Scripture Memory: Ten Tips for Getting Started

Before I begin with my personal tips and tricks for Scripture memory, I would like to humbly invite you to join with me in an attempt to memorize Psalm 119. Even if you do not feel able to memorize such a large chunk of Scripture at the present season of your life, I invite you to study along with us.

If you would like to participate as part of a group, I have a Facebook group called Memorizing Psalm 119 (link embedded) which has a suggested memorization schedule posted in the “Files” section. I will honor all requests to join the group and will only delete anyone who behaves in a non-Christian manner on the group page.

If you do join  us, note that I will be using the ESV translation, but you can use whichever you are most comfortable with. 🙂

For the next several weeks (beginning on Sunday, October 4, 2015), I will be attempting to hide this word of God in my heart as I study the psalm, and I hope to write weekly devotional thoughts or study notes as I go.  It is my prayer that these posts will be of some encouragement, interest, or benefit to the Body of Christ and that our God will be glorified in it.  This blog will be mainly  devoted to that purpose until we finish, in part to keep me accountable and to help me memorize.

Now for some tips:

  • First: Prayer. Pray for the time,  for the mental ability, and that you will not be distracted or discouraged by the enemy. Should you succeed, pray that you will not become puffed up with pride at your accomplishment but that God will use the memorized portion for His own purposes and glory.
  • Second: You can do it! One key to accomplishing anything is to begin by believing you can. If you fail, so what? You’ve at least tried.  God can use our failures as well as our triumphs; indeed, sometimes He uses our failures even more!
  • Third: Scripture memory can seem daunting at first, especially if you are thinking of tackling a large section. One of the first things to keep in mind is that you are not memorizing a whole passage in one sitting. Just as a 1000-mile journey will only be taken a few miles at a time, any passage you want to commit to memory will be done a few verses at a time. (For this project, it is only eight verses a week.)
  • Fourth:  Write it out. Copy each section word-for-word from your Bible. Be intentional about writing it, copying carefully and thoughtfully. Say it aloud while writing it out. Maybe even write it several times.  If you like, get a special notebook, note card holder, or whatever works for you and designate that as your Scripture memory and study tool.
  • Fifth: Review and more review. Take your notebook/journal/note card holder everywhere you go.  Start by reading the section out loud to yourself;  then try to recite it line by line, checking yourself between each line. When you are confident that you can correctly do one line at a time, try two at a time, then three, and so on. Have a relative or friend check you
  • Sixth: Recite, recite, recite. Follow the above procedure at least once, but preferably two to three times, every day. Always recite the verse(s) out loud. Somehow saying it aloud seems to make it stick.
  • Seventh: Did I say recite? Tell it to yourself in the mirror. Tell it to your spouse or children — or better yet, have them do it with you and check each other! Tell it to your dog, cat, or even a potted plant. The more you recite a section, the deeper it sinks into memory and the easier it is to add to it.
  • Eighth: When you add a new section, keep reciting the previous ones. Just add new sections into your daily recitation using the procedure outlined on the fifth step for each new section. Keep on reciting and reviewing “old” sections!
  • Ninth: Don’t be surprised if the earlier sections come easier than the later ones. You’ve (hopefully!) recited them more often.
  • Tenth:  If you get behind, don’t worry! If you are here to join in the project of memorizing Psalm 119, understand that the project is flexible. The schedule I suggested in the Facebook group is just that: a suggestion and not an absolute.

The goal to hiding God’s Word in our hearts is never to win a race or meet a deadline. The ultimate goal is nicely stated in Psalm 119:11 — “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

Blessings to you on your Scripture memory journey! May the Lord give you a clear and capable mind, protecting you against the schemes of our enemy.   Feel free to share any tips or trick you have used! I would love to hear them.

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