that were problems at night no longer scare us. The solution just seems more obvious in the morning. When we sleep, our brains do some amazing work to parse out the experiences and memories of the previous day and make sense of them so that we can increase our capacity to function while awake. I have taken this to heart and try to meditate on one Bible passage at some point during the day, in order to see how well I can remember in the morning. Undoubtedly, I have near 100% recall of the Bible verse in the morning and oftentimes unsolicited, that is, God naturally brings it to my remembrance. This morning, I tested myself with Philippians 2:5: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”, and I quoted it verbatim on my drive to work. 

ADVICE

First, think about the massive potential sleep represents in your life. Second, commit to meditating on a Bible verse sometime during the day before bed. Third, when you wake up in the morning, find the verse in your memory, and quote it to yourself, and to God - and to someone else, if appropriate! Finally, give thanks to the LORD for his steadfast love and faithfulness in your life.

USING YOUR AGE TO REMEMBER: SHORT-MEDIUM TERM MEMORIES

Regardless of your age, you can leverage brain power to maximize your impact for the Kingdom of Heaven. This can be done in two simple ways. The first way is to make a personal commitment to studying God’s word as revealed to you in Scripture. This can be done in a group setting or privately during times of devotion. When you’ve met with God through Bible reading and prayer, consider a passage you’d like to take with you throughout the days and weeks ahead. Find a verse or two, save them to your Memorize playlist and listen to a SonicBiblia memorizing lesson. The more lessons you listen to, the easier it becomes to find time in your day to focus your mind on the word of the LORD. The second way you can leverage your age to impact the Kingdom of Heaven is to pray about someone in your life who needs encouragement. Find them and share something from God’s word. The important thing to remember is to listen to God and act.

Peace be with you spirit.