Remember when Jesus was fasting in the desert for 40 days and the Devil came to tempt him? You can find this narrative in Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13. In both accounts, Jesus uses the same game plan to counter the Devil’s temptations—Scripture, quoted from memory. And right away you and I could think, “Well, Jesus is God incarnate, of course, he had Scripture memorized.” And while that is certainly true, he was also a genuine human who modeled the power of relying on God’s Word in trying times.
We all need portions of Scripture readily available to utilize when we need them.
This is the spiritual discipline of Scripture memory.
Our situations don’t have to parallel Jesus’s for us to lean into the power of Scripture. Far too often we allow the ordinary struggles get the best of us when the Bible is packed with promises that can provide us with the power to overcome those moments of distress—whatever they might be!
Charles Spurgeon said it well:
“A Bible in memory is better than a Bible in the book case.”
When we get Scripture in us, it’s not just something that sits in our brain. The Holy Spirit then uses it to transform our hearts, which in turn affects our actions.
There are lots of ways the Holy Spirit can use our memorized Scripture to help us to:
- Defeat temptation (like Jesus did).
- Remember God’s promises about our identity, when we are feeling discouraged.
- Find the peace of God, when we are facing anxiety.
- Find strength from God, when we are entering into a challenging situation.
- Remember who God is when we start losing faith or feeling overwhelmed by the world.
- Find direction from God when we feel lost or have decisions to make.
You might already know and believe in the power of memorizing a passage of the Bible. So what keeps us from doing it? One common objection is, “I can’t memorize anything. How am I supposed to memorize Scripture?” The truth is, if you can memorize song lyrics, sports statistics, historical facts, even celebrity details—you can memorize Scripture.
Here are a few quick tips to help you in your memorization journey.
- Memorize Scripture in manageable chunks.
- Perhaps try turning a passage into a song by putting it into a memorable rhythm.
- Try memorizing kids’ Bible songs—you’re never too old for that!
- Write Scripture on a 3×5 card, take it with you, work on memorization throughout the day.
- Screenshot verses from YouVersion.
- Have verse of the day/week chalkboard or letterboard at home.
- Recite it over and over. If your kid’s favorite songs can get stuck in your head for years to come, Scripture can too!
No matter what memory tool you use to memorize a passage, we highly encourage you to not just memorize the words of the passage but also internalize the message of it too.
Going beyond memorizing what the passage says and moving into internalizing what the message means will truly make this practice transformative.
After all, how helpful is it to memorize something without understanding it?
Okay, so we have reiterated the value of Scripture memorization, we have given you a few tips of how to go about memorizing it, last but not least, you might be wondering which passages to memorize.
Short answer, you really can’t go wrong with selecting any passage that is meaningful to you. However, we do want to provide some suggestions based on what your soul might need.
- Psalm 23 is only six verses, but they are among some of the most famous in the Bible for a reason. God is portrayed like a loving shepherd, something we wrote about on our blog previously. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing a passage to memorize, look no further than Psalm 23!
- If you ever feel like God’s love is like the morning dew that evaporates, you might want to consider memorizing Romans 8:37-39. The whole chapter of Romans 8 is about our identity in Christ. Paul’s argument is that there is no need to fear or live like spiritual orphans because God’s love for us is secure as we are in Christ. Romans 8:37-39, then, is the crescendo of the whole chapter!
- If you want to memorize a short but profound parable of Jesus in which the value of humility is on display, we highly recommend Luke 18:9-14.
- And as often as the “fruit of the Spirit” is referenced, it should be memorized. Galatians 5:22-23 contains the 9 qualities that identify, as a spiritual litmus, the fruit of God’s Spirit at work in our lives. It is even an enlightening study to go deeper into each of the nine qualities to get a further understanding on them! Remember, you and I cannot contrive these fruit. They are a result of our keeping in company with God’s Spirit, even as the following verses (Galatians 5:25) clarify.
As we send you on your way, let this be clear: our motivation to memorize Scripture should never be out of obligation.
God loves us so much that He wants us to carry His promises with us everywhere we go.
What passage of Scripture are you going to commit to memory next?