Tips for Memorizing Scripture

As a church family, we’re working on memorization of Scripture this summer. (James 1:17) and for someone who paid for college through theatre scholarships and memorized countless paragraphs of lines and music, I have a bit of a hard time memorizing God’s Word!

But, the more and more I see what’s going on in the world around me, outside the haven of my little 5 acres, I’ve really been pressed 1) to get control of my emotions and temper, because it’s not honoring to God or my family, and I’ve had to apologize to my littles a LOT lately for shouting and being grouchy and unkind, and 2) to deeply internalize God’s Word through biblical literacy and memorization. And I noticed on the days I focus most intently on meditating and memorizing Scripture, the emotional outbursts and frustration and anger I feel toward my children is much less than on the days where I’m not intentionally focusing on the Bible… Of course, right?

So in order to gain control of the former, I’m focusing more and more intently on the latter. I have a couple strategies in place.

  1. Navigator’s Verse packs
  2. Scripture writing notebook
  3. First letter method

Navigator’s Verse Packs

These are collections of verses of Scriptures organized by topic and category (and color, because I’m extra nerdy 🤓) put together by the Navigator’s ministry. This helped me tremendously- I’m not one of those people who can operate on the “just pick a verse from your reading that speaks to you and memorize it” camp… Because entire books and chapters were overwhelming. This system gives me a grounded starting point and alleviates some of the intimidation or anxiety of not knowing where to start.

Scripture writing notebook

I’ve had a few of these over the years, but mostly I just wrote Scripture in whatever journal I was using at the time and it always took forever to go back and find it later to reference.

Jami Balmet of Finding Joy In Your Home and My Homemaking Mentor has a set of spiritual disciplines notebooks that I started using earlier this year, and I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner- they’re awesome. I highly recommend checking them out at https://www.findingjoyshop.com/products/spiritual-disciplines-notebooks-tutorial. I was having some issues getting the link to work properly, but if you contact Jami via her website, she can point you in the right direction. In that same vein, she’s built the Finding Joy Community for Christian women online, and for someone who doesn’t partake in social media, it is nice to have a group of Christian women to answer questions, share insight and resources, and to uplift and encourage. Join the community here!

First Letter Method

A woman in that online community shared a method she uses for Scripture memory, and it’s extremely effective! She writes the first letter of each word of the verse on her wrist. I tried it on my hand, and in one day I managed to memorize 3 passages, just from referencing the prompt on my hand. It works equally well writing it that way in my Scripture notebook, but obviously, I see my hand more frequently throughout the day as I’m going about my daily tasks than I have time to sit and read from a notebook.

I’m not sure what it is about this method that makes it so effective for me, but If I had to guess, it’s the prompting nature of the first letter of the word. Like being on stage and blanking during rehearsal and calling out, “Line!?” It’s just enough to jog my memory and engage my mind in recalling each word so that I memorize it word-perfect along with the reference, as opposed to having a vague paraphrase from “somewhere in the Bible”.

So that’s my focus in spiritual disciplines this summer, and especially as I prepare for a season with newborn and FIVE children…I still can’t grasp how and why God chose me to raise 5 children… I am going to want to have all the Scripture stored up in my heart and mind as I possibly can because I foresee my dedicated time in the Word being interrupted by feedings and diapers, and lots and lots of snuggles. God timed this summer arrival perfectly- no school work related tasks to attend to, so we can adjust with plenty of grace.

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