Let me be the first to acknowledge that memorizing the Bible is hard work. It is mentally taxing and requires great discipline. But add to this the fact that we don’t all think the same way, and it follows that remembering memory verses works differently for all of us. So, when it comes to memorizing Scripture, we need a system that works for our mind and daily routine. Here are three approaches to memorizing scripture one memory verse at a time.How to memorize the Bible one memory verse at a time

Your memory verse on pen and paper

Before there were smartphones, there was paper. Memorizing scripture using a small notebook and pen is an effective way of memorizing scripture. I started with pen and paper many years ago, ultimately learning more than six chapters.

This method is ideal if you’re out and away from home during the day. Or if you don’t have (or want?) a smartphone, this is an excellent method to use. For this approach, I recommend you purchase a small notebook such as this Moleskine Pocket Notebook, which is easy to stow away in a pocket or purse. This means you can easily take a glance whenever you need to. The ribbon helps you find your place quickly.

  1. Each morning, copy down the verse(s) you want to memorize at the first space in the notebook. It might help to say or whisper what you write as you write it. If I’m learning a paragraph or chapter, I’ll write the verse number before the verse.
  2. Spend 5 minutes memorizing the verse: Read the memory verse to yourself (out loud may help), then close the notebook and try and repeat it. Do this until you can recite the verse word-perfect.
  3. Continue repeating the verse to yourself throughout the day. You’ll find there are times when you are unsure of a word or phrase, this is normal. Just find a moment to take your notebook out and look at the verse again to get the word or phrase right.
  4. If you’re memorizing a larger passage, once you’re confident in your ability to recite the verse, recite previous verses you’ve memorized in the paragraph or chapter, and then add today’s memory verse to the end. This way, you’ll begin reciting larger passages of text in their entirety from memory.
  5. Switch between repeating today’s verse with other recent and less recent verses.

Tip – A book per book

If you use this method to memorize an entire book of the Bible, I recommend purchasing another notebook for the next book. After filling a notebook with a handwritten copy of the book you memorized, you may not have enough room add the next book you choose to take on. I like to have all the verses for a book in a single notebook rather than having to carry two around.

Your memory verse all around you

This method is ideal if you’re working around the home all day or you don’t move very far during your day. This is a similar approach to the one Cherie used to memorize more than 30 chapters of the Bible as a busy mother.

Instead of a notebook, you’ll use cards. I recommend lined 3×5 index cards (which you can bulk buy) since the lines make it easier to write. You might also want some Blu-tack or a similar product.

  1. Copy down the memory verse(s) you want to remember on the lined side of the card at the beginning of the day. On the back, write the verse reference.
  2. Spend 5 minutes memorizing the verse. Read it to yourself (out loud may help), then turn over the card and try and repeat it. Do this until you can recite the verse word-perfect.
  3. Use the Blu-tack to stick the card (with the verse to the back so you can’t see it) to a location you’ll pass by throughout the day. Continue repeating the verse to yourself throughout the day. If you are unsure of a word or phrase, flip the card over and look at the verse again to get the word or phrase right.
  4. If you’re memorizing a larger passage, once you’re confident in your ability to recite the verse, recite previous verses you’ve memorized in the paragraph or chapter, and then add today’s memory verse to the end. This way, you’ll begin reciting larger passages of text in their entirety from memory.
  5. Switch between repeating today’s memory verse with other recent and less recent verses.

Some tips

If you forget to rehearse the memory verse as often as you need to, make a habit of repeating the verse each time you walk past or look at the card. You could also place additional cards in conspicuous places around your environment to help prompt and remind you.

If you have space, you might want to add another verse to the same card the next day. Keep several cards together so you can review all the verses you’ve recently memorized, and easily flip the cards over to check any words or phrases you’re unsure of. You’ll also want to keep all your previous cards in a pile to refer to them when you’re revising.

Your memory verse on your smartphone

Smartphones are excellent for helping you memorize scripture, and there are many great apps to help you with scripture memorization. If you struggle to learn memory verses, there are some apps available for your smartphone that may help.

Mobile Memory Verses

One app I’ve found helpful is Fighter Verses (which costs a small fee). This app is available for both iPhone and Android and by default draws verses from the ESV, though you can add other translations. Fighter Verses has a learning mode that allows you to remove a word at a time from the memory verse so that you can recite the verse without words, recalling each missing word one step at a time. This is a great approach if you find memorizing a whole verse (like in the previous two methods) a little overwhelming.

Another (free) app which has similar functionality is Scripture Typer. Scripture Typer encourages you to type out the verse, but it also has flashcards and other learning options. I haven’t used this, but it looks like a great app and is worth checking out.

Electronic Flashcards

My personal preference is to use Flashcards Deluxe, which provides the same functionality as a paper card system, so it’s easily adapted to the approach explained above. In my opinion, this is the best flashcards app, though some people find it difficult to understand.

There are of course many other apps on the app stores for memorizing scripture, and it is likely that I’ve missed some excellent options.

One of the downsides of using your smartphone is that our phones seem to be trained to distract us into the trivial. Memorizing scripture might be a way to distract yourself from these distractions so that you can do something more profitable on your device.

Pacing yourself for momentum

I recommend starting with a single memory verse each week. However, if your goals aren’t aggressive enough, your motivation levels may need some help. In which case, I encourage you to set a more challenging goal for memorizing scripture. As your pattern of memorizing verses develops, you’ll discover how many verses you can memorize each week (or day).

Knowing your capacity will help you plan so that you can select passages or chapters to learn based on what you are studying at church, your bible study or at home. Having memorized and meditated on a passage your pastor is preaching will help you engage with the sermon and add depth to your meditation.

Here’s a challenge

Why not try one of these approaches for a month? Pick a passage –  perhaps a chapter, and a method and start tomorrow. At the end of the month, take stock of what you’ve learned. If you’ve been consistent, you will have memorized at least four verses (one each week). But if you’ve set a challenge for yourself, you might have memorized a whole chapter or more! Let me know what you memorized by leaving a message here for me. Looking back and seeing significant momentum forward is a great encouragement to move forward!

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