Memorizing Bible verses can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Even with a desire to grow in your faith, the process can seem intimidating or overwhelming.
But it’s totally normal, friend.
Especially when you’re balancing meal plans and grocery pick-ups, hanging out with your Bible study group, and the ever-changing soccer schedule …
So how take Psalm 24:1 seriously and “hide God’s Word in your heart” and stay realistic that schedules change and the hours just don’t go our way? In this article, we’ll discuss challenges to memorizing Scripture and share a few practical steps to help you as you exercise this spiritual “muscle.”
The Challenges of Bible Verse Memorization
You might often find yourself asking, “Why can’t I remember this verse? I’ve read it so many times.”
Or perhaps you get Dory-syndrome, and your mind swims here, there, and 2 miles somewhere else.
It’s common to encounter challenges when memorizing Scripture, friend, because the enemy doesn’t want you to remember the truth found in God’s Word. He’ll make you feel frustrated, discouraged, and want to give up.
But God has given you all a helper to fight in this spiritual war:
When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, namely, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, He will testify about Me.—John 15:26
When we are aware of how the enemy sidetracks us, we can create strategies to work through those battles of time constraints, distractions, forgetfulness, and feeling overwhelmed.
Let’s look at these common hurdles and propose practical solutions:
1. Time Constraints
One of the most prevalent challenges with Bible verse memorization is finding the time. It can be tough to allocate extra time to sit down and memorize verses.
So how do we incorporate verse memorization into our daily routines?
- Spend a few minutes each morning and evening reviewing a verse.
- Place the verse you’re trying to memorize in frequently visited places: your car dashboard, the pantry door, a computer screen, etc.
- Set a reminder on your watch to read through the verse at the beginning of each hour.
- Create a phone background with the verse, so you see it each time you unlock your phone.
- Invite your family members to join you in memorizing the verse.
The book, Get Out Of Your Head by Jennie Allen takes you through the physical struggle we often find when it comes to dwelling on “things above and not things below” (Colossians 3:2). It’s true: Our minds are often cluttered with thoughts, making it difficult to concentrate on Bible verse memorization.
Here are a few ways we can overcome distractions when trying to memorize verses:
- Find a quiet space where you can focus—maybe it is a few minutes in the bathroom or a short in your neighborhood?
- Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones can help in creating a quieter atmosphere while still allowing you to be present in your home.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and shut all electronics off and put the phone in “Do not disturb” mode.
- Drive *without* the radio on.
- Take 5 minutes and write down anything and everything that comes to mind on a sheet of paper. Flip that paper over, and then set another timer to focus on the verse.
3. Feeling Overwhelmed
It’s hard work to start a new habit. You might feel behind or overwhelmed, and that’s perfectly normal. Athletes feel the same way. So do students. And anyone who just started a job.
When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a second to breathe and think through that thought: Is this something God is telling me? Or is it the enemy trying to discourage me?
“God is not a God of confusion or chaos but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). He enjoys time with you and is delighted that you are committing His Words to your heart. Be careful not to compare yourself as you work this new habit. When we take our gaze off Jesus Christ and compare ourselves to others, we become more vulnerable to attacks and distractions. Stay focused on Jesus Christ and He is working in you to develop this new habit.
Five Ways to Memorize a Bible Verse
Here are 5 specific ways to memorize Bible verses: Now that we’ve identified challenges and solutions, let’s delve into specific steps that can improve your Bible verse memorization process:
Let’s use Psalm 119:11 as an example verse.
- Say it out loud. Read the verse 3–5 times out loud, daily over the period of one week. At the end of the week, see if you can say the verse without any help or assistance!
- Write it Out. Start small and write a phrase of the verse 2–3 times on paper. Gradually increase the word and phrase limit until you’re writing the entire verse 2–3 times. This is the technique I used to memorize Bible verses all throughout high school and college!
- Fill-in-the-Blanks. This method words best with 5–10 minute breaks in between tries. You can write the entire verse on paper and then erase words from the verse. Leave the paper for a period of time and then come back and write in the words to where you previously erased.
Let’s use Psalm 119:11 as an example:
- Full verse: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
- 1st try: “I ____ _______ your ______ in my _______ that ____ might not _____ against _____.”
- 2nd pass: “I have ______ your word in my ______ that I might not _______ against ______.”
- 3rd pass: “I have hidden your word in my _______ that I might not sin against ______.”
- If you’re musically inclined, add a tune to a verse to help you memorize it!
- Create a mnemonic device. According to the University of Central Florida, mnemonic devices have helped students increase their test scores by 77%. These devices (acronyms, pictures, models, rhymes, etc.) can be particularly helpful when wanting to memorize Bible verses.
There are definite challenges, and there are also immense benefits to memorizing Bible verses. My encouragement to you is to be mindful of the season you’re in, stay disciplined with whatever you’re able to handle, and continue to ask God for help in building this habit.
At Mercy Creates, we don’t want to just tell you what to do … and leave you hanging. Especially if you’re just starting to learn how to memorize Scripture. It can get overwhelming and discouraging really fast, so we created a free resource, “Memorizing the Psalms,” to help you start hiding God’s Word in your heart.
This free download has techniques and examples to get you started in memorizing Scripture.
It guides you in taking a topic—friendships, for example—and breaks it down into smaller pieces that you can pray over for one week each month:
Your Next Steps
What goals do you have for memorizing Bible verses—1 a day? The whole chapter or book? Is there someone that could help you reach this goal?? Share it with them!