How To Memorize Scripture
By Colin Peckham
Jesus said, “...The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). When Scripture is memorized the mind has to meditate upon the words which are being mastered, and these often become the words of Jesus to the heart. These words come with life-giving force. The soul feeds upon the words of Jesus, and power and blessing is the result.
To quote Scripture is to speak with authority. This is the Word of the living God. It silences opposition. It stands supreme in its pronouncements, and it demands attention and obedience. Nothing equips us better for effective soul winning than memorized Scripture. A very useful method is the use of cards, which can be taken everywhere and opportunities can be bought up. Odd moments at bus stops, on trains or when walking can be put to good use when small cards are carried. To memorize there should be: supplication, comprehension, determination, concentration, meditation, repetition, application and continuation.
Supplication. Ask the Lord to help you to memorize His Word each day, to love and appreciate its worth and to grasp its warnings. Draw on His strength and ability as you apply yourself to the task.
Comprehension. Sometimes you may wish to memorize a text but do not fully understand it. Read the whole passage in which it occurs, over and over until the meaning becomes clear. If necessary, consult commentaries to determine the meaning. Without full understanding, it is difficult to learn and becomes ineffective in its use. In fact, it could be quoted in support of something with which it is not even remotely connected. A text out of context is a pretext! Thus the words which we memorize must be understood in their context, enabling us to apply the words correctly and powerfully.
Determination. There must be sincere determination! The normal mind is lazy and untrained. It needs to be disciplined and drilled to do what you want it to do. You must be master of your mind. Often the greatest battle is with the few texts with which you begin. If you fail here, all is lost. Others have learned the Scriptures off by heart, and so can you. You must not take the attitude that you will never be able to do it. Away with such thoughts!
Concentration. There must be concentration, studied application and patience! Do a thorough work. Strive for accuracy and perfection. Study and repeat the verse until you can say it without hesitation or error. Fix every word thoroughly in your mind. If it is a difficult verse wrestle with it until you master it. Normally the first attempts are the most difficult. Win through and you will find real satisfaction in conquering each text.
Meditation. There must be meditation! Apply the truth! As you grasp the truth, apply it to your own heart and life. Let it be operative within you. The Word has a sanctifying influence (1 John 5:3; Eph. 5:26); an establishing influence (Matt. 7:24); an illuminating influence (Psa. 119:104-105). It will enrich your life beyond measure. Live in the words which you learn. The Scripture working in and through you will bring blessing to your heart and glory to our wonderful Lord.
Repetition. Review! This is the great secret of Scripture memorization. Without reviewing you have no hope of memorizing Scripture effectively. Scripture must be permanently fixed in the mind, and to this end reviewing texts which have already been learned is essential. The better known texts will later need only a weekly or monthly review.
Application. Use the texts! Scripture is memorized so that it may be used. Put your knowledge into practice and you will find great joy in being able to quote Scripture to those to whom you speak about the Lord.
Continuation. Don’t stop! Satan knows the power of the memorized Word and will do his best to thwart your attempts to commit Scripture to memory. Resist halfheartedness. Work at your texts. Keep going on and God will reward you with a flow of Scripture language, enriching both yourself and all who hear you.